By Collection Management Librarian Dontaná McPherson-Joseph
Netflix’s new miniseries The Stranger is the story of how an intricate web of secrets and lies in a small community begins to unravel when the titular stranger (played by Hannah John-Kamen) approaches Adam Price (played by Richard Armitage) with a bombshell revelation about his wife. Whether you’ve watched the entire series or haven’t started yet, here are a few books that capture both the spine-tingling suspense and dangerous repercussions of secrets between spouses.
Netflix’s The Stranger read-alikes
The Stranger by Harlan Coben
Why you should try it: This is the book the miniseries is based on. Author Harlan Coben serves as executive producer of the show.
Description: Parents Adam and Corinne confront the shocking secret on which their marriage was built, leaving Adam to wonder whether he ever truly knew his wife at all.
Rules of Deception by Christopher Reich
Why you should try it: Like Adam’s and Corinne’s marriage, Jonathan’s marriage is structured around his wife’s closely guarded secret. A secret that could very well get him killed.
Description: Following the death of his wife in a mountaineering accident, Dr. Jonathan Ransom, a surgeon for Doctors Without Borders, receives a mysterious message that makes him the subject of an international manhunt and the target of an assassin as he struggles to unravel the truth behind his wife’s secrets and a terrifying global conspiracy.
Best Day Ever by Kaira Sturdivant Rouda
Why you should try it: This novel has a slight twist. Instead of the wife hiding a secret life, it’s the husband. And it is a whopper.
Description: As Paul and Mia Strom drive out of the city and toward the countryside, a spike of tension begins to wedge itself between them and doubts start to arise. How much do they trust each other? And how perfect is their marriage, or any marriage, really?
The First Wife by Erica Spindler
Why you should try it: In the same way Adam thinks he knows everything about Corinne, Bailey believes she knows everything she needs to know about her new husband. It doesn’t take a stranger to shake Bailey’s belief, though.
Description: Moving to her husband’s Louisiana horse-farm estate after a whirlwind romance, Bailey Browne is dismayed by rumors about the suspicious death of his first wife and the disappearances of other women from the area.
The Widow by Fiona Barton
Why you should try it: The husband has secrets. The wife has secrets. The secrets have secrets.
Description: After Jean’s husband dies, the community wants to know the real truth about the crime he was suspected of—but Jean has secrets of her own.
Never Have I Ever by Joshilyn Jackson
Why you should try it: Unlike The Stranger, where secrets are revealed, Amy Whey tries with increasing desperation to keep her secret under wraps. But will she go too far?
Description: When her loved ones are put in danger by a blackmailer who threatens to expose dangerous secrets, a devoted family woman struggles to keep the upper hand in an escalating war of betrayal.
Bring Me Back by B.A. Paris
Why you should try it: Much like Corinne, Layla leaves her husband, Finn, without notice, with him thinking everything was fine. But why did she leave, and what was she hiding before she left? And what is Finn hiding now?
Description: A decade after a man’s wife disappears without a trace, his new fiancée makes a discovery that raises questions about what happened and whether his first wife may still be alive.
Dontaná is a Collection Management Librarian who was born with an unending reading list. She is almost always reading two books simultaneously and is easily distracted by cool covers.