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A Stranger at the Door

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Rachel Marin is in a good place. After years of struggle, the single mother has found both a stable, loving relationship and a new purpose: putting her investigative skills to work solving crimes for the local PD. But just as the pieces of her life are finally starting to fall into place, her teenaged son’s teacher is gruesomely murdered, starting a domino effect that shat Rachel Marin is in a good place. After years of struggle, the single mother has found both a stable, loving relationship and a new purpose: putting her investigative skills to work solving crimes for the local PD. But just as the pieces of her life are finally starting to fall into place, her teenaged son’s teacher is gruesomely murdered, starting a domino effect that shatters her peaceful existence. When Rachel discovers an ominous email the teacher sent to her just before his death, she knows she must help bring his killer to justice. But soon a figure from her past reappears, threatening to expose Rachel’s darkest secrets if she doesn’t tread lightly. And when her son is recruited by a shadowy businessman who may be connected to the murder, Rachel knows this has just gotten very, very personal. Someone out there is dead set on keeping this grisly cover-up good and buried, which means if Rachel’s not careful, it’s only a matter of time before her dream life becomes her worst nightmare.


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Rachel Marin is in a good place. After years of struggle, the single mother has found both a stable, loving relationship and a new purpose: putting her investigative skills to work solving crimes for the local PD. But just as the pieces of her life are finally starting to fall into place, her teenaged son’s teacher is gruesomely murdered, starting a domino effect that shat Rachel Marin is in a good place. After years of struggle, the single mother has found both a stable, loving relationship and a new purpose: putting her investigative skills to work solving crimes for the local PD. But just as the pieces of her life are finally starting to fall into place, her teenaged son’s teacher is gruesomely murdered, starting a domino effect that shatters her peaceful existence. When Rachel discovers an ominous email the teacher sent to her just before his death, she knows she must help bring his killer to justice. But soon a figure from her past reappears, threatening to expose Rachel’s darkest secrets if she doesn’t tread lightly. And when her son is recruited by a shadowy businessman who may be connected to the murder, Rachel knows this has just gotten very, very personal. Someone out there is dead set on keeping this grisly cover-up good and buried, which means if Rachel’s not careful, it’s only a matter of time before her dream life becomes her worst nightmare.

30 review for A Stranger at the Door

  1. 4 out of 5

    Matt

    Be sure to check for my review, first posted on Mystery and Suspense, as well as a number of other insightful comments by other reviewers. https://www.mysteryandsuspense.com/re... Jason Pinter dazzles with a protagonist whose past is anything but clear in this electrifying sequel to his newest series. In A Stranger at the Door, Pinter creates a murder mystery that has deeper and more complicated plots, as Rachel Marin must again face her past and the risks she’s taken to protect her children, one Be sure to check for my review, first posted on Mystery and Suspense, as well as a number of other insightful comments by other reviewers. https://www.mysteryandsuspense.com/re... Jason Pinter dazzles with a protagonist whose past is anything but clear in this electrifying sequel to his newest series. In A Stranger at the Door, Pinter creates a murder mystery that has deeper and more complicated plots, as Rachel Marin must again face her past and the risks she’s taken to protect her children, one of whom finds a new form of trouble. With a mixed civilian-police procedural story, Pinter slowly and deliberately weaves a web and traps the reader into forging ahead, guessing who is behind it all. Recommended for those who loved the first novel in the series, as well as the reader who might like something a little different in a crime thriller. Rachel Marin may not be her real name, but it is what folks in Ashby, Illinois call her. When Rachel receives an email from her son’s teacher, asking to meet and discuss a private matter, she’s intrigued. However, before she can make it to see Matthew Linklater, he’s been murdered and his house set ablaze. Who could want to do this to a man that many describe as quiet and salt of the earth? Rachel is still as keen as ever to thrust herself into the middle of a criminal investigation, something that her boyfriend, Detective John Serrano, has come to realise he cannot deter. As they work the case, it soon becomes apparent that one of the students at school may have had a beef with Linklater, but no motive is yet clear. Things take a definite turn for the worse when Rachel’s son, Eric, sneaks out to the local ball field in the middle of the night. With a little help from Detective Serrano, they discover that it is a collective of teenage boys who are being targeted to begin selling a wide range of products. It would seem they prey on the vulnerable, creating a safe space for them. While not illegal, Rachel wants Eric out of this group and can only see trouble lurking. Everything seems to be led by one Bennett Brice, who uses foot soldiers and some violence to keep the boys in line. As Rachel tries to head up the investigation, she is neutered repeatedly by Serrano, which does not sit well with her. Attempts to get Brice to stay away from her son also fail miserably, when Rachel is attacked one day as she follows Eric discretely and lands in the hospital. However, Brice could be the key to the Matthew Linklater murder, though the pieces are still not fitting together. Things get even more complicated when someone from Rachel’s past arrives in town. Evie Boggs has a secret that Rachel cannot have come out, but must play her cards right or things could get even worse for Eric. With a killer on the loose and more victims emerging, Serrano will have to utilise the mental acuity of his girlfriend and the grounded nature of his own partner to solve the case, or a number of teenage boys could end up in the morgue themselves. I only recently discovered the work of Jason Pinter and am kicking myself for waiting so long. I devoured the series debut and was highly impressed with the writing and presentation, which led me to rush out and get my hands on this novel. Mixing a police procedural with civilian criminal investigator keeps the reader busy as they try to piece it all together in a format that is not entirely orthodox. Rachel Marin recaptures her role as protagonist, offering more pieces of her life throughout the story, though her reveal at the end of the last novel sets the table for much of the vague backstory. Marin is sharp and on point when it comes to the investigation, but still has trouble when it comes to ceding control of the situation to the professionals, including her boyfriend, Detective John Serrano. Rachel loves her two children, who could not be more opposite to one another, taking risks to keep them safe. This familial dedication does, at times, blind her and pushes Marin into making poor choices. Pinter crafts a stellar supporting cast of characters as well, providing fodder for the numerous plot lines. While the criminal element drives the story, there are personal struggles as well, which are effectively shaped by those Pinter uses to hash out the details. There is never a lull in the story telling, which drives many of the characters to grow in their own way and provides the narrative with something worth exploring. With a handful of returning faces, the reader can learn a little more about them, but the new cast definitely takes the story in some interesting directions. The story definitely proved unique for me in the thriller genre. The melding of an active police investigation with an overly keen civilian investigator keeps the story moving and allows the reader to feast on a few perspectives simultaneously. Pinter pulls the reader in with a strong narrative that never stops evolving. The narrative works well with the clipped dialogue, offering a sense of realism and great banter. Chapters are predominantly short, which keeps the reader on their toes, never knowing what’s to come. With a personal thread that takes Rachel Marin out of her usual ‘distanced observer’ role, the reader is treated to some wonderful magic throughout this piece. While some have said this works well as a standalone, I question why anyone would want to do that. There is so much to enjoy in both books together that the reader would be foolish not to start fresh and enjoy the ride! Kudos, Mr. Pinter, for a great series that kept me guessing. I am definitely going to keep my eye on your future publications and may look back to see what other gems you may have written. Love/hate the review? An ever-growing collection of others appears at: http://pecheyponderings.wordpress.com/ A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/...

