The three main characters in CL Taylor’s Strangers have led entirely separate lives up to the moment when fate brings them together at a death scene in a Bristol shopping centre.
Ursula, a courier and occasional shoplifter, is a lonely, but sympathetic character, who has lost the lover of her life Nathan. Despite her light-fingered ways, which see her evicted by her flatmates, there is a kindness in Ursula which comes out strongly at certain points in Strangers and makes her more likeable than she perhaps appears at first sight. She’s impulsive, with a tendency to land herself in sticky situations that sometimes force her to make bad decisions. One such situation is, involves her decision to move in with a creepy landlord who actually gave me nightmares at one point when reading this novel
Gareth, a security guard in the shopping centre and a carer for his elderly mother also plays a key role Strangers, part of the significance of which only emerges towards the end of the novel.
Meanwhile the third character, Alice, recently back on the dating scene, is being stalked in a threatening way that seems to have something to do with her new boyfriend. But who is the stalker and why are they targeting Alice?
What I liked about Strangers is that the characters are individually strong and interesting. I also liked the short chapters, which make Strangers easy to pick up and put down again without losing the thread of the story.
Previously on this blog, I reviewed another CL Taylor novel, The Accident – a psychological thriller about an emotionally unstable mother determined to find out why her daughter deliberately stepped in front of a bus. You can find that review here.
Strangers by CL Taylor is published by Avon, a division of Harper Collins.
[Disclosure: I received an advance proof copy].