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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 p 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 home in New Hampshire, 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. As Fern’s search becomes increasingly desperate, she hopes to remember her past so she can save Astrid in the present…before it’s too late. 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.


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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 p 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 home in New Hampshire, 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. As Fern’s search becomes increasingly desperate, she hopes to remember her past so she can save Astrid in the present…before it’s too late. 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.

30 review for Behind the Red Door

  1. 5 out of 5

    Nilufer Ozmekik

    Switzerland, federated country of central Europe, boasts some of the world’s most famous inventions such as cellophane, Swiss Army Knife, absinthe (hell Yeah), edible chocolate gold(Fancy!), LSD (Okay! Hold on there), potato peeler etc. Okay, I’m gonna stop my blubbering right now! You got the point! When I start to review a three starred book made me think: I didn’t enjoy it but I don’t have any hurt feelings, I called them “Switzerland” books and unfortunately this promising, exciting and inte Switzerland, federated country of central Europe, boasts some of the world’s most famous inventions such as cellophane, Swiss Army Knife, absinthe (hell Yeah), edible chocolate gold(Fancy!), LSD (Okay! Hold on there), potato peeler etc. Okay, I’m gonna stop my blubbering right now! You got the point! When I start to review a three starred book made me think: I didn’t enjoy it but I don’t have any hurt feelings, I called them “Switzerland” books and unfortunately this promising, exciting and interestingly fast pacing book turned into one of the other Swiss chocolates of mine those I could never eat because my husband always finds and eats them at first and I stay skinny! So why such a promising, psychological, mind numbing and riveting kidnapping story turned into something I get lost my interest. Here we go: Firstly we’re introduced Fern Douglas, social worker, witnessing so many children abuse cases and as her supportive, kind husband talked her to have their own baby, she has second thoughts that she cannot share with her husband because she wants to make him happy but she suffers from spirals and nightmares about being captivated and when she sees “Astrid Sullivan” name on TV, something clicks in her mind that she had restored and kept locked for years. Astrid Sullivan was kidnapped 20 years ago and then she’s released and left back outside of her house, hands tied, traumatized! She has written a memoir about her kidnapping and she has mentioned that she was not alone. There was a little girl she named Lily with her who tried to help her escape from captivity. Now, Astrid is taken again after 20 freaking years later! Fern’s memories slowly come out and she starts thinking that she is LILY. And getting more answer she needs to dig more to find out who had kidnapped them and what happened to Astrid NOW. So she goes to her childhood house to help her father Ted: another version of Dr. Frankenstein and Teddy from Memento, for his packing to move to Miami. Then we find out Ted is not the father of the century and throughout his childhood, he traumatized his own daughter by terrorizing her with so many mind bending experiments. Now he pushes her so hard to remember the things behind the red door. But sometimes not remembering is the best for everyone, some things kept locked. I enjoy the story-telling. I never get bored till the end but there are few things about the book I didn’t like: Firstly: Fern was way too much nervous, agitated, paranoid character to connect. I got it why she behaved like that as I resumed reading her back story but I still got irritated from her quirky antics. She was still tolerable character so that was minor point that affected me about the story’s progression. The main reason is too obvious and not too much surprising twists. You may know who the perpetrator is from the beginning. And Fern acted like too blind and naïve to see that! And the conclusion of the story also gave me bad taste and I thought why all these mystery built and why another fair solution didn’t come out for the characters. So yes, ending and the middle repeating parts and easily predictable twists made me lost my interest. I still enjoy the author’s creative writing skills and quick, easy pacing of the book and interesting subject choice but I expected more and I didn’t get what I wished. Special thanks to NetGalley and Atria Books for sharing this thrilling ARC with me in exchange my honest review. blog instagram facebook twitter

  2. 5 out of 5

    Deanna

    This was my first Megan Collins novel. I had both the ebook and audiobook. I actually ended up listening to the entire book over the course of a few evenings. I thought it was very well-written, and I liked that it had a different take on the missing person aspect of the story. Overall, I really enjoyed this dark, gripping novel. I'm definitely looking forward to checking out more books from this author. 3.75 Stars!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Liz

    This is one of those books that relies on a creepy sensation that something is wrong. Fern has anxiety issues. Serious anxiety issues. And Collins does a great job of making you feel that anxiety. The book has an almost horror show quality to it. You know Fern has had an unusual upbringing just because she calls her parents by their given names. And it doesn’t take long to realize how warped her childhood was. Let’s just say I wouldn’t have been as obliging as Fern when her father asks for help This is one of those books that relies on a creepy sensation that something is wrong. Fern has anxiety issues. Serious anxiety issues. And Collins does a great job of making you feel that anxiety. The book has an almost horror show quality to it. You know Fern has had an unusual upbringing just because she calls her parents by their given names. And it doesn’t take long to realize how warped her childhood was. Let’s just say I wouldn’t have been as obliging as Fern when her father asks for help in packing up his house so he can retire to Florida. When a news segment discusses the disappearance of a woman who went missing for a month and then reappeared, drugged, twenty years ago, Fern has the weird sensation of having known that girl. She’s not a reliable narrator; another in what seems a long string of unreliable narrators. Memories continue to come back to her as the chapters progress. Unfortunately, the ending seemed a foregone conclusion. Fern seemed particularly dim witted by the end. I rarely figure out the who in a whodunit, and even I knew from about the ⅓ mark. Sorry, too many good psychological thrillers for me to recommend this one. My thanks to netgalley and Atria Book for an advance copy of this book.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Julie (JuJu)

