Hello everyone and welcome to a brand new edition of Lil Red’s Book Club! Today, we are going to be discussing a thriller by Megan Collins called Behind The Red Door – without giving any spoilers away, of course. This is the third book in a row that I have read by Collins and it was pretty good. However, I definitely didn’t like it as much as The Family Plot or The Winter Sister.
Before we begin our discussion, I will be placing a trigger warning on Behind The Red Door for general violence and disturbing content. Now, let’s get to it:
Fern has lived a life in which her anxiety will always define her. Her childhood was a lonely and… unique one, which puts in really nicely! Her mother is an artist who would immerse herself in her studio and would stay there for days on end. Her father studies the psychology behind fear and Fern was his subject during a majority of his “experiments”.
During these experiments, Fern’s dad would leave her in unfamiliar places or alone all night and then interview her afterwards to learn about what scared her. She was more of a test subject than a daughter and her whole childhood was spent longing for attention from her parents. Needless to say, this deeply effected her adult life and at thirty-two, she has profound anxiety, reoccurring nightmares, and is constantly scratching at her wrists.
Fern has spent a majority of her adult life avoiding her parents and hometown but she agrees to return to help her dad pack for his upcoming move. The night before Fern leaves, she is settled in front of the TV with her husband watching the evening news. The main headline is a shocking one about a woman who has gone missing named Astrid.
After seeing her picture, Fern can’t shake the feeling that she knows Astrid from somewhere. Her husband isn’t surprised because Astrid made the news twenty years prior for being kidnapped for a month and then returned close to Fern’s hometown. What he doesn’t know, though, is that Astrid’s face has haunted Fern’s nightmares for as long as she can remember.
Fern takes the opportunity of helping her dad pack to try and find the missing woman herself. Twenty years ago, Astrid disappeared without a trace but her newly released memoir reveals that there was a witness. Is Fern the witness that never came forward? And, if so, why can’t she remember meeting Astrid at all? Read Behind The Red Door to find out!
After a couple chapters in of Behind The Red Door, I thought that it wasn’t Collins’ best work. In her other two novels, the characters had their faults but they were, for the most part, very likeable. I felt connections to the people that I was reading about and that just wasn’t the case with Behind The Red Door.
Fern’s father was a nightmare and Fern, herself, wasn’t my favorite leading lady. From the start of this book, you can tell that her anxiety is absolutely crippling and understandably so. However, I was hoping for moments of her strength to shine through and this never happened. About halfway through, I admit that I stopped rooting for her because her character development was so minimal.
As far as the story line goes, it was fine. Now, I know that the books that I like to read have far fetched plots but this one was way too impossible for my liking. This also made it difficult to care for any of the characters because everything about Behind The Red Door was just so unlikely. I will say that the grand reveal was good and I didn’t figure it out, which is always a plus.
Overall, I am going to rate Behind The Red Door with a five out of ten stars. A writer’s work can’t all be winners and this book was a prime example of that. I wouldn’t recommend reading this one but do give The Family Plot or The Winter Sister a try because they were excellent.
What are you currently reading? What should I read next? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah