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Thursday, 22 July 2021

‘The Stalker’ by Sarah Alderson

Published by Avon,
8 July 2021.
ISBN: 978-0-00-840004-0 (PB)

A perfect marriage; a blissful honeymoon on a remote island; a beautiful cottage equipped with everything the happy couple could possibly need. Sounds like paradise. But as all fans of mystery fiction know, in a crime novel nothing is ever as it seems, and all the above are sure to add up to a recipe for disaster.

Laura and Liam arrive on the island of Shura off the Scottish coast with high expectations. Their honeymoon has been delayed, first by the death of Laura’s mother, then by Laura’s descent into depression; she and her mother were very close, and all the signs were that she had beaten the cancer. But things are getting better; Laura’s appetite and zest for life are slowly returning, and Shura is an ideal venue for a week of togetherness.

They go exploring, and find a burnt-out castle where, according to local lore, two people were murdered. That’s when they find they are not alone on the island. Someone is lurking in the castle. Then they hear strange noises outside the cottage, and when Liam goes to investigate, he finds weird markings scratched on the window.

One by one, all the things that make the island so idyllic begin to fail: first the weather, then the electricity, and finally their food supplies. With days to get through with no chance of escape until the boat which brought them arrives to pick them up, Liam and Laura find themselves stranded.

Then something happens which turns everything on its head...

But there’s a lot more here than a high-octane plot. The island of Shura comes to life in a way which turns it into another character in the story: a dark, creepy character, like the shadowy stalker whose identity isn’t revealed until the very end. And Liam and Laura are vividly drawn, in a way that makes the reader believe in them totally – right up to the point where the truth comes out.  

For edge-of-the-seat tension and one shock after another, this novel scores top marks. It’s the kind of tale that makes you want to race through it, just to find out who is behind all the mayhem, and what exactly is going on. And seasoned crime reader though I am, I would never have guessed in a million years. If that’s your kind of mystery novel, The Stalker is definitely one for you.
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Reviewer: Lynne Patrick

Sarah Alderson, having spent most of her life in London, she quit her job in the non-profit sector in 2009 and took off on around the world trip with her husband and daughter seeking a find a new place to call home. After several months in India, Singapore, Australia and the US, they settled in Bali where Sarah now spends her days writing by the pool.  

Lynne Patrick has been a writer ever since she could pick up a pen, and has enjoyed success with short stories, reviews and feature journalism, but never, alas, with a novel. She crossed to the dark side to become a publisher for a few years and is proud to have launched several careers which are now burgeoning. She lives in Oxfordshire in a house groaning with books, about half of them crime fiction.

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