BOOK CLUB: Perfect Strangers

Author: Tasmina Perry
ISBN: 978-0-7553-5849-6
RRP: $29.99

Tasmina Perry’s latest novel is a gripping page turner that held me in thrall start to finish. There is something for everyone with elements of crime, suspense, romance and travel.

In an ideal world this is one book that I would have devoured in a single sitting, I found it extremely difficult to put down and was always itching to get back into it. In part I can attribute this to the various strands of storyline playing out simultaneously, the chapters focus on different characters so at the end of every chapter you want to continue until you can get back to those characters to see what they’re up to.

The story is told in the third person which keeps the story flowing fluidly through chapters as it focuses on different characters. There are straightforward links between some of the characters from the beginning so you know how they fit together. As the story progresses the twists begin and we start to see that often things are not what they seem.

Yet again Tasmina Perry has set her story in the midst of the wealthy, leading lives of privilege. Gorgeous houses, everything money can buy and shallow characters concerned more about bank balances and appearances than actual people.

Sophie Ellis is a spoilt, materialistic young lady drifting through life on Daddy’s bank balance until he loses all the family money in a Ponzi scheme, and then 12 months later passes away from a heart attack. Chapter One opens with Sophie at her father’s funeral trying not to let the other attendees see how much she’s hurting. After the family lost all their money it seems they lost most of their friends as well. She is forced to reassess her life and start standing on her own two feet, which is how she ends up working in a gym and then starting her own personal training business.

perfect strangers

Before long Sophie is house-sitting for a client, which is how she meets Nick Cooper and quickly becomes involved with him. Within a week Nick is murdered in his hotel suite and Sophie is a suspect. From this point Sophie’s life rapidly spirals out of control, it is also where our other leading lady and gents enter the picture.

Ruth Boden is a committed newspaper journalist out to catch a story big enough to land her the promotion she is desperate for, which lands her in Nick’s hotel suite ready to give her all in the pursuit of this story.

Inspector Fox is a detective on the Nick Cooper case chasing every lead he can get his hands on to track down Nick’s killer.

And then there’s Josh, an apparent friend of Nick’s and the only person Sophie could think to contact trying to find answers of her own.

Tasmina Perry doesn’t just write her characters, she creates them, and these ones are very 3-dimensional and in focus. There is not a great deal of background on Inspector Fox because we only really see him when he is totally immersed in the case and he is on duty almost 24/7 so even though we only see Inspector Fox and not the man he is off duty it still seems like a complete picture because he seems to live and breathe the job.

Josh is another character who remains shrouded in mystery throughout the novel and I think this works well because we need that slight sense of vagueness to keep us guessing.

Ruth Boden is a character we do get to know inside and out, on duty and off. She is a cut-throat journalist willing to do pretty much anything to get her story. Yes, over the years she has learned to play the game so to speak and her integrity isn’t neccessarily what it once was and she is a journalist who is always on duty but we still see Ruth Boden the woman as well as the journalist.

Sophie, well Sophie is on a roller coaster ride of discovery, much of it self discovery and that brings us closer to her as the pages turn. A young woman who started the book a spoilt little princess grows into a strong and assertive character who is more than capable of standing up for herself.

I loved this book. I love the characters, I love Perry’s writing style and I love the never-ending twists. Looking back I can see that there were clues to head us in the right direction but never enough to completely join the dots because things are often not what they seem and this plot is layered much more intricately than I was expecting.

I can’t wait to hear what our book club readers have to say about it.

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