    This is a disturbing and unique psychological thriller, filled with dark, WTF moments! I was so excited when I saw this book, I sent my first and only letter/request to a publisher. Not sure if it helped, but I was approved on NG soon after. I'd recently finished ”The Winter Sister” and was eager to try another book by the author. Fern was raised in an unconventional family. When couples truly feel they shouldn't be parents, they should stick to that decision. Ted and Mara are a good example This is a disturbing and unique psychological thriller, filled with dark, WTF moments! I was so excited when I saw this book, I sent my first and only letter/request to a publisher. Not sure if it helped, but I was approved on NG soon after. I'd recently finished ”The Winter Sister” and was eager to try another book by the author. Fern was raised in an unconventional family. When couples truly feel they shouldn't be parents, they should stick to that decision. Ted and Mara are a good example of one of those couples. When Fern address them by their names, we realize their relationship is complex. As the book progresses, we see just how complex. Astrid was a 14-year-old girl, living in a neighboring town, that was abducted, locked in a basement for weeks and then returned. Left on a curb close to her house, blindfolded and drugged. But her captor was never apprehended. Twenty years later, she's just published a book about her abduction, and she's taken again. Fern feels like her and Astrid share an intricate connection, but the memories are locked away and she can't access them. While I anticipated a few of the twists, there were several that were unexpected, and kept the suspense level high. ”it’s like I’ve walked into a spiderweb I can’t wipe off, the silk of that dream sticking to my skin.” Thank you to NetGalley, Megan Collins and Atria Books, for this free digital ARC in exchange for my honest opinion! My Rating: 4 ⭐️’s Published: August 4th 2020 by Atria Books Pages: 320 Recommend: Yes @ImMeganCollins @AtriaBooks @NetGalley #psychologicalthriller #NoRulesJustThrills #MustRead #JustFinished #InExchangeForReview #NetGalley #BehindTheRedDoor After publication, my reviews can be found: Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/profile/amz... Twitter: https://mobile.twitter.com/takemeaway21 BN.com, BookBub More on the author: https://www.megancollins.com

  5. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader

    About the book: “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.” My thoughts: This storyline is completely original. I’ve read nothing like it, and the twists and turns About the book: “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.” My thoughts: This storyline is completely original. I’ve read nothing like it, and the twists and turns kept me guessing. Fern believes her repressed memories may connect her to a missing woman, one who went missing decades before. The atmosphere is creepy, there’s tons of emotion, an unreliable narrator, and Behind the Red Door is chilling. I definitely recommend it for fans of dark thrillers who are craving an original storyline. I received a gifted copy. All opinions are my own. Many of my reviews can also be found on my blog: www.jennifertarheelreader.com and instagram: www.instagram.com/tarheelreader (instagram review)

  6. 5 out of 5

    Berit☀️✨

    Dark and disturbing. Tents and atmospheric. I have not read a book that has made me cringe quite as much as this one in quite some time. There were SO many seriously disturbed characters it’s a wonder that Fern wasn’t more screwed up. Fern is summoned home by her less than stellar father to help him pack because he is moving to Florida. At the same time a woman goes missing. The missing woman Astrid went missing previously 20 years ago and Fern is convinced there is a connection, not only betwee Dark and disturbing. Tents and atmospheric. I have not read a book that has made me cringe quite as much as this one in quite some time. There were SO many seriously disturbed characters it’s a wonder that Fern wasn’t more screwed up. Fern is summoned home by her less than stellar father to help him pack because he is moving to Florida. At the same time a woman goes missing. The missing woman Astrid went missing previously 20 years ago and Fern is convinced there is a connection, not only between these incidences, but between herself and Astrid. As fern reads Astrid’s memoir and is prodded by her father the pieces of the past start to come together. Can Fern help find Astrid and will this unlock secrets of her past? OK... Fern had the most messed up parents ever. Her father was a psychologist who studied fear and used his daughter as a research subject, running experiments on her. I legit cannot understand why she was even there helping him move he was such an awful person. And her mom was just as bad she let all of this happen? Ugh 😫 This was a book bursting with unreliable narrator‘s, I don’t think anyone was honest about what was going on. The mystery of the missing woman Astrid was interesting, but I wish there was a little more tension. It also could’ve been a little more fast-paced, I like my thrillers to be a little more frantic. A well told thriller with some well developed deranged characters. This book in emojis 🚪 🖼 📕 🐝 🩸 📱 *** Big thank you to Atria for my gifted copy of this book. All opinions are my own. ***

  7. 5 out of 5

    Chelsea Humphrey

    Really great writing and atmosphere, but found this one to be predictable from early on. Full review to come. *Many thanks to the publisher for providing my review copy.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Diana • Book of Secrets

    BEHIND THE RED DOOR is a dark family drama/mystery about a woman desperate to unlock her repressed memories in order to save another woman who’s gone missing. Astrid Sullivan was kidnapped as a young teen, but was released a month later. Now, after two decades, Astrid has gone missing again, and seeing her face on the news has sparked something in Fern Douglas’ mind — did she know her? The author created the perfect ominous atmosphere for this disturbing tale. While my initial hunch was right abo BEHIND THE RED DOOR is a dark family drama/mystery about a woman desperate to unlock her repressed memories in order to save another woman who’s gone missing. Astrid Sullivan was kidnapped as a young teen, but was released a month later. Now, after two decades, Astrid has gone missing again, and seeing her face on the news has sparked something in Fern Douglas’ mind — did she know her? The author created the perfect ominous atmosphere for this disturbing tale. While my initial hunch was right about what happened, I was still on the edge of my seat as everything was playing out. At times I felt like I was Fern’s memories screaming for her to remember! This was a well-written and suspenseful novel filled with compelling characters, both shady and unreliable. A gripping page-turner, for sure. Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Catherine Woodward

