ONE STEP BEHIND by Lauren North


Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: September 1, 2020
Source: Review copy from NetGalley
Rating: ★★★½


A woman pushed to the breaking point by a stalker develops an obsession of her own in this shocking new novel of psychological suspense from the acclaimed author of The Perfect Son.

Jenna is a wife, a mother, a doctor. She’s also the victim of a stalker. Frightening “gifts” are left on her doorstep, her home is broken in to, and when she leaves her house to take her children to school, he’s waiting. She feels powerless, and the police are unable to help.

Then her stalker is brought into the emergency room after a terrible accident, and Jenna has to treat the man who’s been tormenting her for months. With her stalker in a coma, Jenna is desperate to understand the life of this seemingly normal man. When she finds startling images on his phone, she is consumed by her need for answers–and her own obsession leads her down a twisting path of destruction.

Just how far is Jenna willing to go to take back control of her life?


ONE STEP BEHIND presents an intriguing and difficult dilemma for main character Jenna, a mom, ER doctor, and victim of a relentless stalker. After a year of receiving threatening messages and disturbing “gifts,” Jenna is at the breaking point. The police have made no progress in the case, and Jenna fears for herself and family. Then one day her stalker is wheeled into the emergency room near death after an accident. Now that she has control over his life, how far is she willing to go?

This book is a fast-paced and tense domestic thriller that shows what can happen when someone is threatened and put under mental stress for so long. Jenna’s behavior gets a bit wacky as she investigates her stalker, but I can’t say I blame her. I enjoyed how Jenna’s chapters are written in second person, with the “you” she’s talking to being her stalker.

The author crafted several red herrings and suspicious characters that kept me guessing. I thought the alternating chapters with another character, particularly the backstory, dragged a bit. Another quibble I had was that I thought the final twist, the “reasoning” behind the stalking, was a bit unbelievable. Still, it was an intense ending to wrap up the story. Recommend to readers who would enjoy a cat-and-mouse mystery.

— 𝓓𝓲𝓪𝓷𝓪

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

THE NIGHT SWIM by Megan Goldin


Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Release Date: August 4, 2020
Source: Review copy from NetGalley
Rating: ★★★★


In The Night Swim, a new thriller from Megan Goldin, author of the “gripping and unforgettable” (Harlen Coben) The Escape Room, a true crime podcast host covering a controversial trial finds herself drawn deep into a small town’s dark past and a brutal crime that took place there years before.

Ever since her true-crime podcast became an overnight sensation and set an innocent man free, Rachel Krall has become a household name ― and the last hope for people seeking justice. But she’s used to being recognized for her voice, not her face. Which makes it all the more unsettling when she finds a note on her car windshield, addressed to her, begging for help.

The new season of Rachel’s podcast has brought her to a small town being torn apart by a devastating rape trial. A local golden boy, a swimmer destined for Olympic greatness, has been accused of raping the beloved granddaughter of the police chief. Under pressure to make Season 3 a success, Rachel throws herself into her investigation ― but the mysterious letters keep coming. Someone is following her, and she won’t stop until Rachel finds out what happened to her sister twenty-five years ago. Officially, Jenny Stills tragically drowned, but the letters insist she was murdered ― and when Rachel starts asking questions, nobody in town wants to answer. The past and present start to collide as Rachel uncovers startling connections between the two cases ― and a revelation that will change the course of the trial and the lives of everyone involved.

Electrifying and propulsive, The Night Swim asks: What is the price of a reputation? Can a small town ever right the wrongs of its past? And what really happened to Jenny?


Wow, this was a tough book to read, yet it was very well written. The author’s previous novel, THE ESCAPE ROOM, was an fun, entertaining thriller, while THE NIGHT SWIM was a different type of novel altogether. It’s a slow-burn dark mystery that tackles some very heavy, timely subject matter ― rape & rape culture.

True-crime podcaster Rachel Krall has come to Neapolis to cover the trial of a young man accused of rape. When someone starts leaving notes asking for her help, Rachel discovers that the drowning death of a local teenager 25 years earlier may be tied to the current case so many disturbing secrets buried in this small town.

The story is told through podcast transcripts, mysterious letters, and Rachel’s POV as she investigates the crimes of the present and the past. Rachel was a brave, clever, and determined character, and I liked hearing her take on the trial through the podcast.

NIGHT SWIM is more of a fictionalized true-crime story rather than a thriller. Given the nature of the book’s subject matter, I can say that I appreciated it rather than enjoyed. Poignant & thought-provoking. I’m very curious to see where Megan Goldin takes readers next.

— 𝓓𝓲𝓪𝓷𝓪

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

THE FAMILY UPSTAIRS by Lisa Jewell


Publisher: Atria Books
Release Date: November 5, 2019
Source: Review copy from NetGalley
Rating: ★★★★½


From the New York Times bestselling author of Then She Was Gone comes another page-turning look inside one family’s past as buried secrets threaten to come to light.

