The Stranger in Her House by John Marrs book review

Continuing on with my recent obsession with thrillers, I asked on my TikTok who the next thriller author I should try next is and many came back and said John Marrs. So I dropped Marrs a quick DM on Instagram telling him such and asking him where he thinks I should start with his books. He very kindly sent me The Stranger in Her House to read. And it’s a great little thriller.

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The Stranger in Her House tells the story of Connie, her mother Gwen and Paul. Connie is looking after her mother Gwen every day when one day a guy called Paul turns up claiming to work for a charity, helping with the garden and then around the house. Paul slowly becomes way too involved in Gwen’s life and Connie starts to get her suspicions about his real intentions.

It’s a fairly typical premise, but one that Marrs manages to throw in just enough twists to make it unique and interesting throughout.

The Stranger in her House plot – 4.25/5

The best thing about The Stranger in Her House was that I never really saw the initial plot twist changing and then never saw a lot of the big twists coming either. This is one of the key elements to making sure a thriller keeps your interest throughout.

If I find myself wondering why I’m reading a certain element of a thriller book and then it not going anywhere, I find myself losing interest. However, Marrs does a great job here of never filling the pages with plot for the sake of it. Almost every line is worth reading, whether it’s for the story and so will come into play later in the book or to build character.

Now, this wasn’t the most intense or shocking thriller I’ve ever read. There were some moments that I felt were a little cliche and some moments I thought Marrs was playing into people’s knowledge of thrillers to assume certain plot points made sense. I also felt like the ending, though a really mature way of finishing the book, didn’t quite leave my breathless or amazed like some other thriller novels have.

The Stranger in Her House characters – 4/5

One thing I thought would be slightly better in The Stranger in Her House were the characters. I’ve spoken to John on a couple of occasions and he has a great sense of humour which I hoped would pull through into this book a tad. I know thrillers aren’t necessarily the best place or time for humour, but he could have built what’s clearly a vibrant personality into his main character a bit more.

Connie, though featuring a more complex past than a lot of thriller protagonists, never really impressed me that much. I have a lot of time for what Marrs decided to do with her back story which is one of the great twists but generally, I didn’t think she showed enough range of emotions for me to click with her.

Paul, our eventual antagonist never really convinced me as someone who would ever truly be a villain. Without spoiling too much of the plot, there were a couple of moments that I felt were quite extreme considering some of the other moments that had happened with Paul. You might know what I mean if you read it!

The Stranger in Her House final rating- 4/5

The Stranger in Her House by John Marrs is a solid thriller. There’s just enough pace and twists and turns to keep you interested throughout and it has enough personality and unique elements to stop it from just becoming another generic thriller. I’ve heard from a few since finishing it that this isn’t Marrs’ strongest novel and he has some absolute bangers, especially over on his speculative fiction series of books, so I’ll be checking those out next. However, if you’re looking for a good, solid thriller and that’s your genre, you’ll definitely find something to love in The Stranger in Her House.

Buy a copy of The Stranger in Her House

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