    *Many thanks to Edelweiss, Atria, and Megan Collins for a DRC in exchange for an honest review! Now available as of 8.4!* Fern Douglas has a sneaking suspicion that she's seen Astrid Sullivan, recently missing and the subject of a newly published memoir Behind the Red Door, somewhere before...but where? Her strange relationship with her psychology-obsessed parents and unusual upbringing make her hesitant to return to her childhood home to help her father move, but once she arrives, her past not o *Many thanks to Edelweiss, Atria, and Megan Collins for a DRC in exchange for an honest review! Now available as of 8.4!* Fern Douglas has a sneaking suspicion that she's seen Astrid Sullivan, recently missing and the subject of a newly published memoir Behind the Red Door, somewhere before...but where? Her strange relationship with her psychology-obsessed parents and unusual upbringing make her hesitant to return to her childhood home to help her father move, but once she arrives, her past not only shows up to haunt her...but to warn her. Does Fern actually know where Astrid is and who is holding her captive...or are her flashbacks merely delusions, spiked by her deepening anxiety? This was an interesting read for me, because Collins did such a stellar job creating some really unlikable characters, but I didn't feel that they got what they deserved by the end of the book. Fern is a protagonist you want to root for, but I feel she missed several golden opportunities to speak her mind and display her inner strength, which is more than evident after all she has gone through in her childhood. While the conclusion tied up some loose ends, I still felt I had several lingering questions. I was certainly captivated throughout, I just would have liked to have a twistier or more resolute ending. Behind the Red Door will be perfect for you if you like a thriller that explores psychology, an intriguing mystery, and a bit of madcap experimentation! 3.5 ⭐️, rounded up

  10. 5 out of 5

    Carolyn

    I want to thank NetGalley and Simon & Schuster for the advanced digital version of this gripping psychological thriller in return for an honest review. I found its mood to be oppressive, claustrophobic, and disturbing, but in a good way as I couldn’t put the book down. I was riveted to the pages. It was a 4.5 Star read for me. I thought the protagonist, Ferm to be a woman living in a fragile emotional state of all-encompassing fear and heightened anxiety. How she got into this state was readily I want to thank NetGalley and Simon & Schuster for the advanced digital version of this gripping psychological thriller in return for an honest review. I found its mood to be oppressive, claustrophobic, and disturbing, but in a good way as I couldn’t put the book down. I was riveted to the pages. It was a 4.5 Star read for me. I thought the protagonist, Ferm to be a woman living in a fragile emotional state of all-encompassing fear and heightened anxiety. How she got into this state was readily explained by her psychologically abusive upbringing. I realize I should have felt more sympathetic, but as the main character, I found her behaviour annoying. She treated her most patient and supportive husband badly, but he still adored her. It was hard to believe that she functioned well as a school social worker. She returns home to her father’s house. He has requested that she come to help him pack before he moves away. Twenty years ago, a fourteen-year-old girl, Astrid, was taken from a nearby town. She was returned in a couple of weeks by an unknown masked man. Now, Astrid has been kidnapped again on the 20th anniversary of her previous abduction. She wrote a book about her first time in captivity and it has become a best seller. On returning home, Fern was hoping for signs of affection from her cold and distant father, Ted, who is obsessed with his life’s work as a psychotherapist studying fear. However, her main goal being at her father’s home is to recover some missing memories and to find the newly abducted Astrid before she dies in captivity. Fern is certain that she somehow saw Astrid years before when she was 12 years old and feels a strong inexplicable connection with her. She feels she knows something about her kidnapping, but this is a blank space in her memory. Fern discovers she is pregnant but refuses to tell her husband, although she knows it would bring him great joy. Other main characters from her childhood are Mara, her mother, who has left Ted, and was a busy artist devoid of any motherly instincts. Cooper was an older teenager who sensed Fern was afraid of almost everything and bullied her unmercifully. This was an intense read, well-paced, which maintained the suspense throughout. Characters were mainly unreliable with significant flaws. Once you think you are sure where the story is heading, there is a major misdirection followed by a twist. Highly recommended as an original psychological novel drenched with an atmosphere of anxiety, dread and paranoia.

  11. 4 out of 5

    ☮Karen

    I was asked to read this book by Atria Books/Simon & Schuster, as they had also asked me to read Megan Collins' debut, Winter Sister. In her Acknowledgements, Collins hopes that we readers will find this book worth our time, that it will make us feel something. So to Megan Collins and to S&S, yes indeed. What I felt mostly was that this author has very quickly and adeptly honed her skill at writing psychological suspense, and that I cannot wait to read anything else she turns out in the future! T I was asked to read this book by Atria Books/Simon & Schuster, as they had also asked me to read Megan Collins' debut, Winter Sister. In her Acknowledgements, Collins hopes that we readers will find this book worth our time, that it will make us feel something. So to Megan Collins and to S&S, yes indeed. What I felt mostly was that this author has very quickly and adeptly honed her skill at writing psychological suspense, and that I cannot wait to read anything else she turns out in the future! This book is about so many things, but everywhere I look, I see damaged, broken people: Fern, a young social worker whose parents admit that they never wanted children and think they did the best they could under the circumstances; Ted, Fern's dad, a retired professor of Psychology who thought it okay to conduct mind bending experiments on Fern the child if he never physically abused her, as his own father did him; Fern's mom -- also a piece of work who breaks her pottery creations and glues the broken fragments to wherever they have fallen, making artwork entitled Exquisite Fragments; and her best friend's brother, an admitted a$$hole. Broken things, broken people trying to glue themselves back together. Central to the story is an area kidnapping from twenty years ago, still unsolved, and now the victim has disappeared again after publishing her memoir. Everyone in the town is a bit on edge and eager to see the case solved once and for all, including Fern who seems to be having flashbacks about ... what, she is not sure. I was absorbed in the story and these weird characters so much that I finished it in less than two days. Un-put-downable.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Christina McDonald