Be careful who you let in.

Soon after her twenty-fifth birthday, Libby Jones returns home from work to find the letter she’s been waiting for her entire life. She rips it open with one driving thought: I am finally going to know who I am.

She soon learns not only the identity of her birth parents, but also that she is the sole inheritor of their abandoned mansion on the banks of the Thames in London’s fashionable Chelsea neighborhood, worth millions. Everything in Libby’s life is about to change. But what she can’t possibly know is that others have been waiting for this day as well—and she is on a collision course to meet them.

Twenty-five years ago, police were called to 16 Cheyne Walk with reports of a baby crying. When they arrived, they found a healthy ten-month-old happily cooing in her crib in the bedroom. Downstairs in the kitchen lay three dead bodies, all dressed in black, next to a hastily scrawled note. And the four other children reported to live at Cheyne Walk were gone.

In The Family Upstairs, the master of “bone-chilling suspense” (People) brings us the can’t-look-away story of three entangled families living in a house with the darkest of secrets.


THE FAMILY UPSTAIRS is a creepy and atmospheric domestic thriller that I thoroughly enjoyed. When Libby turns 25, she inherits a grand home left to her by her deceased parents, whom she did not know the identity of until now. Libby is about to learn the dark and disturbing history of the family’s house as well.

Twenty-five years earlier, three individuals died mysteriously within its walls, and the children living there disappeared. The timeline moves back and forth between past and present as three characters tell the story of 16 Cheyne Walk. Yet, how are they connected? It wasn’t easy putting the pieces of the puzzle together, but fun to try. Such a web of dark secrets.

Lisa Jewell has written another fantastic thriller that grabs you with complex characters and chilling suspense. Highly recommended.

— 𝓓𝓲𝓪𝓷𝓪

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

BEHIND THE RED DOOR by Megan Collins


Publisher: Atria Books
Release Date: August 4, 2020
Source: Review copy from NetGalley
Rating: ★★★★


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.


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.

— 𝓓𝓲𝓪𝓷𝓪

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

THE GIRL FROM WIDOW HILLS by Megan Miranda


Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Release Date: June 23, 2020
Source: Review copy from NetGalley
Rating: ★★★


From the New York Times bestselling author of The Last House Guest — a Reese Witherspoon Book Club pick — comes a riveting new novel of psychological suspense about a young woman plagued by night terrors after a childhood trauma who wakes one evening to find a corpse at her feet.

Everyone knows the story of “the girl from Widow Hills.”

Arden Maynor was just a child when she was swept away while sleepwalking during a terrifying rainstorm and went missing for days. Strangers and friends, neighbors and rescue workers, set up search parties and held vigils, praying for her safe return. Against all odds, she was found, alive, clinging to a storm drain. The girl from Widow Hills was a living miracle. Arden’s mother wrote a book. Fame followed. Fans and fan letters, creeps, and stalkers. And every year, the anniversary. It all became too much. As soon as she was old enough, Arden changed her name and disappeared from the public eye.

Now a young woman living hundreds of miles away, Arden goes by Olivia. She’s managed to stay off the radar for the last few years. But with the twentieth anniversary of her rescue approaching, the media will inevitably renew its interest in Arden. Where is she now? Soon Olivia feels like she’s being watched and begins sleepwalking again, like she did long ago, even waking outside her home. Until late one night she jolts awake in her yard. At her feet is the corpse of a man she knows — from her previous life, as Arden Maynor.

And now, the girl from Widow Hills is about to become the center of the story, once again, in this propulsive page-turner from suspense master Megan Miranda.


Reading this book immediately brought to mind Baby Jessica’s rescue back in the late 80s. That was a major news event with everyone’s eyes glued to the TV, hoping for the best. Once something like that is over, do you ever wonder what impact the attention has on those involved as the years pass?

In THE GIRL FROM WIDOW HILLS, six year-old Arden Maynor’s life is changed forever when she’s swept away in a storm drain after sleepwalking. After a huge search and media circus, she’s miraculously rescued a few days later, and unfortunately the fame she didn’t ask for never goes away.

Now approaching the 20-year anniversary of the incident, Arden has left her hometown and changed her name to Olivia. The anniversary is putting her under stress, and she finds herself sleepwalking once again. This time, she trips over a dead body in her backyard. What could it mean?

I have mixed feelings about this book. It’s a slower paced novel with a couple of good twists, particularly when the identity of the body Arden/Olivia finds is revealed. For such an intriguing premise, there wasn’t a lot of excitement or suspense in the plot, and I wish the secondary characters would have been fleshed out more. The ending was kind of crazy, not at all what I was expecting! Overall, this was a good mystery that just needed a little more thrill.

— 𝓓𝓲𝓪𝓷𝓪

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.