book reviews

Strangers by C.L. Taylor ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐


Published: April 2nd, 2020
Publisher: Avon Books
Format: Hardback, Kindle
Genre: Mystery, Suspense, Psychological Thriller, Noir Fiction, Urban Fiction

Thank you to Tandem Collective UK for the invitation to take part in the readalong and to Avon Books for the gifted copy.


Ursula, Gareth and Alice have never met before.

Ursula thinks she killed the love of her life.
Gareth’s been receiving strange postcards.
And Alice is being stalked.

None of them are used to relying on others – but when the three strangers’ lives unexpectedly collide, there’s only one thing for it: they have to stick together. Otherwise, one of them will die.

Three strangers, two secrets, one terrifying evening.

The million-copy bestseller returns with a gripping new novel that will keep you guessing until the end.


I read Strangers as part of a readalong via Tandem Collective UK and was so hooked that I read it in one sitting instead of over six days. This book is the definition of unputdownable.  

The story packs a punch from the first chapter, opening with a dead body and our three narrators – Alice, Ursula and Gareth – all wondering what to do. With a sense of foreboding, we then go back to a week earlier, a time when they had never met and had no idea their lives were about to become entwined in such a dark way. 

Each of the narrators is facing their own challenges: Alice is trying to get back into the dating scene two years after the end of her marriage, Ursula finds herself homeless and then living with a weird man because of the cheap room, and Gareth is trying to keep his mother at home despite her dementia worsening, while also working full-time. All the characters leap from the page, even secondary ones we barely saw. To begin with I wasn’t a fan of Ursula but by the end she was my favourite character; a complex person full of compassion and strength. The secondary characters were sometimes even more interesting than the narrators. Ursula’s landlord, Edward, was an odd duck and had me intrigued from the start. There was something suspicious about him, though I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. I loved the cat and mouse game that developed between them and was full of questions about what it meant and where it would end.

C.L Taylor is one of my auto-buy authors but this is only the second time I’ve actually read one of her books. In Strangers she combines magnificent storytelling, edge-of-your-seat tension, mystery and compelling drama to create the perfect thriller. She expertly weaves the seemingly unconnected threads together using clever twists and turns.

Strangers is a tightly plotted, jaw-dropping and utterly brilliant thriller that should be on everyone’s bookshelf. You need to read it now!


Cally Taylor was born in Worcester and spent her early years living in various army camps in the UK and Germany. She studied Psychology at the University of Northumbria and went on forge a career in instructional design and e-Learning before leaving to write full time in 2014.

She started writing short stories in 2005 and was published widely in literary and women’s magazines. She also won several short story competitions. In 2009 and 2011 her romantic comedy novels (as Cally Taylor) were published by Orion and translated into fourteen languages. HEAVEN CAN WAIT was a bestseller in Hungary and China and HOME FOR CHRISTMAS was made into a feature film by JumpStart Productions. Whilst on maternity leave with her son Cally had an idea for a psychological thriller and turned to crime.

C.L. Taylor lives in Bristol with her partner and young son.




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