    Spellbinding, poignant and atmospheric, Behind The Red Door is one of those rare stories you can get utterly lost in. With writing so richly evocative I could vividly imagine every detail, this is a mesmerizing tale in which family bonds are broken, lifelong secrets are exposed, and a woman who suffers a debilitating anxiety disorder must find the truth about her connection to a decades-old kidnapping. Intensely moving, beautifully written and thoroughly enjoyable, I can’t recommend this highly e Spellbinding, poignant and atmospheric, Behind The Red Door is one of those rare stories you can get utterly lost in. With writing so richly evocative I could vividly imagine every detail, this is a mesmerizing tale in which family bonds are broken, lifelong secrets are exposed, and a woman who suffers a debilitating anxiety disorder must find the truth about her connection to a decades-old kidnapping. Intensely moving, beautifully written and thoroughly enjoyable, I can’t recommend this highly enough!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Mandy White

    Dark and very disturbing, that is how I would describe this book. It went well beyond anything I could have imagined.. and it was addictive. Fern was such a mess of a character and I felt sorry for her. It was a quick, twisty read with a stunning ending. Fern Douglas has always had anxiety issues, but she doesn’t know why. She is scared of everything and struggles in day to day life. She had a strange relationship with her parents. When she hears about a missing woman in Maine, where she grew up, Dark and very disturbing, that is how I would describe this book. It went well beyond anything I could have imagined.. and it was addictive. Fern was such a mess of a character and I felt sorry for her. It was a quick, twisty read with a stunning ending. Fern Douglas has always had anxiety issues, but she doesn’t know why. She is scared of everything and struggles in day to day life. She had a strange relationship with her parents. When she hears about a missing woman in Maine, where she grew up, she is convinced that she has a connection but she doesn’t know what. The missing woman, Astrid Sullivan went missing as a child and has again gone missing. Fern is determined help Astrid and find her, unlocking her own memories in the process. What is behind the red door? Thanks to Atria Books for my advanced copy of this book to read

  14. 4 out of 5

    Erin Clemence

    Special thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for a free, electronic ARC of this novel received in exchange for an honest review. Expected publication date: August 4, 2020 Astrid Sullivan was made famous when she disappeared at fourteen years old, only to be returned unharmed weeks later. Now, twenty years later, Astrid has gone missing again. Has the kidnapper come back? Fern Douglas recognizes Astrid immediately. Her husband explains it by saying that Astrid grew up nearby Fern, and the cas Special thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for a free, electronic ARC of this novel received in exchange for an honest review. Expected publication date: August 4, 2020 Astrid Sullivan was made famous when she disappeared at fourteen years old, only to be returned unharmed weeks later. Now, twenty years later, Astrid has gone missing again. Has the kidnapper come back? Fern Douglas recognizes Astrid immediately. Her husband explains it by saying that Astrid grew up nearby Fern, and the case received a lot of media attention. Her psychiatrist attributes Fern’s recollection as the result of deeply disturbing nightmares. But Fern KNOWS that Astrid is more familiar to her than that. She knows the missing woman from somewhere, she is certain of it. One day, when Fern picks up Astrid’s memoir, she begins to read about the young girl who witnessed Astrid’s kidnapping and didn’t say anything, keeping quiet while Astrid was taken. Fern begins to wonder if she was the silent witness Astrid mentioned. And if so, is the kidnapper coming back for her, too? Megan Collins is a relatively new author, her previous novel, The Winter Sister, being her debut. That being said, Collins is educated in writing, having an MFA and has also worked as a creative writing teacher. Right off the bat, her education and knowledge is evident. Having never read The Winter Sister, Collins is a new writer for me. This novel told a deeply disturbing tale, with parental dysfunction not seen since “Darling Rose Gold”. But it also tells a tale of overcoming obstacles, and seeking justice. Fern is a damaged and delicate character, but, by taking steps to save Astrid, slowly uncovers her inner strength and bravery. Fern’s struggles with anxiety hit close to home for me, and I immediately felt a kinship with her. How she uses her husband as her anchor, to bring her back to the real world and keep her anxieties from “spiraling” is something I see every day in my own anxiety-ridden life. But Collins stays positive with this and does not let the anxiety overcome Fern, as she lives a successful life as a social worker and still manages to find the inner bravery she needs to find Astrid. Well told, with strong characters, “Behind the Red Door” is gripping and suspenseful. Through it all, I predicted the ending and although I was partially right, there was a lot of unknown in this novel that threw me for a loop. I thoroughly enjoyed the way this novel wrapped up, with just the right amount of unexpected twists.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Judy

    Intense and suspenseful, this one kept me engrossed. Fern, the protagonist, is an anxious, nervous adult who was really psychologically abused in her childhood, but she doesn't feel she's been abused because there was no physical abuse. She has a really strange attachment to her father, I think. She is married to a kind, supportive man. When her father calls and wants her to come help him pack up the house so he can move to Florida, she thinks it's strange but she goes to help anyway. Fern hears Intense and suspenseful, this one kept me engrossed. Fern, the protagonist, is an anxious, nervous adult who was really psychologically abused in her childhood, but she doesn't feel she's been abused because there was no physical abuse. She has a really strange attachment to her father, I think. She is married to a kind, supportive man. When her father calls and wants her to come help him pack up the house so he can move to Florida, she thinks it's strange but she goes to help anyway. Fern hears about a woman who's missing and something about her makes Fern feel she recognizes her - but this is not a person she's ever met. The woman's name is Astrid, and she keeps appearing in Fern's recurring nightmares. The story unfolds while Fern is back in New Hampshire to help her Dad. There are some twists and turns to follow so I didn't really know who the "bad guy" was for sure until near the very end - although I had a couple of good suspicions. The plot moved fairly quickly and the urgency builds as the story progresses. I didn't like the character Fern, but after reading the story it's a fitting portrayal of a woman with a past like hers. Thanks to Atria Books through Netgalley for an advance copy.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Lori Lamothe

