Cover Image: Strangers

Strangers

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Member Reviews

‘Strangers’ is the latest book by CL Taylor.

Ursula, Gareth and Alice have never met before. Ursula thinks she killed the love of her life. Gareth’s been receiving strange postcards. And Alice is being stalked. None of them are used to relying on others – but when the three strangers’ lives unexpectedly collide, there’s only one thing for it: they have to stick together. Otherwise, one of them will die. Three strangers, two secrets, one terrifying evening.

I spent two evenings curled up with ‘Strangers’ , a gripping story of three people who have never met before but end up having their lives interweaved in a way that they never imagined.

Alice is a single mother and manager of a clothes shop who reluctantly decides to look for love, when a date goes disastrously wrong, she ends up being rescued by the charismatic Simon, a man that could certainly change her life for the better. But just as Alice imagines a relationship with Simon, threatening things start to happen and Simon disappears from her life. After the death of her partner, Ursula’s life fell apart and after being caught stealing, she ends up living in a house with a strange man with locked doors and strange smells and finally, Gareth’s father disappear 20 years ago but now someone is sending postcards to his mother, pretending to be him and then his Dementia ridden mother disappears.

Cally has done it again with this impressive thriller, combining suspense, drama page after page that hooks the reader right in. It’s obvious that the story was meticulously planned and structured with an ending that made me gasp in shock. All the characters are interesting with their issues and complexities, but I found myself particularly warming to Ursula, a damaged soul that never recovered from a bereavement. She’s a large woman in stature and personality and she seems to leap off the pages with the scenes that she’s in, I felt an empathy for Gareth, who’s a security guard who never really got a proper chance at life after his father disappeared and he became his mother’s carer. Cally has a great knack for creating characters that the reader has a connection and empathy for.

The story is seen from the perspective of the characters and each time new person was introduced into their lives, I found myself convinced that they were the villain, but in Cally’s style it was never obvious! As the story progresses, we see that they are strangers they may have passed each other in the streets but we see them being brought together in the most extreme and unexpected way in a cleverly written way.

A gripping story of lies and drama, ‘Strangers’ is another superb book from C.L Taylor, with a great premise, suspicious and relatable characters that grip the reader’s attention from the first page, this shocking and witty story is definitely one of my favourite books of 2020.

You can buy ‘Strangers’ from Amazon
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My Review
I'm definitely a huge fan of Cally's work so I always feel huge anticipation when a new book is mentioned..
Her writing is superb and her storylines top notch...
Strangers for me was a great read...
I took to her characters Gareth, Ursula and Alice immediately.....
Each were quirky and fun in their own right....
I loved how the author told the story through each character....
Gareth the by the book security guard looking after his sick mum all the while really just wanting to settle down with someone to love...
Ursula the delivery lady resorting to shoplifting to hide her pain..
And Alice, the lady just looking for love but finding something all together different and putting herself in danger in the process...
A very enjoyable read, very firmly keeping Cally Taylor at the top of her game....
Well worth your time...
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C.L. Taylor has done it again. Strangers was a fantastic read, following three rounded, realistic and interesting characters each with their own secrets and mysteries, which kept me coming back for more. The three narratives are woven together in a jaw-dropping denouement I didn't see coming. I've been impressed with all Taylor's books and look forward to reading the next!
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This thriller has a fantastic construction, as it opens with the three main characters standing over a dead body, so we know immediately they are involved in a death, but not who is dead, which one killed them or why . The plot then scoots back a week and follows the separate stories of the three individuals who we quickly realise don’t know each other at this point, so we spend the rest of the book trying to find out how three strangers come together in a week to be involved in a death.

I found this story really compelling in so far as the three protagonists are very ordinary people leading fairly dull lives, who all get dragged into something extraordinary through a series of unremarkable occurrences. It makes you wonder how far any of us are from becoming embroiled in something way out of our control through a tiny twist of fate. From the beginning it is hard to see how any of these simple people could become involved in a violent death, but the plot slowly and cleverly draws the disparate threads together that bring them all to one place. It is very skilfully done, and fascinating to follow. I loved the series of false trails that were laid to trick us into following them and coming up only with red herrings. I didn’t guess where the story was going to end up until quite close to the conclusion.

As well as being a gripping thriller, the story builds three very believable ordinary characters that it is easy for the reader to relate to. Although not individually remarkable, they all dealing with a series of every day problems that any one of us may face at any time – grief, loneliness, infidelity, divorce, money worries, internet dating, sexual assault, unemployment, family illness, troubled teenagers, domestic abuse, psychological distress, workplace stress – which of these triggers, small or large, are the ones that push these people to the place where they find themselves in a terrifying situation.

This is a book that propels you through the story and holds you tightly in its grip until you get to the end. I read it in two sittings (it would have been one if I’d not started it late one evening and fallen asleep before I could finish.) It is a domestic drama, than a thriller filled with whizz bangs and explosions, but it actually all the more gripping for it. This could happen to you or me. Maybe we should be afraid.

Another fantastic and gripping thriller from Cally Taylor, fans of her books will not be disappointed.
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After reading a lot of C L Taylor's other books I was excited to have the chance to read Strangers, and it didn't disappoint. I found myself whizzing through, reading it in just a matter of hours.

I really enjoyed how the book was made up of the 3 separate character strands, with each character briefly coming into contact with the others throughout the story, but still leaving me to wonder how it would all connect.
However the last few chapters is where those 3 strands finally wound together, and moved at quite the pace. And as for that last chapter...wow! I did not see that coming!

Another great read from C L Taylor, would definitely recommend to friends and family.
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I absolutely loved Strangers! It is a very engaging read. I’ve previously very much enjoyed C.L. Taylor‘s Sleep and I think this is even better. I loved the main characters, who were all very believable and sympathetic. Their individual situations were really well described and realistic; they really came to life for me and I could picture them vividly.

Strangers is very cleverly written, with each story strand developing with its own twists and mysteries as they also gradually weave together in an unpredictable and thrilling way. This is a really satisfying and enjoyable book and I recommend to anyone who enjoys a mystery thriller. The extra little surprise at the end was the icing on the cake and I look forward to more from C.L. Taylor.

Thank you to the publisher for my copy of the book.
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One great author, another brilliant book!

This book sucked me in and then spat me out! Within a space of a few hours, I became fully absorbed by the story and could not stop until it was finished.

The story is compelling and wound tight. Three characters, with three stories, how do they relate? Taylor leads the way and shows us exactly how using her expert thriller style. Constantly trying to figure out how the story is going to pan out – I never got bored, was always entertained – and most importantly couldn’t stop reading but never wanted it to end!

The characters are authentic, vivid and powerful. Coming from a variety of backgrounds, in true Taylor style, we become familiar with them, relate with them where we can and feel involved in their stories, regardless of whether we like them or not. This is my favourite part of Taylors books – the characters – they are always rich and always front and centre of the whole thrilling caboodle!

A tale of three threads which evolve into one, with a flaming brilliant ending! Go on read it, you know you want to!
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Quite a fun slow burn thriller which roller-coasted in the last few chapters like a rocket. Author C. L. Taylor made me crave to get to the ending with each chapter I read. Everything felt like a teaser right up to the end.

Alice, a rookie tinder user, Ursula, the Amazonian shoplifter, and Gareth, the security guard looking after his mom. All three were bound together yet unknown to each other until the very end. They were the Strangers.

Having read many books by the author, I loved how she slowly led me down the pages almost gently. I tried being a detective to find out how the three could be connected. Alas, all my theories were wrong. The author completely blindsided me.

3 characters, 3 lives, 3 stories all masterfully tied together in suspense and mystery by the talented author until the secrets exploded and truths came to light.

