The Kindness of Strangers by Julie Smith

julie-smithTitle: The Kindness of Strangers

Author: Julie Smith

Length: 358 pages

I gave this book 2 stars out of 5 stars on Goodreads.

I picked up this book as part of the Spookathon hoping to wrap up this month with something spine-chilling. Unfortunately, things didn’t pan out as well as I had hoped.

As I mentioned earlier in my blog, I don’t usually give up on a book. I see it that I try as I might to find something nice in the book.

It may have been partly because the book that I picked up – ‘The Kindness of Strangers’ was the 6th book in the ‘Skip Langdon Series,’ but I just couldn’t connect to the story as much I had thought I would.

First, there are so many characters some of whom probably are from the previous series, and the number of characters who appear in the story expands in the course of Skip’s private investigation, so it became pretty hard to keep track of the character dynamics. (A lot of name remembering required.)

Secondly, the pacing felt a bit off to me. It was a bit slow in the first half and it suddenly picks up speed somewhere around 70% and then things start going at breakneck speed toward 90% of the book.

There are indeed some strong and exciting scenes where I couldn’t put it down, but what I thought the weak first half failed to keep me engaged as much.

Again, I am not a kind of person who easily gives up on a book, though, I was so close to give up on this one. I kept wondering if I should keep going throughout the book. My ambivalence may have clouded my mind and hindered me from judging this book subjectively, which I feel a bit sorry and unfair to this book.

My rating and thoughts might have been different had I followed the series.

Thirdly, I’m afraid to say that I couldn’t relate to the characters – I wouldn’t say ‘at all,’ I could relate to Torian being all broken-hearted, and I do think it was a nice attempt to set the protagonist Skip Langton as being rather substantial (tall, slightly overweight) as opposed to being all skinny and pretty. But for the most part, I found the characters are not much relatable.
I also found a bit distracting that there were too many characters’ inner voices and narratives. They were supposed to describe what was running through behind the characters’ mind and they may actually work for you, but it just didn’t work for me and I thought it kind of disrupted a natural flow of the story, unfortunately 😦

More than anything, the description of the villain was quite a letdown to me – I was expecting a real psychopath and he was NOT what I had envisioned. He miserably failed to get the hair stand up on the back of my neck 😦

All in all, I could only give this book 2 stars.

Although my gut-instinct went for 1 star out of 5 starts, for the sake of some strong scenes, I settled with 2 stars.



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