    Behind the Red Door isn't unusual in that it combines a cold-case with a current-day disappearance. What is different is that they both involve the same woman. An unknown assailant kidnapped Astrid Sullivan from a small town in Maine when she was 12 years old. Now, twenty years later, she's been taken again. But will she be as lucky the second time around? In 2000, Astrid reappeared after a month, left drugged along the side of a deserted road. She didn't escape through her own efforts and thoug Behind the Red Door isn't unusual in that it combines a cold-case with a current-day disappearance. What is different is that they both involve the same woman. An unknown assailant kidnapped Astrid Sullivan from a small town in Maine when she was 12 years old. Now, twenty years later, she's been taken again. But will she be as lucky the second time around? In 2000, Astrid reappeared after a month, left drugged along the side of a deserted road. She didn't escape through her own efforts and though she remembers many things about her captivity, she's never been able to figure out why her captor released her. Or if that was what in fact happened. Has he returned to finish what he started decades earlier – or is this a copycat abduction? One of Astrid's most vivid memories involves Lily, the girl with her in the basement, the one who gave her the will to live. But over the years Lily has proved as elusive as the man who took her. Though there have been many wannabes, the real Lily has never spoken, just as she remained speechless during their time together. Is she dead? Scared for her own safety? More than a few people, including the detectives working the new case, don't believe Lily existed. She was simply a psychological crutch, a tool that helped a traumatized girl endure the unendurable. Of all people, Fern Douglas should understand the idea of psychological crutches. Her father, after all, is a psychology professor who has spent his life studying such things. So when memories begin to surface, Fern is unsure if she's really Lily or if it's just another manifestation of her many fears (and I do mean many). The 32-year-old social worker soon finds herself following the old case trail in hopes that she can learn the truth. If she's right – if she is Lily – maybe she can save Astrid just as Astrid once saved her. She just needs to remember more details. I loved the premise of this novel and I also loved the idea of the central characters. Fern's father's rivalry with his former classmate Brennan Llewellyn reminded me of classmates Stanley Milgram and Philip Zimbardo (the electric shock test and Stanford Prison experiment guys). I also found Fern's unconventional childhood with Ted and her artist mother Mara intriguing – science and art, juxtaposed – then set against the deep Catholicism of Astrid's family. The problem, for me, was the execution. Key aspects of the plot become apparent early on in the book and even minor plot points can be guessed before the half-way mark. Add to that the fact that the characters' tremendous potential never really materialized for me. They didn't seem like real people (okay, characters aren't real people, but I was still looking for more). I also felt as if the setting, which had hints of the macabre, could have been further developed. I've read many good things about Collins' first book, The Winter Sisters, and about her literary fiction. I would definitely be willing to try her debut novel, as well as future books. Much thanks to Atria Books and Netgalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Denise

    I was a big fan of Collins's debut book, The Winter Sister, so I jumped at the chance to read an ARC of Behind the Red Door. The few blurbs I read about Behind the Red Door stated that it was "dark and disturbing." Nine times out of ten, when a book is touted as dark and disturbing, I don't find it to be either one, but this is the one out of ten - it is absolutely both extremely dark and extremely disturbing. The book centers around the story of Fern Douglas, a more-than-slightly-neurotic schoo I was a big fan of Collins's debut book, The Winter Sister, so I jumped at the chance to read an ARC of Behind the Red Door. The few blurbs I read about Behind the Red Door stated that it was "dark and disturbing." Nine times out of ten, when a book is touted as dark and disturbing, I don't find it to be either one, but this is the one out of ten - it is absolutely both extremely dark and extremely disturbing. The book centers around the story of Fern Douglas, a more-than-slightly-neurotic school social worker, who sees the news about a missing woman and feels strongly that she knows her from somewhere. Her husband (if ever there was a saint, it is Fern's husband!) convinces her it is because the woman, Astrid, had been famous twenty years prior for being kidnapped off the street and then strangely returned, but Fern has no recollection of reading about the kidnapping/return, even though it happened close to her hometown. Fern returns to her childhood home to help her newly-retired father pack up his home to move to Florida and purchases a copy of Astrid’s memoir regarding her kidnapping as a child. Fern starts having flashbacks of things that happened in the case, before she even reads them in the memoir, and begins to think that she is "Lily," a never-located witness that Astrid swears was also a kidnapping victim, but who most people closely associated with the case think was a figment of her imagination. Here's where the story delves into crazy. Fern's father is beyond sick - his actions enraged me, and her mom was not much better (if severe mental child abuse references are a trigger, this might not be the book for you). Because of her parents, I so wanted to be sympathetic to Fern, but to be honest, I didn't really like her character that much, and all of her "spiraling" grated on my nerves after awhile. The rest of the characters in the book are pretty much despicable as well - other than Fern's husband, there isn't a likable one in the bunch. There are many dark, creepy twists along the way, but I was disappointed because I literally figured out both kidnappings early on and wasn't fooled by the myriad of rabbit trails Collins attempts to lead the reader down. Nonetheless, the book did keep me entranced - I read it in two sittings - so I give Collins props for that. I'm torn between 3 and 4 stars (if there were half stars, it would absolutely be a 3.5), because while there was no shock value to the ending for me, it does live up to its promise of being a dark and disturbing thriller. I really do enjoy Collins's writing style and am already looking forward to what she will come up with next! 3.5 stars rounded up to 4.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Erin

