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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 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.

Review

“Beneath the brutality in this suspenseful thriller lie bone-deep fear and a genuine concern for justice.” Kirkus Reviews

“Outstanding…This powerful family-values thriller is a convincing, moving performance.” Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“This second in the Rachel Marin series maintains the promise of the first (Hide Away, 2020), with full-bodied characters in a compelling plot and graphic elements leavened by doses of humanity.” Booklist (starred review)

“Pinter’s strong depictions of diverse types of love, respect, and loyalty resonate loudly in this nail-biter novel.” Library Journal

“A superb psychological thriller…A Stranger at the Door both challenges our sensibilities and fuels our emotions, a rare combination for a thriller indeed.” Providence Journal

“Outstanding…[Jason Pinter] delves deep into his characters while creating credible, realistic suspense and terror…Strong plotting, sharp dialogue and believable characters elevate A Stranger at the Door.” Sun Sentinel

“A superb sequel…Jason Pinter’s A Stranger at the Door is a fast-paced, suspense mystery with a ton of emotional drama.” —Gumshoe Review

“Jason Pinter dazzles with a protagonist whose past is anything but clear in this electrifying sequel to his newest series.” Mystery & Suspense Magazine

A Stranger at the Door by Jason Pinter is a simply riveting read from cover to cover and will prove to be an extraordinary and popular addition to community library Mystery/Suspense collections.” —Midwest Book Review

“A gripping suspense thriller that never lets up the pace.” Writers & Readers Magazine

“A thrilling page-turner, A Stranger at the Door is a fully fleshed-out story that questions the meaning of justice. Fulfilling the promise of this sophomore release, readers will eagerly anticipate more of Rachel Marin’s developing story.” Mountain Times

“[Pinter] 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…A thriller that is impossible to put down.” —The Nerd Daily

A Stranger at the Door is a solid read, and Rachel Marin is tough to root against even when she frustrates at every turn by often becoming her own worst enemy.” —Bookreporter

“An absolutely riveting read from first page to last.” The Strand Magazine

A Stranger at the Door is a worthy successor to Hide Away in the Rachel Marin series. Chilling and suspenseful, a page turner in the best sense.” —William Landay, New York Times bestselling author of Defending Jacob

About the Author

Jason Pinter is the bestselling author of seven novels for adults―Hide Away, the first Rachel Marin Thriller, the acclaimed Henry Parker series (The Mark, The Guilty, The Stolen, The Fury, and The Darkness), and the stand-alone thriller The Castle, as well as the middle-grade adventure novel Zeke Bartholomew: SuperSpy! and the children’s book Miracle. His books have over one million copies in print worldwide. He has been nominated for numerous awards, including the Thriller Award, Strand Critics Award, Barry Award, and Shamus Award, and The Mark was optioned to be a feature film.

Pinter is the founder of Polis Books, an independent press, and was honored by Publishers Weekly’s Star Watch, which “recognizes young publishing professionals who have distinguished themselves as future leaders of the industry.” He has written for the New Republic, Entrepreneur, the Daily Beast, Esquire, and more. He lives in New Jersey with his wife and their two daughters. Visit him at www.JasonPinter.com, and follow him on Twitter and Instagram @JasonPinter.

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4.4 out of 54.4 out of 5
1,878 global ratings

Top reviews from the United States

H. Bala
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Rachel Marin is back in action. Sadie Scout couldn''t have done any better
Reviewed in the United States on January 14, 2021
Catching up to Rachel Marin (not her real name). Rachel has settled into a good life(ish) in Ashby, Illinois. For the past six months, she''s been dating Ashby police detective John Serrano. The investigative skills she''d exhibited in her pursuit of the mayor''s killer (see... See more
Catching up to Rachel Marin (not her real name). Rachel has settled into a good life(ish) in Ashby, Illinois. For the past six months, she''s been dating Ashby police detective John Serrano. The investigative skills she''d exhibited in her pursuit of the mayor''s killer (see HIDE AWAY) had impressed Ashby PD enough that, now, Rachel works for them as a freelance forensics consultant.

Maybe some plot spoilers.

Why the ish? Because author Jason Pinter isn''t happy until he''s putting his characters thru the wringer. Rachel has two kids whom she''s fiercely protective of. The youngest, seven-year-old Megan, is thriving. It''s her fourteen-year-old, Eric, that Rachel''s worried about. Eric has retreated back to his guarded shell, and Rachel can''t seem to get thru to him.

