Friday, July 31, 2020

Blog Tour & Review: Behind the Red Door by Megan Collins

Title: Behind the Red Door
Author: Megan Collins
Published: August 2020, Atria Books
Format: ARC E-copy, 320 pages
Source: Netgalley via Publisher

The author of the “suspenseful, atmospheric, and completely riveting” (Megan Miranda, New York Times bestselling author) debut The Winter Sister returns with a darkly thrilling novel about a woman who comes to believe that she has a connection to a decades old kidnapping and now that the victim has gone missing again, begins a frantic search to learn what happened in the past.

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 may have provoked her original kidnapper to abduct her again—and as she reads through its chapters and visits the people and places within it, she discovers more evidence that she has an unsettling connection to the missing woman. 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 their lives forever.

Featuring Megan Collins’s signature “dark, tense, and completely absorbing” (Booklist) prose and plenty of shocking twists and turns, Behind the Red Door is an arresting thriller that will haunt you long after you turn the last page.

My thoughts: Last year I read Megan Collins's debut novel, The Winter Sister and really enjoyed it, so I was thrilled to be asked to be on her blog tour for her new book. And this latest one was just as dark and thrilling. 

This book hooked me right from the start and I was completely captivated the entire time. The use of fear as a theme was really a unique one and I loved seeing how it was played out in so many different ways. It's not just the fear of the unknown, though that is certainly a big part of what is going on here as Fern is desperately trying to work out why she feels she has some connection to this missing woman who has now gone missing again twenty years later. But it is also the twisted "fear experiments" that her father would do in the name of his research.

I loved that while I had my suspicions as to who was behind things, there were just enough twists that I doubted myself a few times, but ultimately I was right. This in no way detracted from my enjoyment because I needed to know why - what could possibly be the motivations if I was correct? 

This book is filled with broken characters and I loved that. Fern is obsessed with pleasing her narcissistic father, yet she's so traumatized by his neglect that she cannot see just how manipulating he really is. And her mother is no better, choosing to focus on her career rather than her daughter.

I loved the book-within-the-book format. I'm always a fan of this and thought it was used really well here. We get to read bits of Astrid's memoir as Fern is digging into it, hoping that it will spark memories. I looked forward to when we got those chapters. It provided so much insight.

This was a tense, dark book and once I started it, I could not put it down. Even though parts were predictable, there were still things I did not see coming. And to be witness to the twisted family dynamics that Fern was part of just devastates me. Megan Collins definitely gives us a thriller that keeps you on edge and I cannot wait to see what she writes next!

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 CoastSpillway, Tinderbox Poetry Journal, and Rattle. She lives in Connecticut.

Authors Links:  Website   |   Twitter   |   Facebook    |   Instagram

Atria Books
On Sale: August 4, 2020
ISBN: 978-1-9821-3039-8


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