‘Devil in Disguise’ by Robin Alexander

In Alexander’s ninth book, she introduces the reader to Natalie Summons two years after a drunk driver killed her lover, severely injured her, and changed her life forever. Natalie has moved to a small town near Baton Rouge, Louisiana and purchased a house in a sparsely populated neighborhood. She has a new neighbor, Lyn, and meets a handywoman, Terry, recommended by her friend Andrea who owns the local bookstore. Lyn and Terry are about as different as two women can be. Natalie, who’s not quite ready to go looking for love, finds herself attracted to both.

When items in her house are in a different place than where she left them or missing all together, Natalie begins to question her sanity. She’s one of those “a place for everything and everything in its place” kind of women. So when her nightshirt is not where she put it every morning, she knows something is wrong. But what? Is she losing her mind or is someone coming into her home and moving things around? Then she comes home and the back door is open. She remembered locking it and checking it twice. Changing the locks and putting in an alarm system doesn’t stop the stalker.

Alexander has written a thriller that will keep you awake at night—not because you’re reading late into the night, although you may do that, too—but because you’re going over in your mind whether you locked your car, did you shut the window in the kitchen, and did you lock the front door when you came home? You’ll begin to check to make sure that the door to the garage is shut, that things are where they should be, and, yes, whether someone has been in your house.

Alexander doesn’t initially tell you who the stalker is, but she does have chapters where the story is told from the stalker’s point of view.

The author’s characters are finely drawn, Natalie in particular. You see her emerge from her self-imposed shell as she makes new friends. When she realizes that she is being stalked, she doesn’t do anything incredibly stupid, unlike too many other characters in other books. Natalie does everything right, but it doesn’t make any difference, the stalker keeps coming. Alexander’s minor characters are interesting and believable.

Alexander maintains the tension from start to finish. You may find yourself reluctant to pick the book up because of the tension, but you will be so drawn to the characters and to finding out who the stalker is that you’ll keep reading and keep checking your house until you finish the book—and even then you may continue to check and double check your own security measures.

This is a well written and well edited book with no missteps along the way. There’s nothing to take the reader out of the story, and you may find yourself wishing there were if only to relieve the tension Alexander begins building early in the book.

This book should be nominated for awards as one of the outstanding books of 2011.

Devil In Disguise
by Robin Alexander
Intaglio Publications
Paperback, 9781935216261, 236pp.
May 2011