Things worsen when Eric''s social studies teacher is murdered. I won''t get into gory details, but one character does say that the victim "got killed like he moved into the wrong house in a Stephen King novel."

The vic''s having been her son''s social studies teacher may not have been enough to get Rachel really invested with the homicide case. But the guy emailed Rachel right before he got bumped off.

For years, Rachel has battled her demons. This book tells of what happens when her past comes calling.

A STRANGER AT THE DOOR was one of my most anticipated books for this year, but did it live up to my lofty expectations? Yes and no. Jason Pinter''s excellent writing in this series keeps trying to persuade me to pick his other novels, and I''m close to caving in. This sequel carries on the great character work from HIDEAWAY. Little Megan is adorable and seems to be a budding writer. I''m fascinated by the family dynamics of Serrano''s gay partner, Detective Leslie Tally. I loved reading about how happy it made Tally to receive the birthday mug from her significant other''s kids.

One constant tug-of-war is the tricky relationship that develops between Rachel and Serrano over the homicide case. I''m guessing in those earlier cases that Rachel had consulted on, she was able to remain strictly professional and detached. But there''s no way that Rachel, whose default disposition seems to be howling paranoia, could ever be impartial when the case drags in one of her kids.

It''s hard for Rachel to trust when the stakes are this high. She doesn''t trust the police to do a better investigative job than she, not when she can ferret out information thru less legal means. Personally, I''m ecstatic that our girl hadn''t abandoned her vigilante ways. My favorite version of Rachel Marin is the no-fukcs-given version that operates outside the law. You can see how, for a career cop like Serrano, his girlfriend''s extracurricular activities could dampen a romance.

One of Rachel''s character flaws is she sometimes allows her fears for her children to blind her, and she doesn''t think things thru. This book finds her making poor choices and taking dumb risks that end up impeding the case.

Flaws and all, I really like how Rachel is written. And there''s that frisson of satisfaction that I always get whenever Rachel arrives at the crime scene and immediately starts tossing out Sherlock Holmes-type deductions.

What I didn''t like about the book? Yeah, there were bits in the narrative that felt draggy. I didn''t care about the subplot with the ponzi scheme. And I''m just not into that whole angry teenaged angst. Those chapters narrated from Eric''s perspective, I could''ve done with less of those. In fact, I''d swap Eric''s chapters for excerpts of the Sadie Scout stories his little sister had written.
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Pisces51
3.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
YEP, DISAPPOINTED AND WON’T BE BACK IF THERE IS A THIRD INSTALLMENT!!!
Reviewed in the United States on April 14, 2021
A STRANGER AT THE DOOR [2021] (Rachel Marin Book 2) By Jason Pinter My Review Three Stars*** This book is the sequel to the author’s popular HIDE AWAY from last year that featured the unconventional heroine, Rachel Marin. I had enjoyed the debut novel quite... See more
A STRANGER AT THE DOOR [2021] (Rachel Marin Book 2) By Jason Pinter
My Review Three Stars***

This book is the sequel to the author’s popular HIDE AWAY from last year that featured the unconventional heroine, Rachel Marin. I had enjoyed the debut novel quite a bit and was unhesitant about buying the follow up novel.

The title “Stranger At The Door” refers to the merciless psychopath who stood behind a familiar face at murder victim Linklater’s door. He checked to see who was there before disengaging the lock, relieved to see a face who posed no threat, never dreaming he was going to face a hidden unseen stranger who would bring him an agonizing death beyond the scope of his imagination.

The book starts strong with a horrific homicide that initially baffles authorities. That said, the storyline consisted of not only a complex plot but a convoluted and mostly implausible one. Ashby is what one could say “off the beaten path” and once again a writer finds himself trying to provide a believable, rational reason that tragedy could strike twice against betting odds against it. In this instance he tries to bridge the credibility gap by tying the tales together with the common denominator of Rachel’s mentor Myra who was a factor in her life before she relocated to Ashby.

