When teenage girls vanish in what was once considered a safe, Louisiana bayou town, the lives of four desperate young locals take unexpected turns, begging the question: Do you every truly know those closest to you?
When 19-year-old Tiffany Perron vanishes from rural Grand Trespass, Louisiana, best friend Haley Landry's relationship with her boyfriend becomes increasingly strained. To make matters worse, her impressionable younger sister Becky has begun idolizing an impetuous, seductive 15 year old who's encouraging her to do dangerous things.
Meanwhile, Erica Duvall, a reclusive 19-year-old aspiring writer, befriends Haley. Ten years earlier, Erica's mother abandoned her, leaving her with the womanizing used car salesman father she loathes. She's decided to write a novel based on Tiffany's disappearance; a novel that she hopes will lead to a reunion with her estranged novelist mother.
Rachel Anderson, a 36-year-old mother of two, is having trouble coming to terms with her husband, Tom's, affair with the missing girl - a relationship that supposedly ended shortly before Tiffany's disappearance. What's more, she comes to the blood curdling realization that someone is watching her through the large back windows of her house.
A disturbed man also lives in the area. Ever since his mother's murder four years earlier, he's been raising his insolent teenage sister, Allie, who sleeps with truck drivers for money. He considers women to be dangerous - and his world revolves around his fear and hatred for them. He's terrified of his sister, knowing she's intent on pushing him over the edge.
"Jennifer Minar-Jaynes' debut novel
Never Smile at Strangers is a gritty, atmospheric Southern thriller that keeps the heat and the tension cranked high right to the end. Small town secrets, fully-realized characters, and a truly twisted killer keep you turning the pages. Minar-Jaynes has an unerring instinct for the perfect detail that draws you in and won't turn you loose." (J.D. Rhoades, Shamus nominee & author of
The Devil's Right Hand, Good Day in Hell, and
Safe and Sound)
" Never Smile at Strangers is an irresistible debut packed with surprises. Her set-up is riveting, the plot loaded with twists and turns that leads into an effective and logical conclusion. Add this to prose that is fresh, interesting, and innovative, and you have one of the best debut novels that's sure to please readers for years to come." (Michael Laimo, author of Dead Souls and Deep In The Darkness)
"Combines the best elements of mystery and suspense - intriguing characters, compulsive plotting, first-rate storytelling. A terrifically impressive debut." (David Angsten, author of Dark Gold and Night of the Furies)
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