  2. 4 out of 5

    "Avonna

    Check out all of my reviews at: https://www.avonnalovesgenres.com A STRANGER AT THE DOOR (Rachel Marin Thriller Book #2) by Jason Pinter is the second book in this intense thriller series featuring single mother Rachel Marin. She has turned her investigative skills and physical training into working as a freelance forensic investigator with the Ashby PD. Rachel Marin is finally finding a measure of intimacy and peace in her life with her two children and boyfriend, Ashby Detective John Serrano whe Check out all of my reviews at: https://www.avonnalovesgenres.com A STRANGER AT THE DOOR (Rachel Marin Thriller Book #2) by Jason Pinter is the second book in this intense thriller series featuring single mother Rachel Marin. She has turned her investigative skills and physical training into working as a freelance forensic investigator with the Ashby PD. Rachel Marin is finally finding a measure of intimacy and peace in her life with her two children and boyfriend, Ashby Detective John Serrano when one of her son’s high school teachers is found dead in a house fire. The teacher was brutally tortured and murdered before his home was set on fire. No one can find a reason for this horrible crime, but just hours before his death he emailed Rachel and asked her for a meeting and her help. As soon as the investigation begins, Rachel gets a visit from someone she never thought to see again and is warned to stay out of the investigation. At the same time, Rachel’s son, Eric is lured into a group that sets the two against each other and could be tied to not only to illegal activity, but murder. Rachel refuses to stop investigating and will do anything to protect her son. Will she be able to put the puzzle pieces together in time to save her son and her own life? I loved this book as much as the first! Rachel is such a strong female protagonist. She has remade herself to protect her children and will do anything for them. These are fast-paced violent thrillers are a cross between police procedural and vigilantism and therefore some belief must be suspended, but Mr. Pinter also adds moments of regular family life and laughter in the mix. This series has a strong push-pull continuing battle between Serrano’s legal justice and Rachel’s vigilante justice and the ramifications, but the two seem to need each other enough to work it out with Serrano pulling Rachel back from crossing that line (again). I highly recommend this book, series and author!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Dana

    Jason Pinter does it again! I have definitely found another author to add to my favorites list. His writing is so damn good! (Off to find all of his backlist books...) A Stranger At The Door is the second book in the Rachel Marin Thriller series. Now before I go any further ... I highly encourage everyone to read Hide Away first. The author does an excellent job of recapping the events from book one but there's just something special about meeting the characters for the first time, learning who t Jason Pinter does it again! I have definitely found another author to add to my favorites list. His writing is so damn good! (Off to find all of his backlist books...) A Stranger At The Door is the second book in the Rachel Marin Thriller series. Now before I go any further ... I highly encourage everyone to read Hide Away first. The author does an excellent job of recapping the events from book one but there's just something special about meeting the characters for the first time, learning who they are, their back story, etc. A LOT happens in book one that you need to read. Just trust me on this. This freaking storyline WAS SO GOOD! I love a book that surprises me and this book has a whole lot of that going on. I was picking my jaw up off the floor several times. The character development is excellent. There are some seriously shady dudes in this book and several characters return from book one. Rachel Marin is once again a total bad ass. Can we be friends? On second thought, maybe not ... she gets herself into a lot "unique" situations. And let's talk about how there's also some humor thrown in there. Several times I found myself laughing out loud - page 288 for instance, hilarious! If you're a thriller fan I highly encourage you to get your hands on these books. HUGE thank you to Megan Beatie Communications for my review copy!!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader

    In the last year, I’ve been converted to a series fan, exploring historical mysteries and crime thrillers like this one. The first book came out in 2020, and I loved Rachel, the strong main character. I couldn’t wait for book two and I loved it even more. Jason Pinter is a talented writer and knows how to hook you into a series and a character’s word. I’m ready for book three. I received a gifted copy. Many of my reviews can also be found on my blog: www.jennifertarheelreader.com and instagram: In the last year, I’ve been converted to a series fan, exploring historical mysteries and crime thrillers like this one. The first book came out in 2020, and I loved Rachel, the strong main character. I couldn’t wait for book two and I loved it even more. Jason Pinter is a talented writer and knows how to hook you into a series and a character’s word. I’m ready for book three. I received a gifted copy. Many of my reviews can also be found on my blog: www.jennifertarheelreader.com and instagram: www.instagram.com/tarheelreader

  5. 5 out of 5

    Chris

    A Stranger at the Door finds Rachel Marin, now a freelance forensic investigator returning in the second book of the series. Where one of the questions asked is, How far would you go to protect your children? Rachel receives an email from one of her son's teachers asking for help with a matter. Then, his body is found after a house fire is reported. It is discovered that the teacher was tortured before his death. Eric, Rachel's son, is then recruited to work for a shady business man who has info A Stranger at the Door finds Rachel Marin, now a freelance forensic investigator returning in the second book of the series. Where one of the questions asked is, How far would you go to protect your children? Rachel receives an email from one of her son's teachers asking for help with a matter. Then, his body is found after a house fire is reported. It is discovered that the teacher was tortured before his death. Eric, Rachel's son, is then recruited to work for a shady business man who has information on Rachel's past, and may be connected to the teacher's murder. Also, someone from Rachel's past returns to blackmail her to not take on the investigation. She is left to discover how these are all connected. The book was a good, fast paced read. We get to learn a lot more about Rachel, her kids, and Detectives Serrano and Talley, which I really enjoyed. Suspension of belief is definitely required here, as the things Rachel does would never be allowed by the police, such as questioning suspects and overall interfering with the investigation. Reading book 1 first will definitely help you out, as book 2 does contain spoilers for book 1. Overall, it's a good quick read that I flew through and I liked revisiting these characters and look forward to seeing how the series continues to develop! My thanks to Thomas & Mercer, author Jason Pinter, and NetGalley for gifting me a digital copy of this book in exchange for my honest review

  6. 4 out of 5

    Lou

    A Stranger at the Door is the second instalment in the Rachel Marin Thriller series, set in Ashby in Chicago, Illinois. Social studies teacher Matthew Linklater has been brutally murdered. Having worked at Ashby High for 13 years he was single although he had been using online dating apps and seeing an Ashby High mother named Gabrielle. Just before his death he had sent an email to forensic consultant and single mother of two Rachel pertaining to unspecified information he had about some of his A Stranger at the Door is the second instalment in the Rachel Marin Thriller series, set in Ashby in Chicago, Illinois. Social studies teacher Matthew Linklater has been brutally murdered. Having worked at Ashby High for 13 years he was single although he had been using online dating apps and seeing an Ashby High mother named Gabrielle. Just before his death he had sent an email to forensic consultant and single mother of two Rachel pertaining to unspecified information he had about some of his students who he believed were in danger. He didn't disclose the information over email and wanted to speak on the phone with her. However, shortly after this was sent, Matthew hears a knock at the door and once opened he is ambushed and struck on the head with a wrench. There was more than one attacker and the last thing he saw before it was lights out was his own bloodied and battered face as the attackers tried toaccess his phone using facial recognition. Rachel Marin has been through a lot - she's been forced to change her name and identity and move to a new state due to the peril she, 14 year old son Eric and 8 and a half year old daughter, Megan, could be in after her husband was brutally slain and his body discovered on their front porch 8 years ago back in Connecticut. She's taken self-defence classes and her boyfriend of six months, John Serrano, is a Detective at Ashby PD. John receives a call to attend the scene of a house fire, which has been pegged as a possible arson, in the small midwestern town. A victim's remains had already been found amongst the rubble. The house in Glenmore Lane still had smoke billowing from it and Serrano met partner Detective Leslie Tally and forensics expert Isaac Montrose just outside. The victim was found in bed and the killers had used the medieval technique of rat torture where the rat would eat into the victim's flesh before using accelerate to set the house alight. When Rachel becomes concerned about why depressed Eric is being highly secretive about where he's going she decide to follow him and stumbles upon an operation in which high school students are being recruited to carry out underhand business deals that pay handsomely. Eric and many other at-risk boys are being exploited for financial gain; she establishes that those behind the organisation are two ruthless, psychopathic brothers running their own money laundering ring. This is a riveting and compulsive cross between a tense police procedural and emotional domestic thriller with more than enough to sink your teeth into. Rachel is a formidable protagonist and is both resourceful and tough with an unbounded thirst for truth and justice. Pinter's characterisation is effortless and superb and the realistic suspense and the terror Rachel feels over trying to keep her children safe is believable and moving. The plotting is intelligent and precise, the dialogue true to life and the surprises plentiful, and I found myself racing through the pages. It's a propulsive, fast paced affair with scintillating suspense and one I highly recommend.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Kat (Books are Comfort Food)

