Joan Lurie was struggling to get ahead as a journalist. She gets her big break when she is hired by Manahatta to write for their Style section as she develops a #MeToo story on Caspar Osgood, owner of competitor, The Globe. When the article finally runs, it is a huge news story. The Stranger Behind You starts as an interesting commentary on sexual abuse in the workplace but becomes much more. The night of the story’s release, Joan is attacked and suffers a head injury. Fearing news of the assault will take the focus off her story, she doesn’t call the police or seek medical attention. Big mistake. She soon moves into an interesting old building in the Inwood section of Manhattan called the Refuge, which promises to offer excellent security but almost immediately, she senses she is being followed and is in danger.
This gothic-style mystery/thriller gets even more interesting when Joan meets her elderly neighbor Lillian, who has lived in the building since it was a Magdalen Laundry. (Magdalen Laundries started in Ireland. They were places “fallen women” were sent and were essentially treated like prisoners. A good subject to google.) Lillian has a fascinating history which includes getting involved with Murder, Inc., a notorious organized crime group, which ruled the city from 1929 to 1941.
Carol Goodman has written a very compelling book that sucked me in from the start and never let me go. There are several aspects of the story that strain credulity and might have you shaking your head (like Joan not seeking help for her head injury) but sometimes it’s best to accept what’s written and simply enjoy the ride. I did.
Many thanks to Edelweiss+ and William Morrow / Harper Collins for the opportunity to read this heart-pounding book in advance of its July 6 publication.
Rated 4.25 out of 5 stars.
Mystery / Thriller.
Publication Date: July 6, 2021.
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