When teenage girls vanish in what was once considered a safe, Louisiana bayou town, the lives of four desperate young locals take unexpected turns, begging the question: Do you every truly know those closest to you?
When 19-year-old Tiffany Perron vanishes from rural Grand Trespass, Louisiana, best friend Haley Landry's relationship with her boyfriend becomes increasingly strained. To make matters worse, her impressionable younger sister Becky has begun idolizing an impetuous, seductive 15 year old who's encouraging her to do dangerous things.
Meanwhile, Erica Duvall, a reclusive 19-year-old aspiring writer, befriends Haley. Ten years earlier, Erica's mother abandoned her, leaving her with the womanizing used car salesman father she loathes. She's decided to write a novel based on Tiffany's disappearance; a novel that she hopes will lead to a reunion with her estranged novelist mother.
Rachel Anderson, a 36-year-old mother of two, is having trouble coming to terms with her husband, Tom's, affair with the missing girl - a relationship that supposedly ended shortly before Tiffany's disappearance. What's more, she comes to the blood curdling realization that someone is watching her through the large back windows of her house.
A disturbed man also lives in the area. Ever since his mother's murder four years earlier, he's been raising his insolent teenage sister, Allie, who sleeps with truck drivers for money. He considers women to be dangerous - and his world revolves around his fear and hatred for them. He's terrified of his sister, knowing she's intent on pushing him over the edge.
©2011 Jennifer Minar-Jaynes (P)2012 Inkbug Media, LLC
"Jennifer Minar-Jaynes' debut novel Never Smile at Strangers is a gritty, atmospheric Southern thriller that keeps the heat and the tension cranked high right to the end. Small town secrets, fully-realized characters, and a truly twisted killer keep you turning the pages. Minar-Jaynes has an unerring instinct for the perfect detail that draws you in and won't turn you loose." (J.D. Rhoades, Shamus nominee & author of The Devil's Right Hand, Good Day in Hell, and Safe and Sound)
"Never Smile at Strangers is an irresistible debut packed with surprises. Her set-up is riveting, the plot loaded with twists and turns that leads into an effective and logical conclusion. Add this to prose that is fresh, interesting, and innovative, and you have one of the best debut novels that's sure to please readers for years to come." (Michael Laimo, author of Dead Souls and Deep In The Darkness)
"Combines the best elements of mystery and suspense - intriguing characters, compulsive plotting, first-rate storytelling. A terrifically impressive debut." (David Angsten, author of Dark Gold and Night of the Furies)
This book was well written, particularly for a debut novel. The plot was good and moved along nicely. I thought that the characters were well developed and I was interested to see what happened to them. I would definitely read another book by this author. The narrator also did a good job with the characters' voices.
Hard to follow occasionally when switching to different characters. Left me wondering if there were visual cues in the ebook that were missing in the audiobook. This didn't spoil the book at all though. Interesting characters and a real feel of the town developed a nice mental painting. ~JTC~
I am an avid hot rodder and enjoy restoring antique airplanes and automobiles.
A lot of surprises in the story.
I finally knew who did it.
Not easy to figure out.
Voracious Book Reader
Story is good, but it needs editing. I find grammar problems annoying. The author has difficulty with serial plurals. An editor would help.
Narration is fair. I find the attempt at speaking in a young child's voice to be cringeworthy. I prefer a normal adult voice simply reading the child's dialogue to be preferable.
The worst part of the narration is mispronunciation of common English words. The example that springs to mind is "mischievous." A simple phonetic reading of the word is all that is needed to see that it is a three syllable word, promounced "MISS-che-vous. The narrator butchers this word, creating a dreadful four syllable confabulation (miss-CHEE-vee-ous) that sets my teeth on edge. I don't think correct pronunciation is too much to ask when one purchases an audiobook that has professional narration. I have heard better reading on the free site, Librivox.
The third problem with the narration is weird, incorrect inflections that change the meaning of the sentence. It's as if the narrator is reading the material for the first time - or simply isn't paying attention to what is being read.
I won't listen again. This isn't literature. It is more like a guilty pleasure. I only wish the narration was better. Rather drove me batty.
ending fell a little flat. I was expecting a big final conflict, but really wasn't there.
I doubt it
It started really good. I liked many of the characters.
Early on, the storytelling, was kind of unique. It started with one character, who introduced us to another and so on. There were a lot of characters, and I kept wondering what was the connection to the central story. It does do a good job of tying that together in the end.
The book makes a pretty thin attempt to lead you down the wrong path, with who the bad person will be. Kind of cheap. And (spoiler), the bad person turns out to be a very minor character in the story.
Without the Daily Deals I probably would never have given this book a shot. So glad I did. Well written, with the characters well-defined. The story is good, if bit predictable in places; still, there was a bit of a a twist I didn't write see coming. Will be looking for more from this author!
Suspenseful, creepy, atmospheric
Can't think of any because this was quite unique in a way. There were no dominant characters as such, but quite a large number of people who were involved and the investigators were more in the background than in the usual crime thrillers.
Her female teenage characters sounded all wrong. I was constantly picturing chain-smoking washed-out women in their forties or fifties not some 18-year-old girls.
Not at first because there were so many characters being introduced that it became confusing, and I actually had to stop listening and check the book to work out who's who. But after that I listened to the rest in one sitting because the plot really pulled you in and I had to find out how it was all going to end.
Very well done for a debut book, would definitely read more books by this author, but probably not listen to another audiobook with the same narrator
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