    This is the 2nd installment in the Rachel Marin thriller series and it packs a hard punch, providing twists and odd angles at a fast pace. A social studies teacher at the local high school, Matthew Linklatter, is murdered, which raises many questions as he pretty much kept to himself, played by the rules, kept a nice home and honestly, didn’t appear close to anyone, yet his students loved him. The story begins as the victim sends an email to Rachel Marin, a consultant with the local PD. His emai This is the 2nd installment in the Rachel Marin thriller series and it packs a hard punch, providing twists and odd angles at a fast pace. A social studies teacher at the local high school, Matthew Linklatter, is murdered, which raises many questions as he pretty much kept to himself, played by the rules, kept a nice home and honestly, didn’t appear close to anyone, yet his students loved him. The story begins as the victim sends an email to Rachel Marin, a consultant with the local PD. His email indicates he has a concern about something ongoing at the school and would like to talk to her. But of course, there is a knock at his door and soon as he answers everything changes and the real story begins. Rachel is a smart, kick-ass, self-sufficient individual. She’s brilliant, cares deeply for justice and those around her. She is relentless in protecting her family at all costs, due to past history. I love her character. As Rachel juggles her time on this case her son goes through changes, which may be in part due to his age, but also personality issues where he wavers from a sweet loving kid to one with a huge chip on his shoulder. I don’t want to give too much away, but I will state that the original murder is only one dimension of the story. And it is a good story. I like the characters in this book. They are believable, flawed, but always working to overcome their challenges. I’m not near ready to say goodbye to them so I’m hopeful there is a book 3 in the works. While this book can be read as a standalone book, I enjoyed starting with book one that is awesome!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Shalini

    A kickass protagonist, a convoluted plotline, subplots that had a crossover of the present and past, with reveals of book 1, Jason Pinter’s A Stranger at the Door was a rocking ride from beginning to end, giving me no time to breathe in the interim. Rachel Marin, a single mother, with a past as dark as the midnight sky and secrets hidden deep within herself, lived for her children and assisted the cops in their cases, with the lead detective as her boyfriend. Her son’s teacher was tortured and to A kickass protagonist, a convoluted plotline, subplots that had a crossover of the present and past, with reveals of book 1, Jason Pinter’s A Stranger at the Door was a rocking ride from beginning to end, giving me no time to breathe in the interim. Rachel Marin, a single mother, with a past as dark as the midnight sky and secrets hidden deep within herself, lived for her children and assisted the cops in their cases, with the lead detective as her boyfriend. Her son’s teacher was tortured and torched alive after having sent her an email, warning her of nefarious activities in school and wanting her help. Her son soon got involved in some shady deals. That brought inner lioness to the forefront, and nothing could and would stand in her way. The story moved fast, the subplots kept zooming in front of my eyes. Though there were many things of book 1 discussed in this, kind of a spoiler alert, I didn’t mind it as it meant I had one book less in my TBR. The author cast a series of sticky web around her that not only snared her, but this time, her son seemed to be the main prey, as a leverage on her. Many characters, but easy to keep them in line, marked through the various subplots. The investigation progressed quickly with Rachel doing most of the work for the police. Her emotions surfaced many a time, but I liked that she could work through them. I liked her immense love for her children, a good mama bear. My niggles too came through. I liked Rachel, but at times, she was a bit too much in face, who kept telling me that she could take the baddies on. I would rather she showed it to me. She would make a good PI. Short, snappy chapters pulled me into this crime thriller with shades of a police procedural. Her relationship with the cops leading the investigation was peppered with respect and friendship, though at times, she was short with them. Overall, I would say this was a rocking breakfast read with complexities and suspense and loads of action.

  9. 4 out of 5

    The Nerd Daily

    Originally published on The Nerd Daily | Review by Marla Warren I would not have thought it was possible, but I found myself enjoying A Stranger at the Door, the second book in the Rachel Marin series from Jason Pinter, even more than I enjoyed the first book Hide Away. Historically, it seems that second books (or second albums, or second movies) have a difficult time measuring up to the first. After all, the expression “sophomore slump” exists for a reason. But Pinter has somehow created the exa Originally published on The Nerd Daily | Review by Marla Warren I would not have thought it was possible, but I found myself enjoying A Stranger at the Door, the second book in the Rachel Marin series from Jason Pinter, even more than I enjoyed the first book Hide Away. Historically, it seems that second books (or second albums, or second movies) have a difficult time measuring up to the first. After all, the expression “sophomore slump” exists for a reason. But Pinter has somehow created the exact opposite scenario. Not hindered by having to provide all of the necessary introductory exposition that a first novel in a series is generally burdened with, he gives the reader suspense and excitement from cover to cover. A Stranger at the Door is filled with action and mystery that will keep readers turning page after page. Read the FULL REVIEW on The Nerd Daily

  10. 4 out of 5

    Zoe

    Engrossing, propulsive, and twisty! In this enthralling second instalment in the Rachel Marin series, A Stranger at the Door, Pinter has written a menacing thrill ride featuring the resilient Rachel Marin and the dependable Detectives Serrano and Tally as they join forces to hunt a sadistic killer who seems to have ties to a group of local high school boys and a wealthy entrepreneur. The writing is tight and intense. The characters are persistent, resourceful, and intelligent. And the plot is an e Engrossing, propulsive, and twisty! In this enthralling second instalment in the Rachel Marin series, A Stranger at the Door, Pinter has written a menacing thrill ride featuring the resilient Rachel Marin and the dependable Detectives Serrano and Tally as they join forces to hunt a sadistic killer who seems to have ties to a group of local high school boys and a wealthy entrepreneur. The writing is tight and intense. The characters are persistent, resourceful, and intelligent. And the plot is an eerie, electrifying whodunit full of twists, turns, manipulation, familial drama, lies, secrets, corruption, violence, and murder. Overall, A Stranger at the Door is a fast-paced, intricate, tortuous tale that does an exceptional job of highlighting that money and greed are often the root of all evil and the wicked loves to prey on those more vulnerable and weak. Thank you to Amazon Publishing for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Mick Dubois

