When nineteen-year-old Tiffany Perron vanishes without a trace, the residents of rural Grand Trespass, Louisiana, launch a desperate search to find her. But few clues are unearthed, and before long, another young woman disappears. As locals continue to vanish, residents begin to discover that they might not know those closest to them as well as they had thought.
“Never Smile at Strangers” is the first book in the Stranger Series by Jennifer Jaynes, and as I hadn’t read very many psychological thriller series, I was excited to try this one.
(Well, full disclosure, I don’t think I’ve read ANY true psychological thriller series, which made creating my own psychological thriller “Secrets of Redemption” series such an interesting exercise. The whole series concept seems more popular in the fantasy, sci-fi, and mystery world, but I digress.)
However, after reading all three books, I’ve come to the conclusion that this was never meant to be a series.
Jaynes first published this book in 2010, and re-released it in 2015 with a different publisher. Then, she published the rest of the series.
While that alone doesn’t necessarily mean this book was intended to be a one-off, now that I’ve read the series, it is quite different from the other two.
(Which isn’t necessarily bad.)
I’ll do a separate review on the other two books later, but for now, I’ll focus on “Never Smile at Strangers.”
So, if you like psychological thrillers that deal with serial killers and get into the serial killer’s head, you’ll likely like this book. It’s a well-written thriller that keeps you thinking—it’s not easy to figure out what’s going on. Jennifer Jaynes also does a good job masking is the identity of the killer.
In addition, there is a lot of back story and character development going on, which I always enjoy. I like more complicated books with subplots and in-depth relationships; I always feel like the book is richer and deeper with those added layers. (This is why my books seem to take a little longer than I would prefer to write. My goal is to get faster without sacrificing quality.)
Overall, I would give it five stars. You can get your copy here: