A FLASH OF RED by SARAH K. STEPHENS #Book review #Thriller @skstephenswrite @pandamoonpub


Publisher: Pandamoon Publishing (Pandamoonpub.com)

Publication Date: December 8, 2016

eBook: ASIN: B01N5DR40X

Print Book: ISBN-13: 978-1-945502-14-9

Pages: 234


Psychology professor Anna Kline and her architect husband, Sean, are a young couple in a fractured marriage, each struggling with their own misperceptions of reality. Sean seeks solace from his perfect wife in the cold intimacy of love and sex offered online, while Anna copes by offering her own oppressive version of devotion. Becoming an ever more tangible presence in their weakening marriage is the question of Anna’s mental state and whether she will follow the same path as her now institutionalized mother.

When Bard, a student of Anna’s with a family history of schizophrenia, discovers Sean’s addiction, Bard’s admiration for Anna morphs into a delusion of special intimacy. Guilt-ridden with his own past failure to protect his older sister, Bard’s skewed mind begins to see Anna as another woman in need of rescue.

As Sean and Anna’s marriage becomes a battleground of manipulation, Bard privately crafts a strategy to save Anna from her husband, sending their three worlds spinning out of control with irrevocable and deadly consequences. A Flash of Red’s driving plot and multi-faceted characters detail the destruction that ensues when mental illness attacks our most intimate relationships.


Oh wow loved this novel by Sarah Stephens that focuses primarily on three characters. Firstly there is Psychology Professor Anna Klein and her husband Sean, an Architect.  In this couples case one and one doesn’t always make two because they are a bit multi layered. Mental illness has been a curse in their families and to put it mildly it certainly makes you think that the gene pool hasn’t been very kind to them. It must be a constant worry when, as Anna has seen, a parent can be lost in a shell that looks like who they were but they have already vacated. Anna of course knows all the facts and figures of chances that this may be her one day.

Then Sean thought he had the perfect wife, Anna had never been with a man before Sean so he could mould her into the perfect bed partner for his more diverse needs but when his mother in law went over the edge so did Anna’s libido. Tensions run high as the marriage is stretched to its limits when mind games take over.

Bard is the third wheel in this story, the only male student of Anna’s, and no one is aware that his mum had schizophrenia. Now is Anna looking at him?  he is sure that there is a connection between them. He knows he wants to know more about her and he knows her look says please look after me. See she is looking again.

This is a brilliant story that is a bit of an eye opener because so many mental illness problems are not obvious. You don’t get a limp or bandage that other people can see. It can hide behind a smile.  This is a super psychological thriller that starts steady and builds into an uncontrollable frenzy of eeny meeny miny mo which of the three is going to blow! Awesome!



Sarah K. Stephens is a developmental psychologist and a senior lecturer at Penn State University. Although Fall and Spring find her in the classroom, she remains a writer year-round. Her short stories and essays have appeared in LitHub, National Book Critics Circle: Critical Mass, Five on the Fifth, The Indianola Review, and (parenthetical). Her debut novel, A Flash of Red, was released in December 2016 by Pandamoon Publishing.

Her novel is currently available on Amazon and BarnesandNoble.com






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