☆☆➹⁀☆ 4 stars ☆➹⁀☆☆
About the Book:
When Fern Douglas sees the news about Astrid Sullivan, a thirty-four-year-old missing woman from Maine, she is positive that she knows her. Fern’s husband is sure it’s because of Astrid’s famous kidnapping—and equally famous return—twenty years ago, but Fern has no memory of that, even though it happened an hour outside her New Hampshire hometown. And when Astrid appears in Fern’s recurring nightmare, one in which a girl reaches out to her, pleading, Fern fears that it’s not a dream at all, but a memory.
Back at her childhood home to help her father pack for a move, Fern purchases a copy of Astrid’s recently published memoir, which the media speculates has provoked her original kidnapper to abduct her again. With the help of her psychologist father, Fern digs deeper, hoping to find evidence that her connection to Astrid can help the police locate her. But when Fern discovers more about her own past than she ever bargained for, the disturbing truth will change both of the women’s lives forever.
Exploring the murkiest realms of the human psyche and featuring Megan Collins’s signature “dark, tense, and completely absorbing” (Booklist) prose, Behind the Red Door is an arresting, heart-stopping psychological thriller that will haunt you long after you turn the last page.
I fell in love Megan Collins’ writing when I read her debut novel The Winter Sisters. Her second book, Behind the Red Door, is equal in its storytelling.
This book is intense! The pace and plot are enthralling. The unreliable narrators and flawed characters make for a psychological thriller that you cannot put down. I felt the weight of the dread and paranoia of the main character, Fern.
There are so many broken, damaged characters, and their abusive background is not necessarily physical. I loved the imagery and analogy of Fern’s mom creating art from fragments of broken items where they have landed. How could you not love the literary message behind her art entitled “Exquisite Fragments”!?!
Fern, whose decision to become a social worker stems from her fragility and her past as an adoptee, has a rather delicate disposition. Her path towards finding herself and establishing some personal strength comes through her steps to save Astrid, a woman whose memoir about being abducted has led to her re-abduction and that has led to Fern’s shattered memories and dreams.
Ms. Collins’ story premise and characters are fabulous. Whether an antagonist or a protagonist, the characters are very compelling. The plot is well paced, and the story layout is made more interesting with excerpts from one character’s memoir. Behind the Red Door is an intense psychological thriller that is thought provoking filled with twists and big reveals.
About the Author: Megan Collins is the author of The Winter Sister and Behind the Red Door. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Boston University. She has taught creative writing at the Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts and Central Connecticut State University, and she is the managing editor of 3Elements Review. A Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominee, her work has appeared in many print and online journals, including Off the Coast, Spillway, Tinderbox Poetry Journal, and Rattle. She lives in Connecticut.
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