Tuesday, December 20, 2016

BookReview: A Flash of Red by Sarah K. Stephens

A Flash of Red
By Sarah K. Stephens
Genre: Psychological Thriller

Focusing on three main characters, A Flash of Red details the chaos that ensues when mental illness invades our most intimate relationships. Professor Anna Klein and her husband, Sean, are a young couple each struggling with their own misperceptions of reality.  While Anna’s daily anxieties turn on the axis of her mother’s path into psychosis, Sean escapes to the alternate reality of love and sex offered online. When Bard, a student of Anna’s, develops his own obsession with the couple, their already unsteady world collapses with irrevocable consequences. As focused on providing a driving plot as it is in presenting multi-faceted characters, A Flash of Red ultimately asks the question: What happens when we can no longer tell the difference between what we want and what is real?      

My Review
Reading this novel was a wild ride. Sarah K. Stephens has created two characters, a married couple - Anna and Sean - who from the outside look incredibly perfect, but things are much darker on the inside. I am still not sure how I feel about Anna. She came off as pretty bougie and was not very likable. Don't get me wrong; Sean has plenty of issues. Together they are a hot mess. 

One of Anna's students becomes delusional about their relationship. While Anna is staying professional, Bard starts mentally unraveling and becomes a danger. This story deals heavily with mental illness and how it can be passed down to other generations. I liked how it was told from the perspective of different characters. I found this novel to be fascinating and enjoyable. 

About the Author

Sarah K. Stephens earned her doctorate in Developmental Psychology and teaches a variety of human development courses as a lecturer at Penn State University. Although Fall and Spring find her in the classroom, she remains a writer year-round. Her short stories have appeared in Five on the Fifth, The Voices Project, The Indianola Review, and the Manawaker Studio’s Flash Fiction Podcast. Her debut novel, A Flash of Red, will be released in December 2016 by Pandamoon Publishing.


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