Usually by the time I read a book I’ve requested on Netgalley, I no longer remember what the book is about or why I requested it. But this is when present day me has to trust the discretion of past me. And I’m not usually disappointed.
So when I started to read Behind the Red Door by Megan Collins, the title brought to mind some type of a game show or Russian roulette scenario. It was neither. But I can tell you that Behind the Red Door is everything that a true-crime nut can hope to find in a work of fiction.
And yes, at times, truth can be stranger than fiction. But in this case, the fiction is strange, but also, oddly, completely possible in the world we live in. And those are the best made-up stories. I didn’t just read this book, I fed on it and consumed it. Which sounds super disturbing. But it was so good.
From the 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.
When we meet Fern and Eric they seem kind of boring. They live a basic, average existence as a newly married couple in an apartment. The couple is committed to helping others – he’s a doctor, she’s a social worker. And they are trying to have a baby. It’s the start of about 90% of the books out there.
And then it changes. Because Fern sees a story of a woman who has gone missing and a picture of her face. She starts having memories of a girl with red hair and freckles. A girl named Astrid who was abducted twenty years earlier. And she couldn’t have manufactured the memories because she really didn’t have access to a TV when the girl went missing and her face was splashed all over the headlines years before.
Fern returns to her childhood home to help her father pack and we get a glimpse into an untraditional childhood, and wonder what really happened. Collins tells Fern’s story, alongside Astrid’s and plot thickens with every turn of the page.
Behind the Red Door is a fantastic work of fiction. I enjoyed Collin’s first book, The Winter Sister, a Book of the Month selection, but I really truly loved Behind the Red Door. This is a must read.
Special thanks to Netgalley and Mira Books for an advanced e-galley in exchange for my honest review. This one is out August 4. Get your copy: