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The Stranger You Seek: A Novel Hardcover – August 30, 2011


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New Adult Fiction by Rainbow Rowell
Acclaimed author Rainbow Rowell's latest book, Landline, offers a poignant, humorous look at relationships and marriage. Learn more

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam; First Edition edition (August 30, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553808079
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553808070
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6.5 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (176 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #51,840 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review


Guest Reviewer: Tess Gerritsen on The Stranger You Seek

Tess Gerritsen is a physician as well as the New York Times best-selling author of medical thrillers and the Jane Rizzoli crime thrillers. Her latest book in the Rizzoli & Isles series, The Silent Girl, is available now.

Southern crime novels are a breed apart because of the weather. The heat is always a little more sweltering, the humidity always making everyone sweat just a bit more than their northern counterparts. There are the great New Orleans novels by James Lee Burke, and there is the Florida gang. There are even a few who set their most terrifying thrillers in the backwoods and bayous. For genuine heat, though, nothing beats Atlanta, a jewel of a city and the setting for Amanda Kyle Williams’s blistering debut thriller, The Stranger You Seek.

Keye Street immediately puts herself in the top echelon of suspense heroes. She’s a mess of fascinating contradictions—effortlessly brilliant on a case, totally inept in managing her own life. She is brutally funny and powerfully human. Williams has created one of the most realistic protagonists in crime fiction that I’ve had the thrill to read.

Of course, a southern crime novel needs a great villain, someone who amidst all this heat gets people running. The Stranger You Seek has a heck of a monster on the loose, a killer who is terrorizing Atlanta, taunting the police, and who seems a little too close to Keye to be just the stranger she seeks.

Review

Advance praise for The Stranger You Seek
 
“She is the best fictional female P.I. since Sue Grafton's Kinsey Millhone. And with its shocking triple-twist climax, this is the best private eye debut since Dennis Lehane's "A Drink Before the War." Grade: A  —Cleveland Plain-Dealer

“This is a character-driven, nonstop thriller with flashes of wit and romance that
builds to a harrowing climax; fans of the genre will want to get in at the start.”  —Booklist
 
“Williams (Club Twelve, 1994, etc.) creates a frightening and occasionally witty novel, perfect for those who can sleep with one eye open. Think Mary Higgins Clark with an edge.”  —Kirkus (starred review)

“An explosive, unpredictable, and psychologically complex thriller that turns crime fiction cliches inside out….Those looking for a strong female protagonist not a sexpot and as intelligent, tough, and flawed as any male thriller hero will be richly rewarded.”  —Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“An exceptionally smart, harrowing, and funny character-driven debut by a welcome new thriller writer.”—New York Times bestselling author Karin Slaughter
 
“There’s a new voice in Atlanta, and her name is Amanda Kyle Williams. A dark, gritty thriller, The Stranger You Seek is a sensational debut. Readers will relish this story’s many captivating, powerful, and compelling layers.”—New York Times bestselling author Julia Spencer-Fleming

The Stranger You Seek is a page-turning thrill ride from a writer with a sure hand, keen psychological insight, and a devious imagination. Keye Street is my kind of detective: complicated, savvy, flawed, and blessed with a sharply observant dark wit. This is a great read from a powerful new voice.”—New York Times bestselling author Joshilyn Jackson
 
“From its chilling first page, The Stranger You Seek hurtles heroine Keye Street into a race against time that crosses the finish line with a satisfying twist, leaving readers breathlessly waiting for the next installment.”—New York Times bestselling author Wendy Corsi Staub

The Stranger You Seek is filled with rich, evocative prose that transports you straight to the South and right into the psyche of new heroine Keye Street. She’s formidable, but poignantly human as she struggles to navigate her present while battling shadows of her past. You can almost feel the Georgia humidity when you read this book, but you’ll definitely feel the heat when the victims of a calculating, relentless serial killer start stacking up. This book burns rubber to the end, so carve out some downtime, because you won’t want to leave Keye hanging.”—PJ Tracy, author of the Monkeewrench series
 
“Keye Street is a kick-ass protagonist! Strap yourself in for a twisting, turning carnival ride of a plot through the New South—this is compulsive reading!”—Vicki Lane, author of The Day of Small Things
 
The Stranger You Seek is a riveting debut with rapid-fire pacing, expert plotting, and an introduction to the memorable and winning Keye Street. Both Williams and Street should be around for the long haul, so discover them now from the start.”—Alafair Burke, author of Long Gone


More About the Author

Praise for THE STRANGER YOU SEEK (Keye Street 1)

"An explosive, unpredictable, and psychologically complex thriller." Publishers Weekly

"The best private eye debut since Dennis Lehane's A Drink Before the War."-The Plain Dealer

STRANGER IN THE ROOM (Keye Street 2)

"The tension buzzes like cicadas on a hot Georgia night and the pace is relentless." -Seattle Post-Intelligencer

"Williams keeps the suspense taut and the humor snarky." The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

DON'T TALK TO STRANGERS (Keye Street 3)

"An explosive read... Amanda Kyle Williams sets the classic private eye novel on fire." -Lee Child

"Readers will empathize with this flawed but gutsy detective." Publishers Weekly

"All the twists and turns readers of Williams have come to expect..." Kirkus Reviews

KEYE STREET

"Keye Street immediately puts herself in the top echelon of suspense heroes. She is brutally funny and powerfully human-one of the most realistic protagonists in crime fiction that I've had the thrill to read."-Tess Gerritsen

"Street is a unique and worthy addition to the rich tradition of damaged and tough private detectives."-Associated Press.


Amanda Kyle Williams returned to writing after some small press books and a break of more than a decade. "It takes time and practice to find your own voice as a writer and for that voice to reach pitch. It takes time to bring to life that special character. For me, Keye Street is that character. She's flawed. She jokes as a way to avoid intimacy. She wrestles her own demons, her past with alcohol, losing her job at the Bureau. And she's a total Krispy Kreme doughnut addict. She feels real to me. She's the voice in my head."

The Stranger You Seek is Amanda's first mainstream crime thriller and the first book in the Keye Street series. In order to lend authenticity to her Keye Street series, she took courses geared to law enforcement in practical homicide investigation and criminal profiling, worked with a PI firm in Atlanta on surveillance operations, became a court appointed process server and consulted with professionals in bond and law enforcement. Ms. Williams lives near Atlanta, is active in the humane community as a founding director for Lifeline Animal Project in Atlanta, Georgia.

Amanda is currently at work on the next Keye Street thriller. Please visit www.AmandaKyleWilliams.com for more information on this explosive series and the fabulously flawed protagonist Keye Street.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

35 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Jeri Nevermind VINE VOICE on August 2, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This is one book you need to plan for in advance. Because once you read the first few pages, you'll be glued to the book until you finish.

Williams has previously written a number of lesbian detective novels. I should mention also that more sensitive readers may be offended by the book, given the language and certain scenes. However, Williams juggles character, plot and tension--not to mention supplying plenty of twists and turns--as well as any other suspense writer you've read.

Keye Street, the protagonist, is a flawed but likeable former profiler for the FBI. Although she's of Chinese ancestry, she was adopted as a baby by a Southern couple. Keye loves the South as only someone who grew up there can.

At one point, Keye was tossed out of the FBI because she was an alcoholic. And not only that, but her marriage came to an end. Four years later she's sober, if somewhat shakily, and works at chasing down bail jumpers.

Summer in Atlanta can be about two degrees cooler than hell itself. But what really disturbs the citizens is when a serial killer begins a frightening cat and mouse game with the media.

Keye has extensive experience at profiling, but she is no longer Special Agent Street, and so hardly expects to be drawn into the case. Yet as the bodies begin to pile up, she finds herself on the hunt for the killer, drawn in by her friend, Lt. Rauser, who heads the investigation.

And the problem with giving you any more information is then I will spoil some of the surprises. And I hate, hate, hate it when other reviewers do that. So just let me just sum the book up: yes, this is one serial killer thriller that does stand out and that is worth the price.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By TChris TOP 100 REVIEWER on August 30, 2011
Format: Hardcover
In the real world, when they aren't stating the obvious, criminal profilers are wrong about as often as they're right. In thriller world, profilers have a miraculous ability to understand the criminal mind. That is certainly true of Keye Street, the former FBI profiler turned private investigator who stars in The Stranger You Seek. Fortunately, profiling is a relatively small part of the story.

The Stranger You Seek is a novel of old and new. The old: Keye reacted to the ugliness she saw while investigating crime by turning to alcohol, eventually losing her job (hence her gig as a private investigator). Keye employs an anti-establishment, counterculture computer hacker who can break into highly secure computers (thriller world is full of them and they all seem to work for private investigators). Keye's best friend is a police lieutenant who needs her help to find a serial killer. Soon after Keye joins the hunt, the killer starts writing letters to her police lieutenant friend, taunting him with clues to the next victim. And, of course, the hunters eventually become the hunted.

The new: The serial killer writes a "fantasy" blog on a website for knife fetishists. Keye does realistic bread-and-butter work (serving subpoenas, performing background checks, finding people who jumped bail) when she's not chasing the killer. Keye's Chinese mother worked as a stripper. Keye puts yellow mustard on her jalapeño-infused hash browns.

Yes, I'm grasping at straws: the novel is more old than new. I liked it anyway. Amanda Kyle Williams gives her primary characters interesting personalities and crafts a well-written story that, if not entirely original, is more entertaining than most.
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful By P. N. Anderson on August 5, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Being a multi-generational southerner, I could relate to the author's on target description of the South, even to the RC and Moon Pie, but you do not need to be a southerner to enjoy all the details of this book. It is a great mystery/thriller set in Atlanta and developed around the characters of Lieutenant Aaron Rauser, homicide detective of the Atlanta Police Department and the flawed heroine - ex-FBI profiler, Keye Street, who is now a private detective, a process server and bail recovery agent. Although she is working with Rauser and the APD on a serial murder case, we are treated with some of her amusing episodes as a private detective. The plot is so tight it will keep you flipping the pages and all I can say about the ending is WOW. It is reminiscent of my favorite mystery writer, Karin Slaughter. I cannot wait for the next book in the series.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Book Sake VINE VOICE on September 4, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Keye Street is a former FBI profiler turned private investigator after being fired from her job, due to her struggle with alcoholism. She cracks down on small-time criminals now, but when her friend at the homicide department needs help finding the Wishbone Killer, Streets' former skills as a profiler are put to the test.

That's all the background I needed to predict the rest of the novel - extremely typical storyline. I was completely unimpressed with the twist at the end as well. Granted, it was the only part I didn't expect, but that was because I assumed the author would do better. The "twist" is so forced that it doesn't make any logical sense whatsoever. I was left wondering why you'd ruin an otherwise good book with ...that. The Stranger You Seek is mediocre, at best. The author's writing style is fresh (despite the bones of the book being pulled from a thriller format bank) and there were parts that I really enjoyed, but the author didn't follow through.

Reviewed by Brittany for Book Sake.
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