Wednesday, January 14, 2015

The Perfect Stranger by Wendy Corsi Staub

Every cloud has a silver lining.  The women who've come to know each other via their blogs often think of that saying and agree.  They are very different women; middle-aged and young, from all over the country, stay at home moms and career women and those without children.  But they all have something in common:  breast cancer.

Each has discovered the lifesaving support group of breast cancer survivors and those making the journey.  They share their stories, their emotions, tips for surviving the various treatments, and all the things they never tell their families and friends who aren't in the breast cancer club.  No one who has not walked in their shoes will ever understand exactly their journey and how it makes them feel.

There is Landry, a stay-at-home Southern belle living in Mississippi, with her lawyer husband and two teenagers.   Meredith's children are grown but that means she has the joy of grandchildren who visit often.  Kay never married and made her livelihood as a prison guard.  Elena is a thirty-year-old kindergarten teacher from Illinois.  No one is exactly sure where Jaycee lives or what she does, but even those who don't share everything are welcome to join the club and take solace there.

Then tragedy strikes.  Not the tragedy they are used to when one of the club loses the battle and dies of illness.  Meredith is struck down in her own home by a murderer who leaves her dead body behind.  The women are horrified and can't believe the fates would allow such a thing to happen.  They come together to attend the funeral and in the process meet each other for the first time. 

They feel an instant connection, although there is always a little nagging voice that tells them that they really don't know anything about each other.  Has everyone told the truth or is one of them hiding back gathering intimate details about the women's lives in order to target them?  The police don't know who may have killed Meredith, and the women aren't sure who to trust.

Staub has tapped into the fear of strangers that we all feel along with a portrayal of how personal issues can make someone in the virtual world seem like a long-lost friend.  This fear is somewhat overblown as many have met friends and mates that started out as virtual friends with no ill effects.  I found the book interesting as I've made many friends in the virtual world and later met them and added them to my friends list.  I'm also a breast cancer survivor so that part of the story also resonated with me.  This book is recommended for mystery readers.

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