A Stranger on the Beach

A Stranger on the Beach

by Michele Campbell


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Parade's "10 Books Written by Women We Can't Wait to Read in 2019" | She Reads' "Most Anticipated Thillers of Summer 2019" | Pure Wow's "The Best Beach Reads of Summer 2019" | CrimeReads' "The Most Anticipated Crime Books of Summer"

From bestselling author Michele Campbell comes A Stranger on the Beach, an edge-of-your seat story of passion and intrigue that will keep you guessing until the very end.

Caroline Stark’s beach house was supposed to be her crowning achievement: a lavish, expensive space to showcase what she thought was her perfect family. But after a very public fight with her husband, she realizes things may not be as perfect as they seem: her husband is lying to her, the money is disappearing, and there’s a stranger on the beach outside her house.

As Caroline’s marriage and her carefully constructed lifestyle begin to collapse around her, she turns to Aidan, the stranger, for comfort…and revenge. After a brief and desperate fling that means nothing to Caroline and everything to him, Aidan’s infatuation with Caroline, her family, and her house becomes more and more destructive. But who is manipulating whom in this deadly game of obsession and control? Who will take the blame when someone ends up dead…and what is Caroline hiding?

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781250202536
Publisher: St. Martin''s Publishing Group
Publication date: 07/23/2019
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 22,055
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.40(h) x 1.40(d)

About the Author

A graduate of Harvard University and Stanford Law School, MICHELE CAMPBELL worked at a prestigious Manhattan law firm before spending eight years fighting crime as a federal prosecutor in New York City. She is the author of It's Always the Husband and She Was the Quiet One.

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A Stranger on the Beach 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 92 reviews.
gisellsamaniego 15 days ago
This novel is reminiscent of Gone Girl in its style and plot. The dual points of view with at least one, maybe two, unreliable narrators propulses the story making it a page turner. The twists are well executed and some of the characters are well fleshed out. However, there are many questions left unanswered, some loose ends that could have been tied up nicely and a few eye-rolling moments. All in all, an excellent psychological thriller with a twist.
LlamaJen 3 months ago
I enjoyed the book but it wasn't my favorite. I would give it 3.5 stars. I absolutely loved the author's previous books. I found it a little confusing at times. Aidan and Caroline were experiencing their interactions completely different than each other. It was obvious one of them was delusional, but which one??? From the start I knew one of them was lying. With all the twists and turns and very unreliable narrator, I had a feeling what was going to happen. It became very predictable. The characters were hard to like, especially Caroline. I never warmed up to her. She made bad choices from the start and always seemed to justify them. I'm still not sure what to believe about Aidan. He surely isn't the brightest star in the sky. When the truth about everything was finally revealed it wasn't that shocking. The book was definitely entertaining and had me questioning everything that was happening between Aidan and Caroline. I look forward to reading more books by the author. I received a complimentary copy of this book from St. Martin's Press through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
Anonymous 4 months ago
Wow!!!! This is a fast faced, engaging, thriller! It kept me guessing from page 1. I did not want to put this one done. An affair, a murder, a scheme. This covers all the bases. Jason and Caroline seem like they have every thing. An apartment in the city, a million dollar beach house. Then at the housewarming party, everything changes. Lives are ripped apart. Lies are exposed. This one will keep you on the edge of your seat until the very end.
Bev_Ash 5 months ago
This was a nail biter! Once I started the book I couldn't stop. My hands refused to put the book down. All the characters were well developed. I could see them in my mind's eye and feel their actions. The plot was amazing. It kept me guessing until the end. I will read more books by this author. I received this ebook from NetGalley for an honest review.
Meemo_B 5 months ago
I'd read Michele Campbell before, so going in to this book I expected twists and turns, and it definitely delivers. Told from two points of view, it's clear that at least one of them is unreliable - but which one? It kept me guessing until near the end, and even then not all my suspicions were correct. Warning to folks who want their characters to be "likeable" - you probably won't find that here. But since that isn't a high priority for me, I enjoyed this one a lot. I did combine reading with listening to this one, and the audiobook is very well narrated, which added to my enjoyment. I recommend it to those who enjoy a good psychological thriller. My thanks to Netgalley and St. Martin's Press for providing a copy for an unbiased review.
Bridgett Deem Nelson 5 months ago
We are only as blind as we want to be. --Maya Angelou I have a love/hate relationship with Michele Campbell's books. While there were things I liked about A Stranger on the Beach, there were also things I found really annoying. The same held true when I read another of her novels, It's Always the Husband. Her character development is amazing, as is her creativity. Unfortunately, her books always feel a bit overblown and unduly contrived. So, the nitty and gritty about A Stranger on the Beach-- it's told from two perspectives, Caroline and Aiden, neither of whom is remotely believable. It's the reader's job to determine who is lying and who isn't. While this has the potential to be an incredibly fun concept, it's so utterly predictable, it makes the reading a bit mundane. I was less than inspired. Nevertheless, I think the story is just devious enough to make fans of many readers. It's hard not to get caught up in the lives of the characters, particularly throughout the first half of the novel. It would make a great beach read. **My appreciation is extended to NetGalley and the publisher for the advanced reader's copy.
Porchlizard 6 months ago
Intricately woven tale of suspense by a modern day master storyteller. Whose version of events is the truth, and whose is a lie? The convicted felon or the socialite? You really don't know until you near the conclusion. Ms. Campbell always ties up all loose ends, something I really appreciate as a reader of mysteries. There is nothing more disappointing than finishing a book and still not understanding all the whats, whys, and hows of the book you just invested days of your time reading. Or the ending being rushed after momentum has built and built and built - then boom! It's over too suddenly.
Nycol 6 months ago
A Stranger on the Beach by Michele Campbell was magnificently executed! This psychological thriller was exciting, suspenseful, thought-provoking and unputdownable. Who could ask for more? Caroline Stark’s marriage is on shaky ground. Her husband is hiding something and she wants to get to the bottom of it. Caroline decides to get back at her husband after a big fight. Does Caroline’s revenge, which meant nothing to her but everything to the stranger on the beach, put in motion a set of events that spirals out of control? Obsession, murder, manipulation, and infatuation persists throughout and is crafted masterfully. This is my second book by Cambell and I plan to read all of her work now. I received a review copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley for my honest review. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
Anonymous 6 months ago
I loved this book. Kept me guessing!
Carolefort 6 months ago
A Stranger on the Beach by Michele Campbell is a psychological thriller that is unpredictable. Caroline Stark is a happily married woman who has recently moved into her dream home: a high-end beach mansion in the Hamptons. A house-warming party turns into an embarrassment when Caroline and her husband have a loud argument about "the other woman". Caroline soon turns to Aidan, a local bartender and ex-con for solace and a short sexual relationship soon ensues. Although many of the characters are not likable, the reader's interest is maintained throughout by the many plot twists. Who is the good person, who is the bad, will change from page to page and you will not know who to cheer for. Who will commit a crime? Who will be blamed for the crime? Who will be the victim of the crime? Meanwhile, in the background, a hurricane is brewing. Suspense abounds. Thank you to St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for the e-ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Amanda_Dickens 7 months ago
I was so intrigued from beginning to end. The characters are very well developed and thought out. The atmosphere is creepy and engaging. The writing was perfect for the characters. No fluff paragraphs or lost thoughts. The plot was very strong and well constructed. While I did have to suspend logic a few times it was all within reason for a fictional psychological thriller. The pacing was perfect, it had the right mix of slower and faster pacing periods. The twists and turns throughout had me on a wild ride. I 100% recommenced this book.
Jessica_Wendorf 7 months ago
This is the first book I have read written by Michele Campbell. That being said, I wasn’t sure what sort of ride I was in for. I am a part of a podcast with my friend and co-creator Kim called Books Don’t Review Themselves. Together we sit down and decide was books we are going to read and review on the podcast, but each of us also read what we want in addition to the scheduled books. That being said, Kim was personally reading this book and sent me her review upon completion. After reading her review, the concept of the book, while basic, seemed very intriguing. Luckily, I was able to snag a copy on Netgalley and read it for myself. With that said, a podcast episode came to fruition. Like I mentioned above, the storyline is nothing spectacular in the sense it revolves around Caroline, a wealthy wife and mother with a high-class lifestyle including lavish parties surrounded by other high-class wealthy individuals; and then there is Aiden, who is barely getting by and has a less than ideal past that very much affects his future. The story comes to life when their paths cross. Caroline is remodeling their beach house and planning a lavish party to show off her efforts and also celebrate her husband, Jason, birthday when she sees Aiden standing out on the beach staring at her beach house. At the party, Caroline soon finds out that Jason has been lying to her and Aiden just so happens to be one of the bartenders at the shindig. As Caroline’s marriage starts to unravel, who better to comfort her than…you guessed it… Aiden. Now up until that point, everything seems pretty vanilla, but that is when the author takes a basic vanilla plot and turns it into ice cream sundae with all the fixings! What turned this story into a ride was how she wrote it in two separate views. It was so fascinating to essentially read Caroline’s perception of a scenario and then Aiden’s perception of the same thing. You felt like you were in each of their minds but at the same time, you were trying to figure out who was lying. That is what made this basic plot so amazing.
SLesko 7 months ago
Michele Campbell delivers a creepy beach story sure to keep your head spinning. One thought I had in the beginning was; "Who the F runs off and bangs the first bartender the see after discovering their husband has a mistress?!?!?!" Well lets introduce Caroline Stark. She is a 43 year old beautiful wife and mother, who from the outside looking in appears to have it all. Her husband Jason is a hedge fund manager. These people are very wealthy, and definitely enjoy all the fine things life can offer. Caroline is planning on throwing a joint house-warming/ Jason's B-day party. Caroline wants to showcase her interior design skills at the new beach house they built and designed. This my friends is where we insert Aiden. You see the Stark's new beach front mansion in located on the same land that once belonged to Aiden's family. Aiden is a handsome specimen in-deed; but one with a very checkered past. As Caroline discovers her husband's infidelity she all but runs into Aiden's arms. Now this is the point in the story I thought I was losing my freaking mind. I mean just each chapter was like whip lash and BOY did I eat it up. This story's chapters alternate between Aiden & Caroline telling their tale; and they could not be farther from the others. It was amazing reading what they each thought was happening. Clearly one is lying, and possibly clinically insane, but the question is; who? If I thought the chapters leading up to the finale were good, well hold on tight because this ride is far from over! This was an page turner for the year! Michele Campbell just sunk her claws in until the very end!