Overall, a fun breakfast read.
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This is the second book by CL Taylor that I have read and it is just as impressive. The psychological thriller element is written to perfection, as Taylor gives us many indicators that things aren't quite right for her characters and the sense of creepiness and tension made me want to read on to discover what was happening.

Each chapter is narrated by a different character - mostly Alice, Gareth and Ursula. I enjoyed the insight into their circumstances which shined a light on some interesting issues, such as grief, relationship breakdown and Alzheimer's. Each element of the characters was really well drawn, and whilst they are not always likeable, I had a good understanding of why they did what they did.

At the beginning of Strangers, it is not clear how everyone is connected, but towards the end, as their lives collide, the tension becomes unbearable. I was on the edge of my seat wanting to know how it would end.

Strangers ends with an interesting twist that left me thinking about the characters some time after I had finished reading.
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I flew through this book, finishing it within 24 hours. Very gripping from the start. Great story. The author is very talented at describing characters and their relationships. Well done.
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I absolutely loved this book! Dark, twisted, creepy, keeps you in suspense and guessing...it has it all and I had many late nights reading this book as I couldn't put it down!
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I was given a copy of Strangers by CL Taylor in exchange for an honest review. I have read other books by CL Taylor so was excited to read this latest book, it didn't disappoint.  It is told from 3 different characters, whose lives are all very different. Gareth is a security guard and looks after his mother, Ursula works as a delivery driver and is made homeless and Alice is in a new relationship when she begins to receive strange messages. It's unclear until near the very end of the book how the 3 characters are linked. This was another well written book by Taylor, a great psychological thriller.
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Strangers is the story of three people. Alice who is convinced she is being stalked, Ursula who has a penchant for stealing and Gareth a security guard at a shopping centre who is looking after his mother who has dementia. The only link between the three seems to be the shopping centre where both Alice and Gareth work and where Ursula does her shoplifting. How they all come together is only revealed at the end of the book. An enjoyable read.
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Another dark and excellent book by C L Taylor. A page turner that keeps you in suspense with twists and turns. Thoroughly enjoyed this and its highly recommended. 

Thank you Avon Books and Net|galley
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I have no idea how C. L. Taylor keeps coming up with these amazing storylines and books, but I really hope she never stops.  This is completely gripping and I read it in one sitting on a hot afternoon in lock-down, and was absorbed between the pages. 

I have absolutely no idea how three different people would remotely interlink, as we learn their stories in the the weeks leading up to a big occurrence. 

I didn't have the foggiest who on earth may be stalking Alice.  Ursula comes across as a bit of mixed bag of a character, at times she is clearly a thief, shoplifting and pocketing anything that takes her fancy, but in her role as a courier, there is one house that shows just what a caring person she really is.    

And then there is Gareth, he is the security guard in the shopping centre that Alice works in, he has an ageing mother at home, postcards appearing from a most likely impossible source, and I really was engaged with his story. 

All three of them so different, all with heart racing moments in their chapters and a growing sense throughout the book that things may not be as they seem. 

It is cleverly crafted, keeps the tension up, and also makes you case about the characters, and as the pace picks up, it became actually unputdownable, and I was hooked anyway! 

I have a very weird feeling this book may disturb my sleep for a few nights, as its rather unsettling which is exactly why I loved it so much.  

I already can't wait to see what this incredibly talented author will come up with next. 

Thank you to Avon and Netgalley for this copy which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily.
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Wow what a gripping read.  I love C L Taylor's books and this one did not disappoint.  I loved the way each Chapter went from one character to the next and kept leaving you at the end of each chapter wanting more.  I devoured this book and could not read this quick enough.  I would definitely recommend this book and have already bought a copy for my Mum.
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C.L Taylor is a name I’ve seen come up a lot but I’d never read her books myself. When I saw her latest, Strangers, turn up on Netgalley, it seemed a good place to start.

Strangers is a thriller, drawing together three independent characters in ways you can’t predict. Each have their own story to tell and for the majority of the book, each plot-arc is an isolated event. You get the sense the entire way through that the characters are going to collide, but there are no clear connections helping you guess how.