The narrative involves a high visibility self-proclaimed philanthropist (if not savior) of underprivileged young boys in horrible home situations. However, he crosses paths with a pair of psychopathic brothers and the ostensibly honest businessman (if not shadily creative within legal boundaries) feels that what they can bring to the table can be tolerated and controlled despite some illegalities that are involved. The reader knows right away that isn’t a rational perspective when dealing with bloodthirsty killers who have no rules or consciences. Both the beneficiaries and the victims are young teenage boys in this disturbing if not hard to believe scenario.

As a reader, I wasn’t gripped by the plot, and although I did like the fact that Rachel’s self-defense coach and more or less mentor Myra resurfaced in the sequel it wasn’t enough. This was especially true when Rachel had to lament the safety of her son with practically every sentence in the narrative. Likewise, “Myra’s” strings were being pulled by the bad guys to keep her brother and yes, teenage son, safe from harm. It isn’t that I don’t like kids. However, the prose become overpoweringly saccharin and too much to take after a while.

Then there was another aspect that disappointed me, and that was the author’s change in clean, concise story telling about Rachel Marin’s predicament with some adrenaline laced action from the heroine. Instead, there was more foul language, and although the fact that she became close with Serrano was hardly a surprise, the expressive sex scenes were unnecessary and a complete turn off.

Finally, there was Rachel’s stupidity exhibited (such as when she was tailing her son), and then the completely inept fight she waged with the main villain at the end. Finally, a rusty pitchfork will not penetrate through a person’s body (well unless it was driven through by a tornado) and a woman (or man) who has been shot and darn near bled out will not be able to get up off the blood-soaked ground and kick butt. In fact, it is a stone miracle if the person lives and has the retained brain function to add 2 + 2. Another thing is this misconception and argumentative arrogance that Rachel pounds Serrano and Tally over the head with when they come to arrest an albeit unwilling accomplice to murder. Being a mother to Rachel means a perpetual “get out of jail free card” for any and all acts including facilitating a man’s agonizing torture and horrific murder.
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Avonna
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Another Fast-Paced Thriller!
Reviewed in the United States on February 9, 2021
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... See more
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!
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E.Snurd
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Rachel Marin is an original character - good series. 2 good entries.
Reviewed in the United States on May 13, 2021
his is the strong second entry in the Rachel Marin series. DO read the first, "Hide Away" before you read this! In "Hide Away", Rachel, a brilliant mother of two, recalls what she did after her husband''s gory murder and the ongoing danger to her family. To protect them she... See more
his is the strong second entry in the Rachel Marin series. DO read the first, "Hide Away" before you read this! In "Hide Away", Rachel, a brilliant mother of two, recalls what she did after her husband''s gory murder and the ongoing danger to her family. To protect them she learned extreme self-defense, set up a house in a new city, with new names and a powerful security system, complete with an escape room. "Hide Away''s" mystery involves the death of a former mayor in her new city, with Rachel risking her anonymity when she is convinced that this woman did not commit suicide. By the end of the novel (not really a spoiler!) Rachel is involved with the complicated Detective Serrano and the police recognize they have a very useful consultant in Rachel. In the second book, "A Stranger at the Door," a teacher is murdered, shortly after he emailed Rachel seeking help with an issue relating to one of his students. He thinks her special skills might help. Soon after this, Rachel''s older child, Eric, a troubled loner who spends his life gaming and reading science fiction, is targeted by a businessman who uses vulnerable high school boys to carry out some work that might be sketchy or might be a genuine opportunity. A friend from her former life shows up. She recommended the new city to Rachel, but her return to Rachel''s life comes with a not so veiled threat to stay away from the murder investigation. Eric is rebelling and turning off his GPS as he roams about and comes home late. The businessman takes out a restraining order against Rachel after she confronts him in his well-secured office and, kind of, well, okay, she threatens him if he does not leave her son alone. What I like about Pinter''s writing is that he shows us the work and experiences that went into making his heroes and his villains. And that while we may have a dominant side between good and evil, we are all a mix, and what we do with that has consequences. He also shows that people can grow and learn and be better. But he does not sugarcoat this by making everything work out for everyone. The plot is well integrated and, while the clues are there, the red herrings are convincing and the tangles challenging. There is significant violence, so if you prefer cozies or tamer procedurals, stay away. There are also sweet scenes of family life, with Rachel''s little daughter Megan, a mystery writer at age seven or so, and a budding love match between Penny and Eric. Penny is Serrano''s partner Tally''s daughter. They are family friends and fun characters as a lesbian couple raising Tally''s child from a former marriage. The town itself is a character in both novels, with well-drawn sketches of streets, residents, its police force, neighboring town rivalries, and unexpected motivations from various characters. Me? I''m going back to read Pinter''s prior series!
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Cinda Lu
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A psychological thriller with a loving family included
Reviewed in the United States on March 6, 2021
My first thought was to write "wow". You must read book 1 first to understand the character development. Evie, Rachel, her kids and detectives Tally and Serrano are complex characters who have many internal battles they fight in their daily lives. The plot is easily... See more
My first thought was to write "wow". You must read book 1 first to understand the character development. Evie, Rachel, her kids and detectives Tally and Serrano are complex characters who have many internal battles they fight in their daily lives. The plot is easily followed even tho at times I struggle going from the present to the past back to the present. The criminals in this book are gruesome so be forewarned. There are many surprises on who is saving who and how far a parent will go to protect their children. You won''t be disappointed if you like murder mysteries and some gruesome ways to die. I look forward to the the next book.
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Sarah
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
One of the best series I''ve read. Really!
Reviewed in the United States on January 19, 2021
I read A LOT of mystery fiction books and so far this series is one of my favorites. The characters are really unique, so is the story / backstory. Plus I love that I can''t ever predict how they will act and where the story will go. Suspenseful, surprising, funny, and... See more
I read A LOT of mystery fiction books and so far this series is one of my favorites. The characters are really unique, so is the story / backstory. Plus I love that I can''t ever predict how they will act and where the story will go. Suspenseful, surprising, funny, and relatable too. Lots of plot twists and many levels to the stor/characters, all intertwined perfectly...is one a book (both in the series so far) I lost sleep over, and don''t regret it. I cannot recommend this series highly enough!
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Kindle Customer
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Sensational thriller!
Reviewed in the United States on September 5, 2021
Wow! It’s been awhile since i could actually write a headline like that! So many books have several critics and other writers claiming this book is sensational only to be disappointed. But, not this one! Mothers protecting their children is the oldest thriller written, and... See more
Wow! It’s been awhile since i could actually write a headline like that! So many books have several critics and other writers claiming this book is sensational only to be disappointed. But, not this one! Mothers protecting their children is the oldest thriller written, and this one comes into a new generation of women who are tough and dangerous because the world made them this way! Nobody will be disappointed reading this series!
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John Bowes
3.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Don''t answer it
Reviewed in the United States on January 18, 2021
Too much talk. Not enough action. Overthinking everything. It will be hard to come back for another chapter. See ya.
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Top reviews from other countries

