The Therapist

Therapists create a safe space where people can share their deepest and darkest thoughts with no judgment or scrutiny, right?  They are impartial listeners who help clients navigate their own psyche in order to improve the overall quality of their lives, right?  Well…

Alice’s life is undergoing sweeping changes.  She and her boyfriend, Leo, have decided that not only are they going to move in together, but they are going to relocate from Alice’s cottage in the English countryside to a quaint neighborhood just on the outskirts of downtown London.  Alice cannot understand why her new neighbors are not welcoming them with open arms, and she is determined to make friends with the other families in her gated community.  As she finds out more about her neighbors and the area, she discovers that a gruesome murder took place in the master bedroom.  The murderer committed suicide, but Alice can’t seem to shake the feeling that there is more to the story and it’s not the murder-suicide case that the other neighbors have come to accept.  She develops an inexplicable attachment to the victim, and she slowly descends into an over-the-top obsession with finding the victim’s real killer.  In her search for justice for the victim, she suspects everybody and nobody, but she will not rest until she finds answers…even if it kills her.

Trigger warnings: Death, suicide, murder

My thoughts (may contain spoilers)

What Lies in the Woods

Secrets, secrets are no fun.

Naomi, Olivia, and Cassie were 11 years old when they were brutally attacked in the woods by a well-known and hunted serial killer who was also wanted for the deaths of countless other women.  The woods: once their safe-haven, once their backdrop to live out their fantasy game of spirits, potions, dungeons, and goddesses.  The woods: the place where their lives would change forever.  The woods: the link that would always connect them to each other.  The woods: the keeper of so many secrets and lies.  They have tried to move on, each in their own way.  When the girls, now adults, received phone calls from the authorities that their attacker had died in prison, the news should have brought them a sense of peace and closure.  Instead, it caused them to revisit the past, both physically and figuratively, and caused them to question the stories they had told detectives, lawyers, juries, and themselves. When Olivia contacts Cassie and Naomi and tells them she must come clean about one of their deepest and darkest secrets, the girls can’t help but think their actual reality and perceived reality is about to be turned upside down.  Naomi, especially, questions her memory of events as she was the one who suffered the most physical injuries in the attack.  On her quest to find truth and a release from the burden of living with the knowledge that her testimony put a man in prison for the rest of his life, Naomi starts to uncover more parts to the story that cause her to question her memory, her family, and her friends.  The more she more she finds out, the more she questions; and the more she questions, the more she wraps herself in a dangerous web of lies.

Trigger warnings: Language, death, suicide, murder, mythological stories involving potions/spells/sacrifices, sexual content

Why I read it: Book of the month pick

My thoughts (may contain spoilers)

The Island

Tom, his wife Heather, and his two kids Olivia and Owen are on vacation in Australia where Tom, a respected orthopedic surgeon, is expected to give a speech at a doctor’s convention.  Olivia and Owen are still mourning the unexpected and tragic death of their mother as they adjust to Heather, their new stepmom.  On an afternoon drive, the makeshift family stops at a roadside stand where they inquire about places to see Australian wildlife.  The two men who greet them also encourage them to visit their family’s island which is not only off the beaten path, but it is very much off the grid.  On the ferry ride over, Heather quickly discovers that her cell phone doesn’t work and, although they are only a mile from the mainland, they might as well be on a totally different planet as the island is completely isolated from civilization.  During their one hour “self-guided tour” on the island before they are expected back on the ferry, a tragic accident causes them to panic.  A series of very unfortunate events leads to the realization that they are not as alone on the island as they originally thought.  The inhabitants of the island operate under their own jurisdiction, and they have no intention of letting their guests leave alive.  An intense game of cat and mouse follows where the roles of hunter and hunted change with every turn of the page.  They must learn to listen to each other, listen to the land, and listen to their own instincts if they are to have any chance of survival.  However, just when you think you fully know a character in this book, well, think again.

Trigger warnings: Murder, unexpected death, violence, language

Why I read it: Recommendation from a friend

My thoughts (may contain spoilers)

Goodnight Beautiful

After moving from New York City to the suburbs, newlyweds Sam and Annie are forced to adjust to their new surroundings.  Sam, a psychiatrist, thinks the stars have aligned in his favor when an opportunity to rent his dream office space quite literally falls into his lap.  The landlord refuses to accept rent payments; instead, Sam pays his rent fees by serving as a handyman completing various home improvement jobs around the old building.  His patients see him regularly and discuss their various life issues.  Unbeknownst to them, someone besides Sam is listening to every word that they say.  Suddenly, Sam disappears without a trace.  Annie, a college professor, insists something horrible has happened.  She believes that Sam has either been injured in a horrible accident…or worse.  Unfortunately, finding others who share her beliefs that Sam is a victim is proving to be quite difficult.  It’s a race against time to find Sam and, just when you think you have it figured out, think again.

  • Why I read it: Recommendation in a Facebook book group
  • Trigger Warnings: violence, infidelity, mental health

My thoughts (may contain spoilers)