All posts tagged: psychological suspense

IN DEAR CHILD, a woman and her children escape their captor, but can they ever really be free? Plus a writing prompt

By Leslie Lindsay  Darkly disturbing psychological thriller about a woman’s kidnapping and the aftereffects. ~WRITE ON WEDNESDAY|ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~ Bustle Best Books of Fall 2020Publishers Weekly Top 10 Mysteries & Thrillers of Fall 2020She Reads Most Anticipated Books of Fall 2020 I loved ROOM (Emma Donoghue) and GONE GIRL (Gillian Flynn) and so when I heard DEAR CHILD (Romy Hausmann, October 6 2020 Flatiron Books) was being compared to BOTH of those books, I knew I had to get my hands on it asap. A woman flees her windowless shack in the woods, where she and her two children, Hannah and Johnathan, have lived in secret under the rule of a twisted man. Together, Lena and her daughter, Hannah, are in a hit-and-run car accident (though no causalities) in a rare opportunity to escape, found by the local authorities and taken to the hospital. Here is where DEAR CHILD starts, at the hospital, after the fact. Meanwhile, Matthias Beck has been tirelessly searching for his daughter for nearly fourteen years since her disappearance. He’s run into roadblocks and naysayers, including, at times, …

Twists, turns, and toxicity: THE END OF HER is wicked good, a dark escape into brilliantly actualized characters, plus who Shari Lapena would cast *if* it were adapted into a movie

By Leslie Lindsay Deliciously dark and deceptive, the most awry characters, set in a bucolic suburban setting in Shari Lapena’s new thriller, THE END OF HER.  ~WEDNESDAYS WITH WRITERS| ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~ #1 Internationally Bestselling Author Shari Lapena, the author of last summer’s propulsive thriller, SOMEONE WE KNOW returns to the bucolic town of Aylesford, nestled in New York’s Hudson Valley. Here, in THE END OF HER (Penguin/Pamela Dorman Books, July 28 2020),  we meet Stephanie Kilgour, a young woman who seemingly has it all: A beautiful home; a loving architect husband, and twin baby girls. But she’s exhausted. The babies are only four months old and colicky. Stephanie is unraveling. Fatigue and new motherhood is taking it’s toll. Her husband, Patrick, does what he can, but work is intense. And then, a woman from his past shows up unexpectedly. He’s flabbergasted and terrified. Secrets surface. The woman, Erika, is insidious, weaving her way into Stephanie’s life, Patrick’s partner’s bed, and more. THE END OF HER is deliciously deceptive, full of twists and turns, …

Carol Goodman’s newest THE SEA OF LOST GIRLS about deception, moody teens, a mysterious death, and so much more, set against the backdrop of an elite prep school

By Leslie Lindsay  ~Weekend Reading Spotlight|Always with a Book~ CAROL GOODMAN is the 2018 recipient of the Mary Higgins Clark Award from the Mystery Writers of America for The Widow’s House.  She’s nominated for the award again in 2020 for her most recent novel, The Night Visitors. And years ago, I was completely enamored with boarding schools thanks to THE LAKE OF DEAD LANGUAGES. Now, THE SEA OF LOST GIRLS (WilliamMorrow, March 3, 2020; Trade Paperback Original) Goodman uses her adroit storytelling to bring a simmering new work of psychological suspense, in which one woman’s carefully hidden past might destroy her future—all set against the backdrop of a prestigious prep school with its own dark secrets hidden among the ivy.     “Carol Goodman is a superb writer, and she explores family and small-town dynamics in a way that’s both suspenseful and touchingly real. THE SEA OF LOST GIRLS features a fascinating cast of characters, intriguing setting—and enough shocking twists to leave you breathless. I loved it.” — Alison Gaylin, Edgar Award-winning author of Never Look Back Tess has worked hard to keep her …

Debut author Lauren North talks about her early inklings for THE PERFECT SON (hint: isolation), how her background in psychology helps with writing, the house that inspired Tess’s and more

