||May 1 2003
What would you do...
if someone you didn't know started destroying your life?
How would you react...
to being falsely accused of complicity in a double homicide?
What if your reputation was ruined...
and your career jeopardized by circumstances beyond your control?
How helpless would you feel...
if a ruthless killer stalked a loved one...
while you remained confined in jail - an innocent victim?
Welcome to Derek Dunbar's reality.
Sara, his ancient guilt-ridden tormentor, believes that redemption from her unspeakable sin of long-ago lies in the conquest of humankind.
Unknown to Derek, he possesses psychic powers that Sara desperately needs. Tearing him down and luring Derek to her lair is critical to accomplishing Sara's perverse agenda.
This fast paced supernatural thriller involves Derek's quest to unravel the mystery behind his own existence and to uncover the identity of the malevolent stranger.
Is it Sara, or is it really himself?
Barnes & Noble.com
Stranger The Novel
Derek braced himself for a reaction, imagining it to be rough and harsh like the exigent voice from his dreams. He tensed in expectation of the demon about to rip into his mind. Instead, the sound of wind chimes tinkled in his ears. A cool, refreshing breeze licked at Derek's face enticing him to relax just long enough to allow his eyes to enjoy a moment of relief as their lids gently closed over them.
"That's odd, there's nothing cool about this place, and I don't remember wind chimes," he mumbled to himself. An emotion that Derek never before sensed welled up inside of him, an extraordinary feeling of well-being and calm. Opening his eyes, Derek felt moisture tracking down his cheeks.
"Tears?" he wondered while shaking his head with incredulity. "Are they washing away my fear?"
Derek's anguish lifted, accompanied by a sudden weariness coaxing his return to bed. The afterglow resulting from the experience left him with renewed clarity.
"She is east of here, I'm sure of it now," Derek whispered. His last rumination before lapsing into a much-needed slumber was, "That was a gentle caress. Is Sara really an evil spirit hiding behind the light, or is she actually an angel?"
As sleep enveloped him, a tiny voice from within provided a third possibility, "Maybe both."
High Concept Thriller
STRANGER is definitely not your typical mindless, take-it-to-the-beach, trashy tome. Classified as a "supernatural thriller" on the back jacket, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that Dennis Royer's novel is so much more. This suspenseful fantasy tale has it all - love, sex, murder, mayhem, deceit, and treachery, all wrapped up with two very "special" characters - Derek and Sara.
What makes them so special? This goes to the very core of the plot, and the reason for my labeling this work as a "High Concept Thriller." The explanation behind the existence of Derek and Sara is absolutely fresh and totally unexpected. Character development, especially that of antagonist, Sara, is masterful. Royer flawlessly unfolds her life story against the backdrop of actual historical events. Derek's journey of self-discovery is equally engaging.
While reading, I was concerned with where all of this might be leading, but not to worry, Royer delivers with a spectacular climax!
STRANGER is stunning! I want more of this, Mr. Royer, I want more!
Deb Bowersox, AllReaders.Com
As a reviewer, I was initially concerned with Dennis Royer’s Stranger being classified as a “supernatural thriller.” The world is not large enough for yet another vampire-witch-demon saga. Happily, my concern was unfounded. Stranger is a remarkable tale of two inimitable characters, Derek and Sara, yoked together via a common heritage. Their supernatural secret derives from pre-Noachian legend and is conceptually unique.
The plot unfolds as protagonist Derek Dunbar struggles, trying to understand why he is “above them all, a stranger among humankind.” With an unknown father and a mother who died during childbirth, nobody exists to provide Derek with the answers that he desperately seeks. An intricate scheme to destroy his reputation and kill his lover further complicates Derek’s life.
Sara’s tale is related in alternating chapters. Initially set against the backdrop of ancient Jerusalem, her story is far more fascinating than that of modern day Derek. At first, I despised her character, but then, as the chapters wore on, I developed pathos for her. Near the end, I realized that this reaction was clearly the intent of the author, as this represents the same evolution of Derek’s feelings toward her. In this manner, Royer’s characterization of Sara is masterful.
I do feel that the story’s climax could have come sooner. The author used too many devices in his attempt to get the two characters together, and he could probably have cut at least a hundred of the book’s 379 pages. Nevertheless, Stranger is a pleasurable read, a book that I recommend to those who enjoy this genre.
Jim Perez, NewBookReviews.com
A Fresh, Compelling Adventure
Stranger is the story of Derek Dunbar’s introspection into why he feels different from everyone else. The external conflict is provided by Sara, an ancient being, bent on forcing Derek into her world by destroying the normalcy in his life. Without giving away the details, the secret of Derek and Sara is based on a little known Biblical legend rarely exposed in modern fiction. The author’s exploration of this concept provides the reader with a fresh, compelling adventure.
To clarify, Stranger is definitely not a religious novel. The plot is dotted with graphic scenes depicting sex and violence, although not gratuitously. These racy incidents fit well and are purposeful in advancing the story line.
This book is great fodder for English Literature classes where professors gleefully dissect plot elements exposing metaphors and looking for parallel themes. As a result, I don’t know how well it will work for the weekend reader expecting casual entertainment. For example, dream sequences expose hidden clues that are easily missed if glossed over. The book would be more reader friendly had the author devised an alternative means of working key information into the story.
On the other hand, if you are fan of thought provoking, abstruse literary fiction, then Stranger provides the exact stimulation required for an exciting, satisfying read.
Clive Arkin, BookMuse.com
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