    Thanks to NetGalley and Atria Books for an egalley in exchange for an honest review. Well, this certainly had me on the edge of my seat! When a woman goes missing and public speculation runs rampant that the person who kidnapped her as a teen has returned to finish the job, Fern Douglas finds herself drawn to the case. Quickly Fern becomes obsessed with what happened to Astrid Sullivan, but she has little idea of what secrets lie in store. This was a book that I was eagerly anticipating to rea Thanks to NetGalley and Atria Books for an egalley in exchange for an honest review. Well, this certainly had me on the edge of my seat! When a woman goes missing and public speculation runs rampant that the person who kidnapped her as a teen has returned to finish the job, Fern Douglas finds herself drawn to the case. Quickly Fern becomes obsessed with what happened to Astrid Sullivan, but she has little idea of what secrets lie in store. This was a book that I was eagerly anticipating to read this summer and it didn't disappoint. Although I couldn't help but settle on a theory early on in my reading experience, there were still a few things that I just didn't see coming. Some parts of this novel really horrified me and Fern's parents Ted and Mara will certainly not be winning any "family of the year" trophies. There's no way that I could forget this book! Goodreads review published 24/07/20 Expected publication 04/08/20

  19. 4 out of 5

    MissBecka

    Can you say Mind Fuck? Go read this for some messed up shit. Thanks to NetGalley and Simon & Schuster Canada for my DRC! Can you say Mind Fuck? Go read this for some messed up shit. Thanks to NetGalley and Simon & Schuster Canada for my DRC!

  20. 4 out of 5

    ABookwormWithWine

    I have got to be honest, I am still gathering all of my feelings up for Behind the Red Door by Megan Collins, but I will say this is a quick, engrossing, and frustrating read. I don't think I truly liked a single character in this book and Fern and her father both made me want to throw my book across the room. BUT, I have got to hand it to Collins for producing so many emotions in me! I did not see the end coming, and it was all a surprise to me. I had so many theories while reading the book and I have got to be honest, I am still gathering all of my feelings up for Behind the Red Door by Megan Collins, but I will say this is a quick, engrossing, and frustrating read. I don't think I truly liked a single character in this book and Fern and her father both made me want to throw my book across the room. BUT, I have got to hand it to Collins for producing so many emotions in me! I did not see the end coming, and it was all a surprise to me. I had so many theories while reading the book and then it turned out not a single one was right. It may have its flaws, but I am always impressed when a book can keep me guessing and that is exactly what Behind the Red Door did. It's a rather slow burn, but all of the chapters are fairly short, and it is a very quick read so this could easily be read in one sitting. This is my first time reading a book by this author and it will definitely not be my last! I really enjoyed Collins' writing style, and I am hoping characters in her other books will have more of a backbone. I prefer books that have strong female leads and that is not what I would call Fern, but she did redeem herself a bit in the end for me which I was happy about. And honestly she was definitely the way she was because of the story and if she would have been a strong lead this would have been a different book. I don't think a whole lot can be said about Behind the Red Door without giving anything away so I highly recommend going in mostly blind. I do wish the end would have answered more of my questions, but overall this is a thrilling, suspenseful read that I highly recommend if you don't mind unlikable characters. Thank you to the publisher for providing me with an advance review copy of this book, all opinions and thoughts are my own.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Mlpmom (Book Reviewer)

    There is nothing better than a story that will keep you on your toes and turning the pages. Thrillers have always been some of my most favorite stories to read which is why I had no issues picking this one up at all. It does have everything that makes a great thriller, intrigue, an unreliable narrator, mystery, crazy characters that you can't trust at all and of course that darkness that almost always lurks around every page. And while I truly enjoyed the unique story line of this, I did see so There is nothing better than a story that will keep you on your toes and turning the pages. Thrillers have always been some of my most favorite stories to read which is why I had no issues picking this one up at all. It does have everything that makes a great thriller, intrigue, an unreliable narrator, mystery, crazy characters that you can't trust at all and of course that darkness that almost always lurks around every page. And while I truly enjoyed the unique story line of this, I did see so many aspects coming after only 20% in which was a tad bit disappointing but not knowing everything, that kept me turning the pages and reading on, which was a good thing because there were still twists and turns I didn't see coming. Overall a good read that I think most fans of the genre will truly enjoy. *ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.*

  22. 4 out of 5

    Isabel • The Crime Bookshelf

    3 STARS. Thank you so much to Atria for the gifted copy! ❤️ I have been looking forward to reading this book for so long and I’m so happy I finally got the chance to read it! Behind the Red Door is out 8/4 so make sure to check it out 🙌🏼 ⁣ ⁣ This book is extremely dark right from the beginning 😳 I’m always super intrigued by books that are dark right away because I’m always curious where the story will go. I looove books that are super messed up and that’s exactly how this book was all throughout. 3 STARS. Thank you so much to Atria for the gifted copy! ❤️ I have been looking forward to reading this book for so long and I’m so happy I finally got the chance to read it! Behind the Red Door is out 8/4 so make sure to check it out 🙌🏼 ⁣ ⁣ This book is extremely dark right from the beginning 😳 I’m always super intrigued by books that are dark right away because I’m always curious where the story will go. I looove books that are super messed up and that’s exactly how this book was all throughout. I couldn’t believe some of the things that happened because it was just so disturbing to think about. I really enjoyed how quick of a read it was and it was the perfect easy + binge-worthy thriller that we all love in the summertime 👌🏼⁣ ⁣ I personally feel like this book was predictable from very early on, which made me not enjoy the book as much as I was hoping to. The main twist was too obvious and I felt like I knew what was coming the entire time. There was one plot twist that I didn’t see coming, which I appreciated, but I didn’t really love the twist. Overall this was a solid read, but I just don’t think it was for me! I can still see a ton of people really loving this one, though, so if it interests you definitely give it a shot 😝⁣ ⁣ {TW: Suicide, Emotional Abuse, Child Abuse, Homophobia, Fertility Issues}⁣

