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City of Strangers: A Novel by Louise Millar
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City of Strangers: A Novel

by Louise Millar

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A special thank you to Atria/Emily Bestler and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Louise Millar returns following Accidents Happen,
[book:The Hidden Girl|21968646] and The Playdate, with CITY OF STRANGERS -a woman’s intense quest to solve a mystery with an ongoing theme of “identity.”

From a multi-level complex chilling domestic noir to an enthralling twisty international thriller-keeping you turning pages while globetrotting.

Four months ago, Grace Scott had never seen a dead body. Now she’d seen two.

Grace Scott has recently married Mac and they are returning from their two- week honeymoon in Thailand. Grace walks into their flat while her husband goes to the market for some shopping. Shocked she discovers a dead man’s body in their kitchen flat. At first, she thinks it a burglar who was set on stealing their wedding presents.

Grace is a freelance photographer and beings photographing the body. She is drawn to this man. Intrigued. She calls 999. They had purchased the flat from John.

Who was this dead man and why was he here? What about his family? The intruder was apparently in his forties and had been drinking heavily, and died from a suspected fall. Grace longs to get into cutting-edge news reporting. She is intrigued.

Little does she know the man hiding and eavesdropping on her—and on the police—in the space beneath her upstairs flat. The old restlessness that Grace couldn’t name returned. She wanted answers. Her husband Mac does not seem as concerned. He wanted to have a housewarming party and this is the last thing she wants.

She would have to face the city again. Since her father had gone it had become nothing but a collection of shadows and echoes. A city of unfathomable thoughts and an uncharted future. The prospect of her wedding without him had been horror enough.

Her father had also died alone. Now this.

Three months later she is still going through the wedding presents, she finds an envelope tucked inside its white ribbon. Grace Scott’s name on the front. Odd, it did not have Mr. and Mrs. On the back the writing was fussy and looped. The cryptic words listed sideways and were difficult to read. “I am not that man", Lucian Grabole.

She had been so immersed in grief in the months before the wedding, she is baffled by the name. Her husband says he does not this person. DI Robertson was on the case and she continued to ring to inquire the status and update of the case. No match for DNA, fingerprints, or physical markings. No missing person reports. From prisons, hostels, social services, hospitals and immigration. All negative.

This man’s death is haunting her. She begins searching Google and calling homeless shelters in Edinburgh. From Glasgow, Stirling, and other towns within an hour of Edinburgh. She has no idea how deep this mystery goes. The evil and web of deceit surrounding the man, and her own life.

From clues to her sleuthing, she is traveling around Europe, obsessed with finding the identity of the man found in her apartment. Now it appears someone is following her and knows her every move. The closer she gets the more danger she is in. Someone attacked a journalist she was with in Paris and burned his boat in Amsterdam, and threatened her. While this story unfolds, back home in Scotland, the police find two other bodies that are somehow linked to the dead man in Grace's flat.

We also are introduced to Grace’s friend, Ewan who works at the Scotts Today office, assisting ace crime reporter Sula McGregor, who is investigating a story where two men were found dead in a cave to the north of Edinburgh. Grace asks him the best way to go about finding her John Doe when she is unsuccessful.

To add plenty of intrigue and mystery, there is also Mr. Singh downstairs. A man holed up in the back room of a corner shop underneath Grace’s flat.

She sees missing person’s notices. She wonders about all these families not knowing if their loved ones were alive or dead. Lost in a city of strangers. In the meantime, Mac’s patience with her obsession with the dead man had run out at about the same time as DI Robertson’s. He is concerned she is spending her dad’s money on this foolishness.

Ewan is very helpful and facilitates a contact for Grace in Amsterdam with another photojournalist, Nicu, who becomes interested in what she is doing. With Nicu’s help, she comes face to face with answers. With her camera and passion, and now the support of Scotts Today she keeps moving forward, even though Mac is not supportive. Does she really know her husband?

Set in Edinburgh – from London, Copenhagen, Amsterdam, and Paris----Little do they know that evidence and answers could be hidden in their apartment building.

CITY OF STRANGERS is a gripping story of deception, lies, and corruption with a tenacious heroine you root for. Hope we see more of her in future books. Fans of Mark Edwards, Ruth Rendell, and Heather Gudenkauf will enjoy.

If you have read any of Louse Millar’s books, you know she is a "master" at penning suspenseful menacing and intriguing tales which involves complex crime, corruption, deceit, family, villages, home, relationships, and twisty connections—while building chilling, complex scenarios which are emotionally and psychologically compelling. Life changing moments for the characters involved. Millar's psychological crime novels integrate themes of human misunderstandings and the unintended consequences of family secrets and hidden crimes.

CITY OF STRANGERS was my favorite of Millar's thus far. It starts slowly; however, the suspense and danger build; be patient and enjoy the mysterious ride.

JDCMustReadBooks ( )
  JudithDCollins | Nov 8, 2016 |
This was on the new books shelf at the library a couple of weeks ago. The blurb sounded really interesting - a freelance photojournalist returns from honeymoon to find a dead man in her flat. She becomes obsessed with trying to trace who he is. Frustrated by the police's efforts, she takes matters into her own hands. Using her journalism skills, she not only unpicks the mystery, she realises that she isn't happy compromising on her life and emerges as a more confident, assertive woman. I really liked Grace as a character. I thought she was believable and my liking of her caused many a gasp and stomach knot as her safety came under threat. I also liked Sula and her no-nonsense approach to journalism - she was forceful without being full on bitch. The story was well plotted and kept me guessing on a couple of points until the end. There were some nice red herrings. I hadn't heard of Louise Millar before, but I will look out for other books by her on the strength of this one. ( )
  missizicks | Jun 26, 2016 |
City of Strangers – A Great Scottish Thriller

City of Strangers by Louise Millar is currently a standalone thriller and what an excellent Scottish thriller it is. Well written, a great central character, who I admit I would love to see in further books and see her develop further. One of the great things about this book is that we start out in Scotland but get an International thriller, with pulsating action throughout.

Grace Scott and her husband Mac have just returned from their honeymoon out in Thailand, Mac has called in a shop to get milk and supplies. Grace enters the flat and finds a dead man in her kitchen, who she photographs from many angles, before the Police arrive.

Grace has recently completed a Masters Degree in photojournalism, and is not happy with the jobs she gets, mainly for magazines of slimmer’s of the year. Her friend Ewan works at the Scotts Today assisting ace crime reporter Sula McGregor, who is investigating a story where two men were found dead in a cave to the north of Edinburgh. He rather than Mac will be the person who eventually helps to give Grace her wings.

Below Grace’s flat is Mr Singh’s newsagent shop and at the back is a room that houses a man who sees everything and says nothing. Nobody in the flats above knows he is there other than Mr Singh, but he does his best to keep himself fit, if not sane.

Three months after finding the body Grace is still obsessing about the body in her Kitchen but Mac keeps telling her to forget about it and move on. The Police case is going nowhere when she finds hidden a note with the name of the victim on it, she calls her friend Ewan. He encourages her to use her journalistic and photographic skills to find out the truth and so begins an investigation that will send her to Europe.

Ewan fixes Grace up with a contact in Amsterdam with another photojournalist, Nicu, who is the first person to really take an interest in what she is doing. With Nicu’s help she comes face to face with problems she thought she could never overcome, and at times is scared. This is the first time that Grace feels alive though using her camera to capture what is happening and now has Scotts Today backing her, even though Mac is dead against.

Sula and Ewan still running the crime story of the two dead men who seemingly have no connection find a story that takes them in a direction they were not expecting.

As The City of Strangers comes to its conclusion we see the three threads developing in interesting directions, as Grace finds hidden depths. The book also asks if we do thing just because we are comfortable and lazy, but we can be amazed at ourselves if we step outside of our comfort zone.

This is a fantastically written thriller that gives us a reluctant hero who has to face down things she never would have dreamt of weeks earlier. There are great characters in this book and I would love to see Grace Scott given another book to develop further as she has hidden depths yet to be discovered.

A great book, a great read something that gives us a hero that is not London based and male, which makes for a fantastic book. ( )
  atticusfinch1048 | Dec 16, 2015 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 144728111X, Hardcover)

Grace Scott returns from honeymoon with her new husband, Mac, to find a man lying dead in their new Edinburgh flat. They don't know who he is or where he's come from. The mystery of his identity remains unsolved. Then, three months later, Grace finds a note tucked inside one of the wedding gifts which sends her on a journey to discover what really happened in her flat. A journey that becomes more dangerous the closer she comes to the truth ...What she discovers will change her life. Set in Edinburgh and travelling to Amsterdam, Paris and Copenhagen, CITY OF STRANGERS is a gripping story of deception, lies and corruption.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 09 Jul 2015 07:57:38 -0400)

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