Alice has never been lucky in love. When she meets a new man and clicks with him, she thinks she stands a chance. But there’s a stalker thrown into the mix, although it’s uncertain who the target is and what this person wants. Alice must learn whether she can let go of a budding romance when there is no trust or whether her need to get to the bottom of it will place her in more jeopardy.

Ursula hasn’t had an easy time since her fiancée was murdered. Stealing is the only thing that eases the pain but fractures her remaining relationships, forcing her to take a room with a stranger to have somewhere to live. Her good heart encourages her to help those in need, but at the risk of making everything far worse.

Gareth is struggling: his mother has advancing Alzheimer’s and his missing father keeps appearing, despite everyone believing he is dead. Gareth is struggling to hold it together and keep his job and when his mother disappears, it pushes him over the edge. Helped by his neighbour, Gareth races against time to find his mother.

Three independent story-arcs. Three very different types of characters. All are likeable; all have their flaws. Alice struggles with being independent, needing someone to rely on rather than making her own decisions. Ursula has a more obvious issue of being unable to stop herself from stealing. Gareth is floundering, not knowing the best thing to do.

All the stories are interesting, but there’s no spark. When events start to pull them together, however, the entire atmosphere of the book changes. Mysteries are unravelled that I never saw coming and the characters crash into each other in an explosive way.

While the pacing and tension is low-mid level for most of the book, it’s through the roof for the final third. It’s been a while since I’ve literally not been able to put a book down and this one did it: I was gripped, desperate to find out how the situation would be revealed and if all the characters would survive. A thoroughly engaging and intense novel and I loved it.

Just when you think everything has calmed down, there’s one final plot twist at the end that finished the entire thing of in a satisfying and brilliant way.

I may never have read C.L Taylor before, but you can be sure I will now! Definitely a recommendation!
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Starting at the end with Alice standing over a dead body with Ursula and Gareth close by then followed up with a really clever use of Twitter we have no idea who the dead body is. It then flips back to a week earlier and we proceed to learn the stories of the three main characters.

All three are suffering from a type of loss and are complete strangers to each other, hence the title. But as with all of Cally’s books you know there is always more than meets the eye and her books are never predictable. Even when the clues are there the twists still hit you like a sucker punch.

I think this is my new favourite of her books, the characters just felt so averagely normal which is hard to pull off. The pacing was pitch perfect and unbelievably tense at times. Alice’s date had me holding my breath and inching towards the edge of the sofa.

I really can’t gush enough over the cleverness of this book and the subtle way it all plays out until the satisfying conclusion. I thoroughly recommend.
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Three strangers, each with their own secrets, meet by chance and it will change theirs lives forever..
  The characters are believable and each is carrying a burden they can't or don't want to share. The story keeps you turning pages to find out more . 
 I enjoyed the story it's  an interesting one and kept me wanting to read more . I recommend this book because it's an enjoyable read that will keep you guessing until the end.
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I’ve read quite a few C.L.Taylor books now and I always thoroughly enjoy them, I think what I love most about this author’s books is her ability to write really good strong characters and it’s always the one’s you’d expect to like the least that you end up loving. For me Ursula was that character she was just such a fantastic well developed strong character that I really wanted to know more about after each chapter, her story is actually pretty heartbreaking and I really felt for her in Strangers. 

The main theme of strangers is loneliness and it really comes through so well you can feel the loneliness in each of the characters and their need to connect with someone and feel something is palpable throughout. Each character has there own plotline and you just know that they all connect in some way, it’s such a fantastic well plotted novel i absolutely love watching all the dots connect. I flew through this as I do with all C.L.Taylor books and if you’re a fan of this author you will love strangers and if you’re reading C.L.Taylor for the first time this is a great book to start with! 

Thanks to Sanjana at Avon for the invite to join the tour and for my copy via Netgalley.
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