New Book – Perfect Strangers by Tasmina Perry (Pages 1-50)

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This new book starts in a prison.

Someone who remains anonymous used to be a big shot in Wall Street, and I think he also appeared on TV regularly. We don’t know what he has done to end up in jail, but I have the impression it has to do with finances. There is someone in prison he fears, a Russian thug by the name of Uri. Apparently, he and our unnamed man made a deal. Uri would protect him from all the men in prison and all those who wanted dead outside, and in exchange the man would pay him generously. Now Uri wants his money right away, and when our man tells him he needs to make a phone calls and it will take a while, we learn at the end of the prologue that he is found dead in the yard.

Then the novel introduces us to a few characters. There is Sophie, whose father has died of a heart attack. Sophie’s family was quite wealthy, but her father lost all their money when he invested it in some Ponzi scheme. I wonder if the person who got him in this fraudulent scheme could be the man who died in jail in the prologue. Sophie’s life changed when her father lost their money, and even her boyfriend broke up with her some months later. She still has her friends, but it is clear that Sophie feels things are not the same. Now after her father’s funeral she tries to talk her mother into selling the big house. Sophie herself lives in a small studio, and her obsession now is to earn some money.

We know that she dropped out of university to get into modelling, a career that didn’t work as she wasn’t photogenic, and she had a few other ventures which didn’t end up well. Now the only job she has is to work one day a week at a gym in exchange of the use of the gym facilities. Sophie feels happier when she is working out, and as she is exercising one day in the gym, she gets to talk and help a lady. Before she knows what is happening, the woman takes her for a personal trainer and offers her a job, and Sophie can only accept. Lana, the woman, is rich and pays her good money, but Sophie knows she needs to get qualified, which is what she will do while Lana is away on holiday. Also, Lana has asked her to house-sit for her, so Sophie is to stay in the woman’s gorgeous house for one whole month.

Apart from Sophie, we get to know Ruth Boden, an American journalist working in London. At a meeting with her boss she was told that the newspaper was cutting losses, so she can’t keep the job. What the man offers her is a position that someone else Jim already has. So Jim and Ruth are going to compete for the position, and the loser will be transferred to Shanghai. Ruth is not happy, especially as she is having problems with Jim, who naturally throws hurdles on her way whenever she comes up with a good story. Ruth is investigating a series of important men who were caught out with prostitutes, and Ruth has found a link there. The prostitutes come from the same town, and Ruth thinks that maybe someone set them up for some reason. Jim discarded her story right away, but Ruth’s boyfriend David tells her that she should carry on and do her investigation on the sly. I think he is right. Jim clearly is out there to boycott her efforts since he is her superior, so Ruth needs to look out for herself and do what she thinks is right to keep her job.

I imagine that all these characters will come together at some point. I have the hunch that Sophie’s father was tricked out of his money by the man who died in jail. And I imagine that at some point Ruth will investigate that case and his death. Maybe what she is looking into right now will lead her to Sophie and her father.

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