Anonymous 7 months ago
FrancescaFB 7 months ago
Doreena Silva 8 months ago
This was a GREAT book! I had high expectations due to all the hype and buzz about it and it definitely didn't disappoint! I couldn't read it fast enough and it had me on the edge of my seat the entire time. Oh and I love that most of it took place on long Island! This book was a true cat and mouse thriller. A must read for Psychological thriller fans. I have read and rated all Michele's books with 5 stars. I look forward to her next!
JM Free Kicks Fiction 8 months ago
I loved this book! Through the first part of it, the author did an outstanding job of planting seeds that made me doubt who was telling the truth and who was lying. At any given moment, I could swing my “allegiance to the truth” between Aidan and Caroline. By Chapter 26, I was convinced that Aidan was a creepy stalker. By Chapter 42, my notes read, “Wth is going on?” and “What’s real and what isn’t?” And by 52, my notes were nothing but “Omg, no way!” (and variations thereof). I cannot stress what a fantastic book this was. It is an absolute page-turner and a perfect “end of summer” novel. I cannot recommend it enough. Thank you to NetGalley, St. Martin’s Press, and the author for a complimentary, pre-release digital ARC.
Fredreeca2001 8 months ago
Caroline thinks she has it all. She has a wonderful family, a beautiful beach house and a life anyone would be jealous of. Then it all falls apart around her. Her husband is having an affair…or so she thinks. They have a very public fight and then all their money disappears. This throws her right into Aidan’s arms. Aidan is a local bartender and his obsession with Caroline is just plain scary. Then to top it all off…Caroline’s husband is missing and she is the prime suspect in his murder. I have to be very careful what I say. I do not want to give anything away. Just be prepared! This book is completely twisted and basically PSYCHO! Once you think you have it figured out….oh no you don’t! This story is smart, clever and totally crazy! I received this novel from St. Martin’s Press for a honest review.
JuliW 8 months ago
Caroline seemingly has it all. A great husband, kids, dream job, and a brand new beach house to top it all off. She wants to show off her perfect life and perfect family. But....it's all a facade. Underneath everything, Caroline and her life are a hot mess. So, she has a fling to make herself feel better. But unfortunately a one night stand that means nothing to her means so much more to the bartender she uses for gratification. But not everything is as it seems... This is the kind of book where it is perfectly ok to absolutely hate all of the characters. I enjoyed hating every single one of them. That very fact sucked me right into the story....it was like driving by an accident scene. You don't want to slow down and look....but you can't help it. I didn't want to feverishly read about these people's demented lives....but I couldn't stop myself. What a ride.....great story! I couldn't put this book down. Suspenseful. Twisted. Unputdownable. Loved it! I stayed up until 2 am because I had to finish this story. I love it when a suspense novel has me thinking "Oh my God....how F'd up are these people!'' the entire time. This is the first book by Michele Campbell that I've read....and I'm definitely reading her other two books, It's Always the Husband and She Was the Quiet One. A Stranger on the Beach was so stalkerishly creepy and twisted that I can't wait to find out what other demented creepiness this author has in store for me! She also has a new book coming out in 2020, The Wife Who Knew Too Much. **I voluntarily read an advanced readers copy of this book from St. Martin's Press via NetGalley. All opinions expressed are entirely my own.**
CapriciousNiteOwl 8 months ago
WARNING: Do not pick this book up if you have things to do around the house (like chores and feeding your kids)...they will not get done (or fed)!! “A Stranger on the Beach” is a fast-paced psychological thriller that will capture your attention right from the beginning, and once it sucks you in, you are GONE! This book is like watching a train wreck, you feel sorry for everyone involved, but you just cannot look/walk away without getting involved. I enjoyed the two POVs in this book, and I truly appreciated the task of figuring out which one of the two main characters, Caroline or Aiden, is the true nut job that lives in her/his own delusional world. There were some twists and turns, some more predictable than others, but the clever way the author developed the story, kept me fully engaged till the end. I highly recommend this book to all psychological thriller lovers, and I am looking forward to reading more books from this author. Thank you NetGalley, St. Martin’s Press, and the author, Michele Campbell, for giving me an opportunity to read an ARC copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
Tina_M_Bee 8 months ago
This is a fast paced thriller that hooks the reader very quickly. Adian Callahan (sexy local bad boy with a bit of an obsessive disorder) is distraught by the palatial summer house standing where his grandfather's modest home used to be. Well-to-do city dweller Caroline Stark had built the grand home to showcase her fledgling interior design business. After a series of events throws them together, they begin an affair that quickly goes off the rails. Because of potential spoilers, I am being careful here not to say too much. I really enjoyed the writer's style, the pace of the book, and the twists and turns of the plot, which had me unsure of who the real "bad guy" was until near the end. I enjoyed the "locals versus new folk" aspect, as it is something that has happened to many small communities in my home state, and brings the issue of displacement to ponder. There were a few details that could have used polishing, such as Adian's delusions...what exactly caused them was vague and felt a bit forced. The Russian Mob aspect also felt a bit "off", but did not detract too much from the fun pace of the story. All in all, the book was enjoyable and I would recommend it as a fun summer read for someone wanting a good nail-biter.