  23. 4 out of 5

    Dana

    Fern Douglas believes to have a personal connection to Astrid Sullivan, the victim of a kidnapping that happened twenty years ago. Astrid, who was found alive two decades prior has gone missing once again. When Fern continues having the same nightmare over and over she starts to question whether this is really a dream at all, or perhaps a memory? Here's the thing ... I usually have a REALLY difficult time with unlikeable characters but this time they worked for me. They added a whole lot of dram Fern Douglas believes to have a personal connection to Astrid Sullivan, the victim of a kidnapping that happened twenty years ago. Astrid, who was found alive two decades prior has gone missing once again. When Fern continues having the same nightmare over and over she starts to question whether this is really a dream at all, or perhaps a memory? Here's the thing ... I usually have a REALLY difficult time with unlikeable characters but this time they worked for me. They added a whole lot of drama and excitement to the story. Behind The Red Door is really well written, has an interesting plot and gives the reader an eerie vibe. It's well paced and has that book within a book structure that I really enjoy. I did find this book to be fairly predictable but was questioning my own theories multiple times as I continued reading. It definitely had all the suspense I crave ... Huge thank you to Simon & Schuster Canada for my review copy!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Sara

    This middling, psychological thriller is well written but never really delivers anything beyond a run of the mill mystery that's so simple to figure out you're left wondering why its taking the protagonist so long. If by say page ten you think you've got it worked out, spoiler alert, you're right. Collins has written some pretty believable characters and has clearly done her research into both psychiatry and the affects of trauma but the situations she thrusts her heroine into are so outlandishly This middling, psychological thriller is well written but never really delivers anything beyond a run of the mill mystery that's so simple to figure out you're left wondering why its taking the protagonist so long. If by say page ten you think you've got it worked out, spoiler alert, you're right. Collins has written some pretty believable characters and has clearly done her research into both psychiatry and the affects of trauma but the situations she thrusts her heroine into are so outlandishly horrible its just too hard to suspend disbelief. The concept is interesting, a woman who disappeared as a child for several weeks only to be found drugged and incoherent on the side of the road is kidnapped again on the anniversary of her original disappearance. Our heroine starts to realize that she might have also been a victim of the same kidnapper and the kidnapper is someone she knows very well. That's really all I can tell you because to reveal anything else would be telling you exactly who is responsible, it really is that easy to work out. The mystery also just kind of peters out into a little puddle of blah with the emphasis more on the heroine's fears about impending mother hood and improving her marriage to her loving and understanding husband. Honestly? I'm not sure this really was a thriller. I don't exactly know what it was. It just wasn't very good.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Ludwig Reads

    “It makes me certain - with a level of conviction I can’t explain - that I know her.” Behind The Red Door is a beautifully-written thriller about a woman who believes she has a connection to a 20-year-old abduction case. The victim was brought back, wrote a memoir years later and has now vanished, again. The story is well-paced as it succeeds to keep the reader invested with the deliciously addictive book-within-a-book aspect. We’re offered chapters off the missing woman’s memoir titled “Behind T “It makes me certain - with a level of conviction I can’t explain - that I know her.” Behind The Red Door is a beautifully-written thriller about a woman who believes she has a connection to a 20-year-old abduction case. The victim was brought back, wrote a memoir years later and has now vanished, again. The story is well-paced as it succeeds to keep the reader invested with the deliciously addictive book-within-a-book aspect. We’re offered chapters off the missing woman’s memoir titled “Behind The Red Door”, where she’s crafted so meticulously that we easily get to connect with her character, and the reader can also instantly feel connected with our well-developed protagonist due to her distinct voice. Behind The Red Door studies many thought-provoking subjects like trauma, memory and especially fear - which is discussed through the main character’s father who’s a psychology professor, so that was very interesting. There are two big revelations at the end; the former being predictable and the latter definitely surprising, but I liked how things were concluded in the end - I thought it ended on a meaningful note in a way it would make a great impact on the reader.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Christina

    This is a smart and totally unique thriller - psychological in every sense of the word. Fern Douglas realizes as an adult that she may have known a famous kidnapped girl. What follows is a fascinating journey into repressed memories, terrible childhoods, and the nature of fear. I really loved the characters in this book. Each one was totally unique and well-drawn, but particularly Fern’s family and husband, and Fern herself. I loved and rooted for Fern from the beginning. No one has a perfect chi This is a smart and totally unique thriller - psychological in every sense of the word. Fern Douglas realizes as an adult that she may have known a famous kidnapped girl. What follows is a fascinating journey into repressed memories, terrible childhoods, and the nature of fear. I really loved the characters in this book. Each one was totally unique and well-drawn, but particularly Fern’s family and husband, and Fern herself. I loved and rooted for Fern from the beginning. No one has a perfect childhood so perhaps we can all identify with Fern, but her childhood unfolds as being uniquely messed up. The “whodunit” of the book is so well done, with a couple of perfect red herrings and a great ultimate conclusion. The book is really scary and very psychologically complex. I loved reading it the whole way through and liked it even better than the Winter Sister. 4.5 stars rounded up for this very scary and thoughtful book. Big thanks to NetGalley, Megan Collins and Atria for this ARC in exchange for my honest review. An excellent and absorbing psychological thriller.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Chelsey (a_novel_idea11)