    Matthew Linklater, teacher of social studies at Ashbury High, contacts PI Rachel Martin, the mother of one of his students by email. He discovered something that may be criminal and isn’t strictly school business. Less than an hour later, he’s murdered in a truly gruesome manner. He opened the door for the killer. So, it must be someone he knows as well as someone that wants to leave a clear message. Rachel has only just returned from the crime scene when another shock awaits her. A woman she kn Matthew Linklater, teacher of social studies at Ashbury High, contacts PI Rachel Martin, the mother of one of his students by email. He discovered something that may be criminal and isn’t strictly school business. Less than an hour later, he’s murdered in a truly gruesome manner. He opened the door for the killer. So, it must be someone he knows as well as someone that wants to leave a clear message. Rachel has only just returned from the crime scene when another shock awaits her. A woman she knew in her past, Evie shows up at her door and orders her to leave this case alone. Why is she suddenly here and why use threats against Rachel instead of the police? Is she forced by someone? At the same time, Rachel’s 14-year-old son Eric who still struggles with his dad’s untimely demise is sucked into a secret organisation by Benjamin Ruddock, a senior with a bad reputation. But it’s not Ruddock who’s in charge of the pyramid scheme and who preys on troubled and vulnerable youths. First of all, I did like this book despite a few minor criticisms. It’s a solid story that’s well told. It keeps its suspense after the scheme is discovered and the main perpetrators are known. The unwilling accomplice of Matthew’s killer was still a surprise though. It’s an interesting series with a mother in the lead role. This is only the second book; so, it’s easy to pick up the storylines. It’s best to read the books in order as this story may contain spoilers for the first one. I go along with the premise for the sake of the story. But it’s never disclosed where Rachel got her forensic skills (maybe in the first book?) and she doesn’t seem to have any certificate or diploma in that field. So, I think it very unlikely that the police would hire her as a consultant, whether she’s the girlfriend of a lead detective or not. The fighting skills and observation technology she uses are a lot easier to digest. I would not like to make her angry. Rachel is a tough mother; she protects her children like a lioness. Eric experiences this as a prison regime but in the end, he’s all too happy for his mother’s presence. She’s not the only protective mother, though. If there is a theme in this story, it is that there is very little that a loving mother will not do or sacrifice for the safety of her children. Not all those things are pretty! The unfortunate and disturbing thing is that this story shows how easy it is for bad-intended individuals to prey on weaker children and manipulate them into doing things they never would do on their own. They use incentives like money, the feeling to belong and appreciation as rewards to lure them in. Only when they’re in over their heads and the going gets rough, do the threats and punishments appear. The organisation is described as a Ponzi-scheme in the book, but to me, it sounds more like a pyramid scheme, although there’s little difference between them and I’m not an accountant or economist. Let’s agree it’s a bad fraud. Of late, I’ve read several books where I asked myself how the title related to the contents of the book. Here, the title is a good find. It can refer to the person at the victim’s door or to the woman turning up at Rachel’s. I thank Netgalley and Thomas & Mercer for the free ARC they provided and this is my honest, unbiased review of it.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Victoria

    The second outing for Rachel Marin is not as strong as the first, but it is another rip-roaring, page-turning race to the finish. Compulsive (if a bit repulsive). The story begins with a heinous crime of which the details are later horrifically described. I’ve read a lot of crime and mystery books, watched many episodes of crime dramas, and folks, this was a first in the evil category. The cast of characters is a little larger, but not so many that you can’t keep up, and reintroduces a feisty char The second outing for Rachel Marin is not as strong as the first, but it is another rip-roaring, page-turning race to the finish. Compulsive (if a bit repulsive). The story begins with a heinous crime of which the details are later horrifically described. I’ve read a lot of crime and mystery books, watched many episodes of crime dramas, and folks, this was a first in the evil category. The cast of characters is a little larger, but not so many that you can’t keep up, and reintroduces a feisty character from the first that I’m glad Pinter brought back. On the negative side is the character of Rachel herself. Her obstinacy tried my patience and continuing to put her family in danger while continually decrying that a mother will do anything for her children, that’s a little dodgy. The plot is both multi-layered and a little bit oblique. I feel there was a strong idea here, but it took a backseat to the action. And while the writing is not prosaic, it’s also not exactly profound. I had just read a novel by John Hart, so the comparison, while not fair, was top of mind. All that said, it’s still a strong follow up to the first in this series and I will likely give this author another try. If you’re looking for a propulsive and entertaining mystery, then it fits the bill and at three stars, not too shabby for the second in the series.

  13. 4 out of 5

    TheMysteryMO

    The second Rachel Marin book was a steady, suspenseful read which I enjoyed most for the characters. The plot was good with a killing that pulls Rachel in to assist the police; however, she has past and present forces adding to the complexity of the case. Fans who enjoy the extremes that Rachel takes in search for answers will enjoy A Stranger at the Door as much as Hide Away and I hope the series continues! Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read this story for an hone The second Rachel Marin book was a steady, suspenseful read which I enjoyed most for the characters. The plot was good with a killing that pulls Rachel in to assist the police; however, she has past and present forces adding to the complexity of the case. Fans who enjoy the extremes that Rachel takes in search for answers will enjoy A Stranger at the Door as much as Hide Away and I hope the series continues! Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read this story for an honest review.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Pattyh