Kaffmatt
2.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Ok but not as good as the first book in series
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on February 26, 2021
This is certainly readable but doesn’t live up to the promise that the first book in the series gave. The problems that I found were—the actual plot was too nebulous towards the end— and the previously carefully described main character of Rachael Marin was somewhat lost;...See more
This is certainly readable but doesn’t live up to the promise that the first book in the series gave. The problems that I found were—the actual plot was too nebulous towards the end— and the previously carefully described main character of Rachael Marin was somewhat lost; her abilities of criminal profiling and reading a crime scene disappeared into a cloud of motherly angst. With regards to the build up to the finale I felt the author kept changing his mind as to who the perpetrator should be. An ok book but disappointing that the quirkiness/cleverness of Rachael is downplayed and replaced with a vengeful, violent clone.
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Norma Hoyland
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Love these books
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on February 28, 2021
I was so impressed with the 1st one I had to buy the second, fantastic writing, made me feel as though I was watching a film, great characters, great dialogue, can’t wait for the next one
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Mark Jenkins
3.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Not a patch on the first book
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 16, 2021
Implausible plot line, poorly developed characters particularly the villians. Dialogue clunky particularly near the end in a hospital scene that went on forever.Sorry won''t be returning. I assume the original serial killer will reappear at somed point.
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M. A. Balchin
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Good reading
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on February 9, 2021
I enjoyed Rachel Marin sequel, but not as much as the first. My 4 star rating is based on that
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Mr Toad
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Another Good Read
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on February 1, 2021
Another Good Read - not quite sure where the author will go next so as not to repeat the plot theme.
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popular A Stranger at online new arrival the Door (A Rachel Marin Thriller, 2) sale

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