LS Stratton | Not So Perfect Strangers

The Book: 

Not So Perfect Strangers by LS Stratton
Published March 28, 2023 by Union Square & Co.
Date read: May 1, 2023

The Characters: 

Tasha and Madison

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The Plot (from Goodreads):

One fateful encounter upends the lives of two women in this tense domestic thriller, a modern spin on Alfred Hitchcock’s  Strangers On A Train that flips the script on race and gender politics.

“I’m a big believer that women should help each other, Tasha,” she says. “Don’t you think?”

Tasha Jenkins has finally found the courage to leave her abusive husband. Taking her teenage son with her, Tasha checks into a hotel the night before their flight out of D.C. and out of Kordell Jenkins’s life forever. But escaping isn’t so easy, and Tasha soon finds herself driving back to her own personal hell. As she is leaving, a white woman pounds on her car window, begging to be let in. Behind the woman, an angry man is in pursuit. Tasha makes a split-second decision that will alter the course of her she lets her in and takes off. 

Tasha and Madison Gingell may have very different everyday realities, but what they have in common is marriages they need out of. The two women want to help each other, but they have very different ideas of what that means . . .

They are on a collision course that will end in the case files of the D.C. MPD homicide unit. Unraveling the truth of what really happened may be impossible‒and futile. Because what has the truth ever done for women like Tasha and Madison?

How did Not So Perfect Strangers end?

Click here for book spoilers for Not So Perfect Strangers
Book spoilers ahead–if you haven’t yet read Not So Perfect Strangers, I suggest you turn back now.

The Reveal:

Madison asked Tasha to kill her husband, and in turn Madison would kill Tasha’s–the classic Strangers on a Train plot where they could get away with it because they have nothing in common. Tasha didn’t want this, though–she didn’t want Kordell dead, just out of her life. Although Tasha didn’t agree, Madison killed Kordell anyways and then expected Tasha to deliver on her end of the bargain.

Before Tasha, Madison had asked her brother Billy to kill Paul. Billy decided to tell Paul, which gave Paul the idea to hire him to kill Madison instead. The night Madison died, she was trying to lure Gaylin into her house to get him to kill Paul. Gaylin got stopped for speeding and didn’t make it. Instead, Billy came to kill her, but chickened out when he was supposed to shoot her. Paul shot Madison instead. He then passed out–I missed exactly what happened here–and Billy left as planned. While Paul was unconscious, Tasha came after Gaylin, thought he had shot Madison, and lit the fire to cover up any evidence. When Paul woke up in the hospital, he said that Madison had killed herself and he had passed out from shock. He said he didn’t know how the fire started, but he assumed it was Billy.

The Ending:

Paul meets up with Billy to pay him, and they discover that neither of them set the fire. In the end, Tasha and Gaylin move out of town. Tasha is considering a relationship with Morris.

The Review: 

Thank you to @BookSparks and @ShellyStrattonBooks for this gifted copy as part of #SPRC2023!

I’m a little late posting this review, but I really enjoyed this fast-paced Strangers on a Train retelling! I love thrillers that take this theme and do it well, and Not So Perfect Strangers was no exception. Without spoiling too much, this book successfully differentiated itself from other books that take a spin on the same theme.

I enjoyed Stratton’s subtle messages about class, race, and gender. Her point clearly comes across without it being overtly stated, and she effortlessly wove the commentary into a gripping thriller.

I definitely recommend picking up a copy of Not So Perfect Strangers this spring.

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