Thursday, September 1, 2011

BOOK REVIEW: The Stranger You Seek

Title: The Stranger You Seek

Author: Amanda Kyle Williams

Publisher: Headline Fiction

RRP: $29.99

ISBN: 978075538174

Release Date: Sept 2011

Pages: 336


You must be wondering who I am... I am THE STRANGER YOU SEEK.

In Atlanta, Georgia, a vicious serial killer is at loose, luring victims with ease, killing them with a combination of precision and twisted brutality.

Keye Street is not happy. Formally a rising FBI star, with two university degrees and a brilliant track record in criminal profiling, she's now working for herself as a bail recovery agent. It's not exciting work, but it keeps her agency afloat.

So when her friend and mentor, Lieutenant Aaron Rauser, wants her on his case, Keye is reluctant to help him out. That way, obsession lies, and she knows her demons. But when he shows her a letter he's received from the killer, Keye feels a familiar excitement. They're being played with, the snare is set, and Keye just can't resist picking up the bait...


Amanda Kyle Williams has contributed to numerous short story collections, has written some small press novels and worked as a freelance writer for the Atlanta Journal Constitution. In order to research this book, she studied criminal profiling and took law enforcement courses in Atlanta. This is her first serial killer novel, and she is currently working on her second, also featuring Keye Street.

You can follow Amanda on twitter @AKyleWilliams.


Keye Street, the protagonist, is a flawed but likeable former profiler for the FBI. Although she's of Chinese ancestry, she was adopted as a baby by a Southern couple. Keye loves the South as only someone who grew up there can. At one point, Keye was tossed out of the FBI because she was an alcoholic. And not only that, but her marriage came to an end. Four years later she's sober, if somewhat shakily, and works at chasing down bail jumpers.

Keye Street is a very flawed hero. Chinese-American, adopted into a very-southern family with quite interesting dynamics. Her recounting of her history throughout the book is an interesting look into her flaws, their causes - and often a bit of comic relief. Keye was determined to work in the FBI Crime Profiling Behavioral Unit, and guided her studies until she entered the FBI right out of college, two years later - she worked for the BAU. 4 years later - she was fired for alcoholism-related issues.

Now - she runs a PI agency, tracking down bail runners, serving court orders, and doing background checks, among other things. Her best friend, a police detective, asks for her help profiling a new serial killer that surfaces during the dead heat of the Atlanta summer.

Summer in Atlanta can be about two degrees cooler than hell itself. But what really disturbs the citizens is when a serial killer begins a frightening cat and mouse game with the media. Keye has extensive experience at profiling, but she is no longer Special Agent Street, and so hardly expects to be drawn into the case. Yet as the bodies begin to pile up, she finds herself on the hunt for the killer, drawn in by her friend, Lt. Rauser, who heads the investigation.

I really liked this novel - the ending threw me a little, but I have no doubt we'll be seeing more from this author and any remaining questions will be answered.

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