    Thank you Netgalley for the opportunity to preview A Stranger at the Door by Jason Pinter. Pinter is fast becoming a favorite author for me. He has the ability to create really good characters that you become vested in, want to follow, and are REAL. This is the second book in the Rachel Marin series, and although this can be a stand alone, i really suggest readers to take the time to read the first book. - Hideaway. Also, he has another series - Henry Parker - that's another series that I really Thank you Netgalley for the opportunity to preview A Stranger at the Door by Jason Pinter. Pinter is fast becoming a favorite author for me. He has the ability to create really good characters that you become vested in, want to follow, and are REAL. This is the second book in the Rachel Marin series, and although this can be a stand alone, i really suggest readers to take the time to read the first book. - Hideaway. Also, he has another series - Henry Parker - that's another series that I really like. The book introduces you again to Rachel, her kids, and her new boyfriend - a cop she met recently who she is starting a relationship with - and some other characters that keep the story rich and interesting. Rachel has a past - a terrible secret - and she tries to keep a low profile, but somehow, trouble seems to find her. When a local teacher is found dead, Rachel has a connection - her son was a student of his, and this teacher sent her an email before he died - he was reaching out to Rachel for help and then he is found dead. Rachel musters the strength to get to the bottom with a little help from her friends and along the way she is hit from all sides. Can Rachel keep her children safe and keep her self out of the public eye. Someone wants to find Rachel and he/she will do anything to keep her quiet. Very good - 4.5 stars.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Owl._.

    2nd book in the Rachel Marin series and it did not disappoint. I was lucky enought to read both books as eARC's and can say I definitely recommend this series. Love the writing style - fast paced, grabs you from the beginning. Could be read as a stand alone but why would you? I am looking forward to book 3. Thank you #netgalley and #thomasandmercer for the opportunity to read this eARC fo rmy honest opinion. 2nd book in the Rachel Marin series and it did not disappoint. I was lucky enought to read both books as eARC's and can say I definitely recommend this series. Love the writing style - fast paced, grabs you from the beginning. Could be read as a stand alone but why would you? I am looking forward to book 3. Thank you #netgalley and #thomasandmercer for the opportunity to read this eARC fo rmy honest opinion.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Christina McDonald

    Smart and cleverly plotted, this fast-paced crime mystery is compelling with tons of emotion and a protagonist bent on justice. Beneath the layers of plot are characters so well written I felt I actually knew them. Suspenseful, funny, tense and gripping, A Stranger At The Door is that perfect mix of hard-boiled detective mystery combined with a whole lot of heart. The book is the second in the Rachel Marin series. I haven’t read the first one, Hide Away, (which I will soon remedy!), but it didn’t Smart and cleverly plotted, this fast-paced crime mystery is compelling with tons of emotion and a protagonist bent on justice. Beneath the layers of plot are characters so well written I felt I actually knew them. Suspenseful, funny, tense and gripping, A Stranger At The Door is that perfect mix of hard-boiled detective mystery combined with a whole lot of heart. The book is the second in the Rachel Marin series. I haven’t read the first one, Hide Away, (which I will soon remedy!), but it didn’t detract from the story in any way. In this one, Rachel is just getting to a good place in her life when she receives an ominous email form her son’s teacher, sent to her just before his untimely, and pretty horrific, murder. And when she finds out her son has been recruited to a shadowy business by someone who may be connected to the murderer, vigilante Rachel isn’t going to take that lying down. A fast read with a fun protagonist, I highly recommend!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    An amazing book, second in a series, fast paced, couldn't put it down! Won in a giveaway. Thank you Jason Pinter, wonderful novel! An amazing book, second in a series, fast paced, couldn't put it down! Won in a giveaway. Thank you Jason Pinter, wonderful novel!

  18. 4 out of 5

    AC

    My usual disclaimer: this is the second book in the Rachel Marin series, and I have not read the first. However, I was able to read this as a standalone, with little to nothing lost or confusing. The book opens with the musings of a teacher at the local high school on his ordinary, content life. There's something he knows, though, and he sends an email to the titular Rachel Marin, couching it in somewhat vague terms, and asking to meet her to discuss it. We can tell this will not end well for him My usual disclaimer: this is the second book in the Rachel Marin series, and I have not read the first. However, I was able to read this as a standalone, with little to nothing lost or confusing. The book opens with the musings of a teacher at the local high school on his ordinary, content life. There's something he knows, though, and he sends an email to the titular Rachel Marin, couching it in somewhat vague terms, and asking to meet her to discuss it. We can tell this will not end well for him, and it doesn't. When he answers to door and opens it for someone he appears to know, he is viciously beaten to death. Rachel herself, and her two children, have settled into smallish town life in Ashby, Illinois. She's seeing a detective with the Ashby PD, John Serrano, and working as a consultant for the APD. This was one area where reading the first book probably would have helped, but I'm not going to ding the story for that reason. Serrano gets a call about a house fire and heads out. Rachel isn't far behind. As it turns out, the house belongs to the (now dead) teacher, who happens to be one of Rachel's son's teachers. They find his body in his bed, and several hot points where accelerant has been used. But whoever set the fire has not bothered to try to hide the fact - meaning they are not concerned at all that anyone knows, and very likely want people to know. The story moves from there into the whodunnit. We get a short intro (no names) to the bad guy's right hand man, who is instructed to get close to Eric. This is fortunate the next day as Eric is about to get beaten up by bully. But once he's under the wing of right hand man Ben Ruddock, who now has a name and who looks like a football linebacker, suddenly those types of issues go away. Ruddock invites Eric to join a fraternity of sorts - the description of it sounds like recruitment to some Dickensian group of misfits, with another man, Brice Bennett in the role of Uriah Heep. As the investigation continues, Eric becomes more and more distant from his mother and sister, and the detectives are not having much luck finding anything as to who killed the poor teacher. Serrano interrupts at 1 AM meeting of the boys Ruddock has recruited, saving one of the boy from having his shoulder ripped out as Ruddock pins him. Now the bad guys know they're in trouble, and things get murkier and more dangerous along the way, with Rachel herself being clocked in the head by someone with a gun as she's following Ruddock and Eric as Ruddock makes his rounds, handing out manila envelopes to various people. In the middle of all this, someone from Rachel's past shows up, telling Rachel they should work together because they're on the same side, but Rachel doesn't see eye to eye with her on this. Eventually, the hunt picks up speed, snowballing to a dramatic and action-filled resolution. The writing was good, and while I'm generally not a fan of continued inner monologues from characters to tell us how they're feeling, I gave it some leeway this time for Rachel and Eric, as they're going through a tough time. The relationships between the characters was quite good, and while there is violence, it is crucial to the story and not overly gruesome except for the autopsy scene with the dead (and burned) teacher. I recommend you not skip that unless it's far too much for you. LGBTQ representation: Serrano's female partner Tally is married to another woman, and they have kids. There were a couple of points that could probably have been trimmed just a hair, and the actual scheme Bennett was running seemed to be a tad overly complicated, but overall, it's quite a good read. A solid four out of five stars. Thanks to Thomas & Mercer and NetGalley for the review copy.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Rick