By Leslie Lindsay  Grief and despair wrapped under the guise of a psychological thriller fraught with emotions, disbelief, and empathy.  When Tess Clarke wakes in a hospital room she knows three things: 1) She’s been stabbed 2) Her husband is dead 3) Her son is missing. But the rest of it is buried under the fog of Tess’s mind.  THE PERFECT SON (Berkley August 13) starts with Tess in the hospital and sort of works backward in time, allowing readers to piece together their own theories. I am so impressed that this is a debut for author Lauren North. A bit about the plot: After Tess’s husband, Mark dies suddenly in a tragic accident, a few months earlier, the only thing keeping her together is their son, Jamie. And now he’s missing. To save him, Tess must piece together what happened between Mark’s death and Jamie’s disappearance. Plus, there are some ‘shady’ characters with ulterior motives Tess must grapple with. The structure of the story is what I found especially compelling. There’s a bit of a countdown to Tess’s …

THE HEART KEEPER came to Alex Dahl ‘very insistently,’ about cell memory, organ donation, the lengths a grieving mother will go to reconnect; plus her experiences abroad and a fabulous reading list

By Leslie Lindsay Delightfully dark tale about two mothers and one little girl; about anger, grief, sadness, and more as the after-effects of organ donation.  THE HEART KEEPER (Berkley, July 16 2019) is a raw, gut-wrenching read from critically acclaimed thriller writer, Alex Dahl (THE BOY AT THE DOOR, 2018). This harrowingly, gritty read follows a grief-stricken mother who is desperately trying to seek a way to overcome the pain of losing her beloved only child, Amalie, who drowned. Alison becomes disturbingly fixated on a the life of a small girl who becomes the donor recipient of her daughter’s heart. She feels she can reconnect with her own daughter by becoming close to this little girl. On the surface, Alison is an affluent middle-aged mother (to step-son), Oliver, and appears to have it all together–gleaming luxury SUV and attractive husband, nice home. But she doesn’t have her daughter. She would do anything to get her back. We fall down a grim hole of mysterious interest and sinister intentions. Grief is a strange thing–it will cause even the most ‘typical’ person to come …

Wednesdays with Writers: Lori Rader-Day talks about her summer plans to teach at distinguished writing institutions, her latest book, THE DAY I DIED, and how it got it’s start at a writer’s workshop nearly 10 years ago, handwriting analysis, what she loves (and hates) about being a novelist and so much more

By Leslie Lindsay  THE DAY I DIED explores the fascinating and unique aspects of handwriting analysis to help track down a killer/kidnapper told in a dark, glimmering prose.  Lori Rader-Day burst onto the literary scene in 2014 with her debut mystery, THE BLACK HOUR, which won the Anthony Award for Best First Novel and was a finalist for the Mary Higgins Clark Award. And then her second book, LITTLE PRETTY THINGS, won the Mary Higgins Clark award and was named a 2015 “most arresting crime novel” by the notoriously cranky Kirkus Reviews. That’s nothing to sneeze at. Now, with a new publisher, William Morrow, Lori returns with THE DAY I DIED (April 11, 2017), an unforgettable tale o f a mother’s search for a lost boy. Anna Winger is on the run. We know she has secrets, but what exactly are they? This is part of mystery #1. The second is that there’s a 2-year-old boy missing from the town in which she and her 13 -year-old son are currently living. The sheriff calls her in, …

Write On, Wednesday: NYTimes Notable Author Emily Arsenault talks about THE EVENING SPIDER, motherhood in the 19th century, living in old houses, ghosts, and more

By Leslie Lindsay  A fascinating and gripping blend of psychological drama and historical true crime fiction from the late 1800s and inspired by a real-life murder on the east coast, THE EVENING SPIDER melds two young mother’s lives in this suspenseful ghostly tale by New York Times notable author Emily Arsenault. Told alternatively via (fictional) diary/journal entries and actual newspaper clippings from the 1800s and through a contemporary first person POV of young motherhood, THE EVENING SPIRDER is a suspenseful historical read. Could the house have something to do with the fact that both of these young mothers seem to be losing their mind, or could it be other, unresolved secrets harboring in the house, or the residents themselves? I am absolutely honored to have Emily with us today. Leslie Lindsay: Emily, thanks for popping over today. As a person who is very intrigued with old houses, motherhood, and madness, THE EVENING SPIDER was right up my alley. What inspired you to write this story? Emily Arsenault: The initial spark was an experience I had …