Don’t Talk to Strangers by Amanda Kyle Williams
ISBN: 9780553808094 (hardback)
ISBN: 9780345539649 (ebook)
ASIN: B00EMX9QM4  (Kindle edition)
Publication date: July 1, 2014
Publisher: Bantam/Random House

He likes them smart.

In the woods of Whisper, Georgia, two bodies are found: one recently dead, the other decayed from a decade of exposure to the elements. The sheriff is going to need help to track down an experienced predator—one who abducts girls and holds them for months before ending their lives. Enter ex–FBI profiler and private investigator Keye Street.

He lives for the struggle.

After a few weeks, Keye is finally used to sharing her downtown Atlanta loft with her boyfriend, A.P.D. Lieutenant Aaron Rauser. Along with their pets (his dog, her cat) they seem almost like a family. But when Rauser plunks a few ice cubes in a tumbler and pours a whiskey, Keye tenses. Her addiction recovery is tenuous at best.

And loves the fear.

Though reluctant to head out into the country, Keye agrees to assist Sheriff Ken Meltzer. Once in Whisper, where the locals have no love for outsiders, Keye starts to piece together a psychological profile: The killer is someone who stalks and plans and waits. But why does the sociopath hold the victims for so long, and what horrible things must they endure? When a third girl goes missing, Keye races against time to connect the scant bits of evidence. All the while, she cannot shake the chilling feeling: Something dark and disturbing lives in these woods—and it is watching her every move.

Don’t Talk to Strangers is the third book in the Keye Street series by Amanda Kyle Williams. Keye is a deeply flawed woman. A recovering alcoholic that was fired by the FBI, she now spends her time as private investigator, bond recovery agent, and consultant. Keye is Chinese-American, adopted by a white Southern family, and has a black, gay adopted brother. (I know, it sounds like the beginnings of a reality television program.) This book begins with Keye dealing with the temporary sharing of her loft with her lover/significant other, Aaron Rauser. She is also dealing with the co-mingling of their pets, her cat and his dog. Her cat, White Trash, is systematically terrorizing Rauser’s dog Hank (Keye takes a perverse pleasure in seeing this happen over and over again even though she feels badly for Hank and soothes his ego after the attacks). Keye is also training a new employee at her detective agency – Corporate Intelligence & Investigations. Latisha Eckhart is the daughter of the owner of one of Keye’s primary bonding agencies, Tyrone Eckhart of Quikbail. To add to Keye’s overall angst, she must also contend with her moody, pot-smoking, computer hacking partner, Neil Donovan. (On second thought reality television couldn’t do Keye and her people justice.) Just when Keye feels as if she’s in over her head with the training and relationship issues, she receives a call from a small-town sheriff’s department asking her to consult on a child abduction/murder case. Of course she says yes and travels to Whisper, Georgia to provide a profile on a killer. Just as Keye is introduced to the sheriff and the dump site of the murdered girls another abduction takes place. Can Keye help to nab a killer before another girl is tortured and killed?

To say that I enjoy reading the Keye Street series is a major understatement. Every time a new book in the series comes out I take the opportunity to reread the previous books before reading the latest addition. Yes Keye is deeply flawed, but then who isn’t? Yes she finds herself in some strange situations, but that’s just one of the reasons why I like her so much. Don’t Talk to Strangers spotlights Keye’s tendencies to sabotage things that are going well in her life, and it was fascinating to read about her attraction to Sheriff Meltzer and her struggle to remain true to Rauser. What was even more fascinating were the glimpses Keye provided into the psyches of pedophiles and killers. I thought that all of the characters in Don’t Talk to Strangers were very realistic and it was very easy to dislike the temperamental deputies that felt threatened by Keye, as well as really bad guys – the convicted pedophiles. I found Don’t Talk to Strangers to be a fast-paced and gripping read that I finished in one sitting (and yes I stayed up late to finish reading it). The story has just enough twists and turns to keep the reader interested from beginning to end. And the end is completely unexpected (trust me on this one and read it for yourself). If you enjoy great writing, wonderful characters, realistic action, and mystery-suspense-thrillers, then you’ll definitely want to add Don’t Talk to Strangers to your TBR list. 

If you haven’t read the previous books in this series, then you’ll want to read them as well: The Stranger You Seek and The Stranger in the Room.

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Read an excerpt here

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book free for review purposes from the publisher via Edelweiss. I was not paid, required or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Take the city of Atlanta, mix in a serial murderer with an Asian-American private investigator who’s an alcoholic and former FBI agent that was adopted as a child by a white-bread Southern family and what do you get? You get Keye Street as the main character in the new suspense thriller The Stranger You Seek by Amanda Kyle Williams.

To say that Keye is not your typical Southerner is a bit of an understatement, at least if you base it on physical appearance. In actuality Keye is Southern to the core in so many ways and in others is quite rebellious . . . which is probably a Southern thing in and of itself. She has disappointed her mother because she isn’t married and providing grandchildren, which is possibly a Southern thing (or perhaps just a Mother thing). Keye also feels she’s has disappointed her family by being asked to leave the FBI due to her alcoholism, winding up divorced (definitely a good thing but disappointing still), and not living up to her true potential by becoming a private detective. But Keye is quite good at what she does and she has several true friends that she can depend on, including Atlanta police department homicide detective Lieutenant Aaron Rauser. Keye spends her time working for law offices and bail bond companies until she is pulled into “consulting” with Rauser on a serial murder case. The big question is can she provide the profile necessary to help in this investigation? Does she still have the necessary focus to help or will she be a hindrance? When Keye’s involvement is made public, the question soon becomes can she help the investigation before she becomes a victim?

The Stranger You Seek is a great suspense thriller that kept me on tenterhooks until the very end. I thoroughly enjoyed the mix of subtle humor and laugh-out loud moments with the more serious, investigative scenarios. Ms. Williams’ descriptions of Atlanta and its various neighborhoods made me nostalgic (I lived in Atlanta for 18 years and miss it daily). This was a book that I simply had to read cover-to-cover without putting it down. It grabbed hold and didn’t let go until the last page. If you enjoy excellent writing and the suspense thriller genre then run out and pre-order The Stranger You Seek today, release date is 08/30/2011. And when you finish reading it don’t despair, there’s more Keye Street coming; look for Stranger in the Room in Fall 2012 and Don’t Talk to Strangers in Fall 2013. I’ve added both titles to my “got to have it” list . . . can you tell I liked this book?

Disclaimer: I received this book free for review purposes from NetGalley and ShelfAwareness Pro. I was not paid, required or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”