    A Stranger at the Door is a very fast paced murder mystery. Rachel Marin is a strong woman who is holding a secret and possesses incredible physical and mental self defence skills. A Stranger at the Door is the second book in the Rachel Marin series by the prolific author Jason Pinter. Rachel’s son’s teacher is brutally murdered just after sending her an email asking to meet. Shortly afterwards Rachels’ troubled son Eric becomes involved with Bennett Brice, a shady character, who promises young b A Stranger at the Door is a very fast paced murder mystery. Rachel Marin is a strong woman who is holding a secret and possesses incredible physical and mental self defence skills. A Stranger at the Door is the second book in the Rachel Marin series by the prolific author Jason Pinter. Rachel’s son’s teacher is brutally murdered just after sending her an email asking to meet. Shortly afterwards Rachels’ troubled son Eric becomes involved with Bennett Brice, a shady character, who promises young boys riches beyond their wildest dreams. As an overprotective mom, Rachel makes things worse by threatening Eric’s new benefactor and everything starts to escalate. Rachel begins to wonder if the murder and the appearance Brice Bennett are somehow linked. I really enjoy the book because it is interesting, fast paced and an easy read. Although there are many twists and turns it is easy follow because all of the surprises have strong links to the central theme. The author has a way of maintaining his focus on the story. All of the characters are very relatable. There are moms who will do anything for their kids, cops who just want to get their job done, a several victims who just get dragged in to the fray. All of it is very believable. I recommend this book to all people who love a good fast paced and tight murder mystery. I give it a 4 on 5. I want to thank NetGalley and Thomas & Mercer for providing me with a digital copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

  20. 5 out of 5

    M. [storme reads a lot]

    Devoured the first one and then picked this one up. I finished both in two days and have no regrets at all. Jason Pinter has crafted a great series, and I hope many people will be picking up these books soon. It made me wonder who was safe and why I should ever open the door. I just could not stop reading, and it was very thrilling and twisty at the same time. Both qualities of a great read to me. It was great to see some of book 1 figured out and how this series will carry on. I suggest reading Devoured the first one and then picked this one up. I finished both in two days and have no regrets at all. Jason Pinter has crafted a great series, and I hope many people will be picking up these books soon. It made me wonder who was safe and why I should ever open the door. I just could not stop reading, and it was very thrilling and twisty at the same time. Both qualities of a great read to me. It was great to see some of book 1 figured out and how this series will carry on. I suggest reading the first and then picking this one up, you cannot go wrong. A huge thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Tracy T.

    This was a okay second installation of this series. (audible review) I liked it for the most part. I did get kind of annoyed with the kid Eric. He just sulked and was angry with zero personality. So basically he sucked. Also, I found it odd that Rachel what constantly tell the police what to do, rather demanding. Otherwise it was an okay book. I hope the author chills out a bit on Rachel acting like she owns the police dept. Kind of annoying. I still don't understand what exactly this Brice chara This was a okay second installation of this series. (audible review) I liked it for the most part. I did get kind of annoyed with the kid Eric. He just sulked and was angry with zero personality. So basically he sucked. Also, I found it odd that Rachel what constantly tell the police what to do, rather demanding. Otherwise it was an okay book. I hope the author chills out a bit on Rachel acting like she owns the police dept. Kind of annoying. I still don't understand what exactly this Brice character was doing for kids and how they made money. It was very confusing. The best part of the this book was Megan and her Sadie Scout series! As for the narration, it was great. I am a huge fan of Angela Dawe. She does a great job on all the voices and has a good reading voice. She reads with emotion as called for.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Bonnie

    The author mentions in his acknowledgements at the end of the book, that the 2nd book in a series is the hardest to write. That may be the case, but this author did any outstanding job with book 2 in the Rachel Marin series. If you like reading books with very strong leading ladies, this series is for you. Rachel is one tough cookie and so is Evie!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Kristin (Always With a Book)

