Stranger In the Room is Amanda Kyle Williams’s second book featuring Keye Street. The book starts out with Keye’s niece, Miki, facing an intruder in her home. Miki immediately calls Keye for help and Keye is leery after all of Miki’s past issues. While Keye is trying to figure out what is going on at Miki’s house, she gets hired to find a bail jumper. Miki joins her on the hunt and chaos and hilarity quickly ensue. Keye is also tasked with finding out why a family discovered dry cement and chicken feed in the urn that was supposed to contain a loved one’s ashes. Keye takes her computer guru, Neil, with her up to north Georgia to find out what is going on with the crematory that provided the remains. While they are gone, Miki finds herself in more trouble and Keye and Rauser (Keye’s boyfriend and Atlanta Police Department Lieutenant) start trying to figure out who is stalking Miki. Meanwhile, Rauser has his hands full with the murder of a young boy. Together Keye and Rauser work to put all the pieces together and get a murderer off the street.
I have to say that Amanda Kyle Williams did not disappoint with this Keye Street novel. I found myself laughing out loud in spots, which broke up some of the tension in a way that did not detract from the feel of the book. The banter between Keye and Neil is entertaining and builds the characters well. You really get a feel for who Keye and Neil are in their everyday lives. I found myself wishing I knew them as friends because they are funny, courageous, adventurous, and intelligent.
The author did a great job with her descriptions. When she was describing a setting, she would give you detail so that you could develop a picture in your mind but there was not so much detail that you tuned out. She gave you just enough but allowed the reader to have some imagination involved in the mental picture. She also described southern food in an enthusiastic and effective manner. The author also included creative analogies throughout the book. I found myself making notes of some of the analogies to share with friends and family.
What was interesting with this book was that there were two main stories and one minor story encompassed in the one book. The author effectively navigated the stories without confusing the reader. You clearly know the separate stories and do not get muddled together. One of the stories seemed to evolve from a local story that occurred in Georgia over ten years ago, which could distract some readers; however, I felt that the author was able to take the basis of that story and develop it to where it was a new and fascinating look into what that case would have been like for investigators.
In Amanda Kyle Williams’s first book (“The Stranger You Seek”), you were given clues throughout the story to figure out who was the perpetrator and it was clear that it was a character you had been introduced to throughout the book. In this book, the reader is learning along with the characters and you get an in depth look into how a profiler develops the profile of a criminal. Although this was different from the first book, this style is just as effective for the reader and takes you on an adventure that you do not want to stop.
Overall, this book lived up to and superseded what I had hoped and expected to experience when I read it. Many times sequels can fall short of the original book but that is not the case in the Keye Street novels. The second book may have been structured slightly different from the first book but it was just as effective in keeping me hooked from the first few pages. I hope that Amanda Kyle Williams continues to write more of these books because I will continue to read them until she is finished writing about Keye Street’s adventures.
Read: June 2012