The Stranger Within (D.I. Denis Hamilton #4) by Tara Lyons

KK Conley Review:

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This is the first book I’ve read by this author, but it won’t be the last.

While the fourth in a series, it works as a standalone novel. There are not the usual references to previous cases. (If there are, they are seamless enough to be transparent.) The end does not have a cliffhanger for the next book. I’ve seen too many of those lately.

The story is set in England and begins with a grisly murder. The murder is solved within the first couple of chapters. That was unexpected. It took me into the next chapter to realize that the author wrote to the structure of establishing the “normal” world of the protagonist, D.I. Denis Hamilton, and his team.

The first case introduces the major members of the police team and gives a feel for their personalities and working relationships. It also has clues for the upcoming case when Fraser, “computer wizard of a sergeant,” receives a bouquet of rotten flowers.

The second case moves to a hospital facility where mentally ill convicted criminals are treated in a relatively low security environment. A patient with multiple personalities, called dissociative identity disorder, killed an orderly and escaped. Hamilton refers to the facility as a joke because the criminals are referred to as patients, and treated as though they have no committed heinous crimes. Now the hunt begins for the escaped killer who has murdered seven people.

At this point, the author intersperses scenes of sexual abuse from a thirteen-year-old girl’s point of view. The scenes are well done: they are horrifying without becoming too graphic. It doesn’t take much speculation to understand that this sexual abuse is the event that caused the victim/killer’s personality to split into multiple characters of various ages, with the dominant one a  murderer.

The writer develops the major personalities well, and the makes the serial killer an almost sympathetic character, even though she kidnaps Fraser with the intent of killing her.

The last half of the book raises the escalates tension right up to the final scene as Hamilton and his team search for their coworker.

The book is well written and has introduced me to another good author.

Booklist Online Review:

Not available

Amazon Description & Rating:

“a riveting storyline that keeps you guessing all the way through.” Best-selling author, Tara Lyons is back with a crime thriller you do not want to miss.

Torn away from his family life, DI Denis Hamilton is urgently called into a briefing in the early hours of his weekend off. He must unravel an investigation he thought had long closed.

Putting his personal worries to one side, Hamilton and his Murder Investigation Team come up against a patient with a mental disorder hell-bent on revenge.

Comparing the present day with memories of his tragic past, can Hamilton open his mind to the difficulties of mental illness in order to catch a murderer?

And when a colleague’s life is threatened, can Hamilton unlock the truth of the stranger within before it’s too late?

4.5 Stars out of 5.0

Goodreads Rating:

4.46 Stars out of 5.00

The author has an overall rating of 4.02 Stars out of 5.00

Author’s Description:

Same as Amazon.

Book Trailer:

Not available


  • “Loved this book!! Catches you from the first sentence and keeps you gripped right to the very end” Heather Beagrie – Reviewer
  • “left me wanting more – A tension fuelled read”  Alexina Golding – Bookstormer
  • “Fantastic book, fast-paced gripping read. Hamilton and his team are a great bunch of characters” Craig Gillan  – Reviewer
  • “A tense story that will take your breath away” Sarah Hodgson – Reviewer
  • “This could possibly be the best story yet. Gripping, thrilling and a real page-turner.”Gemma Myers – Between The Pages Book Club 
  • “Plenty of shockers to keep me turning the pages as fast as my eyes would let me.” Claire Knight – A Knight’s Reads
  • “The Stranger Within is a breathtakingly tense and fast-paced thriller that left me feeling like I’d lost a friend as I read the final words.” Neats Wilson – The Haphazardous Hippo
  • “With a contemporary feel, great characterisation and a gripping storyline The Stranger Within proved to be an addictive read to the very last page.” Joanne Robertson – My Chestnut Reading Tree
  • “Tara Lyons has certainly got her feet firmly placed in this genre, with this book being my favourite so far.” Susan Hampson – Books From Dusk Till Dawn
  • “The writing style was excellent and the flow was good.” Donna Maguire – Donnas Book Blog