Title: The Stranger You Seek
Author: Amanda Kyle Williams
Release Date: August 30, 2011
Rating: 4 out of 5
Keye Street is a former FBI agent, fired for her “lack of focus” (or really, for being an alcoholic). Now she works as a private investigator, mostly catching those who have jumped bail. But when a serial killer starts targeting the citizens of Atlanta, Georgia, Keye must once again use her profiling skills as she is pulled into the search for a murderer.
The Stranger You Seek is the first novel in a series featuring PI Keye Street, and it’s got a great protagonist as its focal point. Keye is a fascinating character that readers will love. Marred by her drinking and dismissal from the FBI, Keye is on shaky ground when the book starts. She is sober, but still fights with her addiction on a daily basis. Keye is funny and smart, and capable of taking care of herself. What I appreciated most about her, though, is that she knows her limits. She is well aware of her flaws and embraces them, rather than trying to hide from them and drowning herself in her work. It makes for a refreshing change of pace from traditional haunted-by-the-past main characters for mystery novels.
The setting of The Stranger You Seek is Atlanta, Georgia, and the sultry city is almost a character in the book. Williams clearly has a love for the city, as she captures it perfectly. The atmosphere, and the oppressive summer heat of the South, are perfectly described in the novel. Fans of Southern fiction looking for a chance of pace will really appreciate Williams’ depiction of Atlanta.
The mystery is interesting and well-written, and provides enough twists and turns to keep the reader guessing from beginning to end. The killer is clearly disturbed, and the graphic nature of the crime scenes engenders stomach-turning descriptions. Williams does a great job balancing the need for the reader to understand the horrific nature of the murders with the knowledge of what is just too much. It makes for a satisfying, if sometimes difficult, read.
The Stranger You Seek is a gripping work of crime fiction with an intensely appealing main character. Keye is perfectly suited to helm her own series, and Williams has done her well-developed character justice with this debut novel. I look forward to the next Keye Street novel with breathless anticipation.