    3.5/5 When Fern's father asks her to return to her hometown to pack up his house and help him move, Fern jumps at the opportunity to spend some quality time with the man she's been aiming to please her entire life. Fern's father is a professor who is recently retired. All of Fern's life, Ted's priority has been his research and his work. Ted studies fear and often ran experiments on Fern while she was growing up - leaving her at the grocery store, disappearing for days at a time, or feigning inju 3.5/5 When Fern's father asks her to return to her hometown to pack up his house and help him move, Fern jumps at the opportunity to spend some quality time with the man she's been aiming to please her entire life. Fern's father is a professor who is recently retired. All of Fern's life, Ted's priority has been his research and his work. Ted studies fear and often ran experiments on Fern while she was growing up - leaving her at the grocery store, disappearing for days at a time, or feigning injuries - and then interviewing her for her reactions and responses. Now married to a pediatrician, Fern's husband Eric is appalled at Ted's parenting and is distressed that his already anxious wife will now be in her father's presence for an extended period of time. Before Fern is set to return to New Hampshire, a woman she recognizes appears on the news. Astrid Sullivan was abducted twenty years ago by an unknown kidnapper. She was returned to her neighborhood a few weeks later, essentially unharmed. Her kidnapper was never found. Now, on the eve of the twentieth anniversary of Astrid's abduction, she has vanished again. With the release of her memoir, "Behind the Red Door," the public is worried that Astrid's original abductor has found and ensnared her again. When Fern sees Astrid on the news, a memory is triggered and Fern worries that her connection to Astrid is far from superficial. Returning to her hometown, Fern begins to investigate the prior and current disappearance of Astrid Sullivan. As she uncovers more clues about the woman, memories begin to resurface. Was Fern connected to Astrid and her disappearance? Can Fern uncover the secrets from twenty years ago before it's too late for Astrid now? Overall, this was an incredibly unique (and bizarre!) book. I really liked the format - told in first person by Fern but with excerpts from Astrid's memoir scattered throughout. Unfortunately, I found the book incredibly predictable and wished more had been done to keep the story a mystery. Many thanks to NetGalley and Atria Books for an advanced copy of this novel. I look forward to more books by Collins!

  28. 4 out of 5

    PinkAmy loves books, cats and naps

    When Fern returns to her childhood home, she begins to remember Astrid, a girl kidnapped as a teen and now again as a woman. Fern believes she knows the red headed abductee. But what’s real and what’s part of her mental illness. Fern’s emotionally abusive, narcissistic father Ted experimented on her as a child with a series of cruel pranks. Her mother Mara sometimes participated, other times was emotionally absent. BEHIND THE RED DOOR made me angry, mad for Fern as a child and frustrated at Fern t When Fern returns to her childhood home, she begins to remember Astrid, a girl kidnapped as a teen and now again as a woman. Fern believes she knows the red headed abductee. But what’s real and what’s part of her mental illness. Fern’s emotionally abusive, narcissistic father Ted experimented on her as a child with a series of cruel pranks. Her mother Mara sometimes participated, other times was emotionally absent. BEHIND THE RED DOOR made me angry, mad for Fern as a child and frustrated at Fern the adult for not recognizing the continued manipulation despite years of therapy. As an adult, accepted continued mistreatment from people who abused her as a child which was difficult to read page after page. The slow pacing of BEHIND THE RED DOOR had me hoping for a big payoff, which didn’t deliver and is why I don’t recommend the book.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Dana Halek Damato

    Fern Douglas has suffered fear and anxiety since childhood. She longs for the love and approval that her parents have never given her. She was not only unwanted, but almost completely ignored by her parents, Ted and Mara. When Fern sees a story on the news about a missing woman, Astrid Sullivan, she has a very strong feeling that she knows her. Fern's husband, Eric, thinks she is just remembering the scandalous story of Astrid's abduction and return from twenty years earlier. When Fern's father Fern Douglas has suffered fear and anxiety since childhood. She longs for the love and approval that her parents have never given her. She was not only unwanted, but almost completely ignored by her parents, Ted and Mara. When Fern sees a story on the news about a missing woman, Astrid Sullivan, she has a very strong feeling that she knows her. Fern's husband, Eric, thinks she is just remembering the scandalous story of Astrid's abduction and return from twenty years earlier. When Fern's father calls and tells her he needs her help packing for a move, she jumps at the chance to feel some kind of love from him. Going home stirs up memories and emotions that Fern has suppressed for twenty years. She begins a desperate search for Astrid, but in doing so she uncovers such heinous wrongdoing that it eviscerates her life as she knows it. I was completely blown away by the powerful misdeeds in Fern's life and the unraveling of the mystery, to it's devastating conclusion. This is definitely a story worth reading.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Bam cooks the books ;-)

    *3.5 stars. Poor Fern Douglas has had the most mentally-abusive childhood you can imagine. Her father, a psychologist, was always using her in his experiments and studies on fear. It's no wonder she grew up to be a highly-neurotic adult. But still she loves her father and seeks his approval--so when he asks her to come home to help him pack for a move to Florida, she goes willingly. When Fern sees the TV news report of the disappearance of a 34-year-old woman named Astrid Sullivan who was kidnap *3.5 stars. Poor Fern Douglas has had the most mentally-abusive childhood you can imagine. Her father, a psychologist, was always using her in his experiments and studies on fear. It's no wonder she grew up to be a highly-neurotic adult. But still she loves her father and seeks his approval--so when he asks her to come home to help him pack for a move to Florida, she goes willingly. When Fern sees the TV news report of the disappearance of a 34-year-old woman named Astrid Sullivan who was kidnapped as a teen twenty years before, she begins to feel she knows that woman, even has flashbacks of memories involving her. How can that be? Her father would be only too happy to help her recover suppressed memories but Fern needs to dig them out on her own and heads off to do some investigating. Interspersed with the current happenings are chapters from Astrid's memoir of her experiences during the kidnapping. Fern finds tidbits in there that jive with her own emerging memories. Could she have been the little girl who joined Astrid in the basement twenty years before? I enjoyed the way the story unfolded but thought it was way too easy to figure out what was really going on here. No surprises for this veteran thriller reader! I received an arc of this new book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

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