Jwbookobsessed 8 months ago
I am a sucker for beach reads, and good psychological thriller too. So combine them together and I am in. This was also my first book from Campbell, and boy it didn’t disappoint either. It was great! Caroline has moved into her beautiful new home on the beach. She has everything she wants and needs, a loving family and a husband who loves her. But he is always away for business, so she is all alone in this big house. During her big house warming party, she learns of her husbands infidelity which sends her into the arms of a mysterious man she keeps seeing out on the beach and the local pub. What should have been a night of passion/revenge turns into something more than she bargained for. Not long after that night, her husband goes missing under questionable circumstances. I have to say, I really enjoyed these two characters, one minute I was feeling sorry for Caroline and the next I was questioning her way of thinking. Same thing with Aiden. He had a past, one that followed him everywhere. But after the night that Caroline and Aiden shared, he had an instant infatuation with Caroline which made me worry a little. Now Caroline on the other hand was more worried about keeping up her uppity appearance when it came to her social status that she kept trying to keep him at arms length. Written in dual points of views from both Caroline and Aiden, it gave us the same story but from very different eyes. Making us question who is side of events is the truth? What was really happening? And just happened to Jason, Caroline’s husband? I just had to sit back and let the pieces fall into place. The pace was strong and steady with the suspense building as the story went along and little hints to the truth int there too, but it wasn’t until very end that it all came together and it was pretty damn good too.
moo77hb 8 months ago
My latest read by Michele Campbell is a great summer read and a lot of fun. Thanks to St. Martin's Press for the advanced reader copy in exchange for my review. I started reading this book making sure to keep an open mind. It is told from two different point of views and I had a feeling nobody was trustworthy. As I got deeper and the discrepancies added up I had no idea who to trust. This book was definitely a page turner. It did stall out a tad halfway through but then picked it up again from yet another point of view, and this really added to the mystery. I will be honest and tell you that I did begin to suspect how it would end about three quarters of the way through and I was right. This doesn't mean it wasn't enjoyable, just not totally shocking. There is so much to enjoy in this book. You have lies, scandal, danger, mystery and a love affair. What more could you want? A Stranger on the beach is definitely worth a summer read! You will enjoy yourself and also wonder who to trust.
3900980 9 months ago
A Stranger on the Beach by Michele Campbell is a true psychological thriller with twists and turns which continually play with you mind! Caroline Stark seems to have it all. Money, beautiful things, a loving husband and daughter, but after she meets a stranger on the beach near her house, it seems her life begins to implode. She finds out during a party she is giving at her beach house that her husband may be having an affair. Then suddenly she discovers he has moved all their money out of their accounts leaving her penniless. In a drunken moment, Caroline decides to have a one night stand with a stranger she has met on the beach. She has seen him staring up at her beach house. Aiden, a local with ties to the police has a history of being a bad boy. But Aiden does not see their relationship as a one night stand, but as a fallen head over heels love story which will endure the test of time. As Caroline begins to regret her decision and tries to discourage Aiden's behavior, Aiden begins to stalk her as well as her husband and her daughter. He begins showing up in places he should not even know about. Caroline begins to fear Aiden will hurt someone in her family. Then during a horrible storm someone IS killed and all the reader's theories are thrown out the beach house window! Not everything is as it seems. How can that be? Caroline and Aiden tell their stories through his and her chapters and the reader gains their perspective as to how they see or understand the situations occurring. It is up to the reader as to who to believe more. A Stranger on the Beach is a terrific summer read...to take to the beach! Yes, I went there!
TheBookBag 9 months ago
This book had my head spinning. The story is told from two character's points of view and throughout most of the book the recollections of their interactions were so different, I wondered if they even experienced the same events. Obviously one of them is not a nice person but I had a really hard time determining which one it was. This book was a definite page-turner as the drama and action escalated with each chapter. A Stranger on the Beach is one book you will want to add to your summer beach read list, for sure.