“The Stranger” is an incredible story of deception, mystery and suspense about the power of a secret and how a lie can completely snowball into something much larger and how conspiracies can spiral dangerously out of control.

Adam and Corrine Price are living the American Dream, or so it seems. The Prices have a comfortable life in a rich New Jersey suburb — a big house, good jobs and two wonderful sons. What they don’t realize is that their world is about to fall apart.

One evening at a school sports meeting, “The Stranger” sidles up to Adam as he waits for the meeting to start. He tells Adam something that completely rocks his world — that Corrine faked a pregnancy that supposedly ended in a miscarriage. The Stranger provides a couple more details and then disappears. Adam gets a description of the car and the license plate number.

Adam is clueless as to why a complete stranger would approach him or even know these things about his wife. When his curiosity overcomes his doubt, he investigates Corrine’s computer history. To his dismay, he learns that his wife purchased items from a website called Fake-A-Pregnancy.com.

When Corrine returns from a conference, Adam confronts her with what he has learned. She doesn’t deny his accusation, but she doesn’t want to discuss it with Adam at that moment. She wants time to think. The next morning she is gone. Corrine texts Adam that they need some time apart, and she asks him to take care of the boys.

Adam tries to find Corrine, and in the process, he understands her reasons for lying. He wonders if it really is a big cause for concern or if it will even damage their relationship. While he is searching for his wife, Adam becomes the prime suspect in her disappearance.

In efforts to trace The Stranger, Adam discovers that The Stranger has shattered other people’s lives with frequently tragic consequences. When a woman is murdered in Ohio, small town Police Chief Johanna Griffin gets involved. Chief Griffin tries to understand why her good friend Heidi was killed. Her investigation uncovers a connection between Heidi and The Stranger.

Chief Griffin and Adam work together to find this stranger who seems to be sharing destructive secrets from people’s pasts, some of which turn out deadly. What is his motive for ruining complete strangers’ lives?

In this psychological thriller, the author gets inside the heads of his characters and presents them in such a way you understand their thoughts, the good and the bad. The short chapters alternate between the main characters and their perspectives.

A totally unpredictable plot, with numerous twists and turns, causes the tension to build throughout this chilling novel. Coben’s novel touches on themes of living the good life, the love of family and Internet privacy. His is a fascinating take on how little privacy you really have online.

Television and film actor George Newbern delivers an outstanding performance in his narration of the audiobook. He brings Coben’s fully drawn characters to life, especially that of main character Adam Price. In addition to the audiobook, regular print and large print copies are available at the Joplin Public Library.

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