    Thank you Brilliance Audio for the gifted copy. This is the second book in Jason Pinter's Rachel Marin Thriller series and I love it. If you love a strong, kick-a** female protagonist who will do anything to protect her children, this is a series for you! This book starts off with a bang and never lets up. It's a fast-paced and suspenseful read and I love that Rachel doesn't let anything deter her from getting answers. I will say that this is probably a case where you really should read the first Thank you Brilliance Audio for the gifted copy. This is the second book in Jason Pinter's Rachel Marin Thriller series and I love it. If you love a strong, kick-a** female protagonist who will do anything to protect her children, this is a series for you! This book starts off with a bang and never lets up. It's a fast-paced and suspenseful read and I love that Rachel doesn't let anything deter her from getting answers. I will say that this is probably a case where you really should read the first book, Hide Away, before picking this one up, so that you have a better idea of Rachel's backstory, though the author does do a good job of giving just enough information without repeating everything verbatim. Rachel goes all out when she realizes that her own son is being led astray by a sinister scheme that may have some connection to the murder of a beloved teacher at his school. There is nothing more fierce than a protective mama bear and all her instincts are screaming that something is not right. I love that we continue to get more answers about Rachel and her past. We still do not have the complete story - this will probably take the entire series to flesh out but that is why I love reading series. There is also the continued relationship between Rachel and Detective Serrano. That is a tricky relationship, still in it's early days and they are clearly having growing pains, but I have faith they will learn to work through it as I think they balance each other out. This is a great series and I cannot wait to see where it goes next! Audio thoughts: I was so glad to see that Angela Dawe was back to narrate this second installment. She narrated the first book and did such a great job and continued to do an amazing job with this second book. She really brings these characters to life, giving each one their own personality, even Rachel's children. Angela has such a knack for infusing just the right amount of tension and emotion into her voice as needed at just the right time to make this book a great listening experience. You can see all my reviews at: https://alwayswithabook.blogspot.com

  24. 5 out of 5

    Christopher Lawson

    Another great book by Jason Pinter! I hope there’s another book coming in this series, because I love Rachel Marin!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Andreas Tornberg

    Fun and suspenseful with interesting characters. This series deserves more attention.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Ann

    Looking forward to book 3.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Tiffany

    I really enjoyed getting sucked into Rachel’s crazy intense world again. I don’t know why this woman has so much drama surrounding her, but I’m here for it all. Especially when she’s taking down grown men 🙌🏼 I was burning through the pages, and can’t wait until the next installment!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Nicole Brooks

    It was okay... This one was okay. It just seemed to keep going and going long after it should have ended. The author had Rachel acting more like a male who hated to follow orders rather than a mother looking out for her son. It was quite annoying at times.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Dona Fox

    FIVE BREATHLESS STARS! Thomas & Mercer has done it again—they really know how to line up the best in Mystery & Thrillers! In #AStrangerAtTheDoor Jason Pinter gave me real chills as he made me question what did this one horrific murder have to do with the stranger who beguiled teenagers then lured them to sneak out and gather in a field in the middle of the night? It's frightening to realize that when your teenager shuts their door, you're no longer in control. That should scare you to death, and FIVE BREATHLESS STARS! Thomas & Mercer has done it again—they really know how to line up the best in Mystery & Thrillers! In #AStrangerAtTheDoor Jason Pinter gave me real chills as he made me question what did this one horrific murder have to do with the stranger who beguiled teenagers then lured them to sneak out and gather in a field in the middle of the night? It's frightening to realize that when your teenager shuts their door, you're no longer in control. That should scare you to death, and in this book, it comes close for Rachel Marin. In this second installment of the Rachel Marin Thriller Series by Jason Pinter, this strong and independent woman steps up to save her child, and others, from a Dickensian cast of villains and unravel a mysterious scheme. The chills mount as the human sharks close in on Rachel's son—and even more so in the method chosen for the gruesome murder—Poe would have been proud. I loved how the mysteries piled up in this story, mostly why was someone recruiting these boys and what captivated the children so entirely that they were willing to commit such extreme acts of violence? That kept me guessing. What was in the envelopes they were delivering to so many houses? The story is detailed yet fast-paced. The realization that villains like the ones described are out there is made vivid and chilling in its possibilities. Pinter's story goes where our minds seldom dare to wander. Just when it appears as if evil has won, Rachel Marin, wounded, bloody, possibly dying, rises one last time, using all her exceptional martial arts skills, but does she have enough strength left? She doesn't. No, it appears that maybe she doesn't this time. Recommended! Thanks to Thomas & Mercer, #NetGalley, and especially Jason Pinter, author of #AStrangerAtTheDoor for the ARC in exchange for my honest feedback, this is it!

  30. 4 out of 5

    Lori

    A family of three now, after the murder of her husband, Rachel Marin is trying to build a safe life with her two children. Her name isn't really Rachel or Marin but that's her identity now. She has spent the last few years developing her self protection skills. According to her teenage son, she's way past suffocating and over protective. He feels like he lives in a prison. He is also extremely depressed at the loss of his father and becoming despondent. He is a prime target for the unsavory who A family of three now, after the murder of her husband, Rachel Marin is trying to build a safe life with her two children. Her name isn't really Rachel or Marin but that's her identity now. She has spent the last few years developing her self protection skills. According to her teenage son, she's way past suffocating and over protective. He feels like he lives in a prison. He is also extremely depressed at the loss of his father and becoming despondent. He is a prime target for the unsavory who want to lead the unhappy astray while using him to get to Rachael. Rachel knows her son is struggling but doesn't know how to help. But as a momma she will not let her son be taken from her or used to get at her. When the high school teacher gets brutally murdered Rachel is drawn into the investigation because of an email she received from the teacher before he was murdered. Unfortunately evil is among them and Rachel needs to use all of her skills to find the killer and save her son. Good book and easy to read and follow. The characters are great! The newish romantic relationship between Rachel with Detective Serrano is one that has to endure her having investigative talents and no rules and his career need to follow the rules. Well worth the read you will enjoy if this is your genre. I do recommend this book. Thank you Jason Pinter, NetGalley and Thomas & Mercer Seattle publishers for allowing me to read this ARC.

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