Judith D Collins
By: Calia Read
Publisher: Random/ Ballantine
Publication Date: 1/12/2016
My Rating: 4 Stars
In Calia Read's electrifying and steamy novel of psychological suspense, a handsome stranger shatters a beautiful young woman's picture-perfect vision of her past.
Hold your breath and count to ten. Soon it will be over before it ever began. No matter how many times Victoria Donovan repeats that phrase to herself, she's still trapped behind the walls of a mental institution. Once upon a time, her life was like a fantasy: Wes, the handsome fiancé, followed by a storybook wedding and a white picket fence. But then a picture-perfect marriage twisted into something sinister. And as Victoria's world warped from dream to nightmare, her husband's obsessions pushed her beyond her breaking point.
At first Fairfax Mental Health Institute seems like a safe place to heal with her baby, Evelyn, and to hide from Wes, presumed dead by everyone except Victoria. Her husband is still alive, she has no doubt: He slips into her room at night to torment and tempt her. One smoldering kiss and she's powerless to resist. Of course, no one believes her about these visits. When she meets a sexy, mysterious stranger intent on helping her recall her past, Victoria isn't sure she can trust him. But deep in her heart, she also knows that the only way out of Fairfax is to remember the way she came in.
Unhinge is intended for mature audiences.
Praise for Calia Read's Unravel “A sexy, mysterious, and enthralling story . . . Calia Read's words are so captivating, they'll hold you hostage and throw you into loops you'll never see coming.”—Claire Contreras, author of There Is No Light in Darkness
A special thank you to Random House and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Behind the walls of Fairfax Mental Hospital, Calia Read returns following the sensational, Unravel (Fairfax #1) with UNHINGE, (Fairfax #2) a shocking, edge-of- your- seat psychological suspense mystery thriller! A mother, trying desperately to escape a prison, (both physically and mentally) -- a haunting past she cannot remember. With heart-pounding intensity, leaving the reader turning the pages into the wee hours of the morning for a mind-blowing twisted surprise—a satisfying ending. A read in "one sitting" kinda book. Set in Falls Creek, Virginia the novel flashes back and forth before the mental hospital, Fairfax, and the present. Secrets. Lies. Betrayal. Obsession. Madness. Evil lurking around every corner. Wes: “The moment I met Victoria, I should’ve know I was doomed. I should have paid attention. Felt the wind against my neck and the goosebumps that prickled my flesh. I didn’t. So I fell. Fell hard. You could say our love was unreal." "Everything about Victoria was mysterious yet beguiling. Her smile spoke of dreams, her lips the promise of something good to come. She held her secrets in one palm and her dreams in the next. And with her eyes dared me to choose one. Ignoring them both, I went for her heart. Then she became my wife.” Victoria: “They say my husband is dead. He is not. It is a lie. No one believes. She is not crazy. He still visits her and she knows she will be leaving Fairfax.” However, Wes says he cannot help her. Mom and baby- Evelyn do not belong in this place. She needs him to get her out of this place. This place is a holding cell. It’s dressed in frills and lace, giving the impression that there’s freedom, but there isn’t. Victoria does not remember her life before Fairfax. A traumatic past. Will her memories return? She has to escape this nightmare. Then there is Sinclair Montgomery. Who is this man trying to help her remember? However, Fairfax does not want him to visit. He has visited every day on the sign in sheet. She was unaware. Can she trust him? Before Fairfax: Victoria was married to Wes. The lawyer who swept her off her feet. In love, they marry and build a beautiful home. However, she desires a baby. He does not. She leaves her nursing job and her own identity to build her world around her husband Wes. Things change. He is controlling, jealous, demanding, abusive. She has to escape this marriage. She is married to an evil monster. He has two sides. Sleeping with the Enemy scary. He knows her every moment. Obsession. Unpredictable. During the construction of their new home, she meets Sinclair Montgomery. He is dashing, she is attracted to him. Brother of her friend and gardener, Renee. As the novel opens, Victoria is a patient at Fairfax. She hates this place. How did she get here? Why? The nurses, especially Alice is ruthless. Alice has one tone—patronizing—an arsenal of three different facial expressions: anger, disgust, and contempt. They love to drug you as most mental patients, so Victoria has taken to hiding her meds in order to get her plan together. Fairfax is not place for a baby.
Slowly through pictures and a doctor who wants to help, Victoria’s painful memories start flooding back, piece by piece. Nothing is making sense. No one believes Wes is alive. They say he is dead. Everyone makes fun of her baby (a dollbaby, versus a real baby)? She thinks it is her real baby girl. Over the course of seven months, readers learn every detail--slowly and painfully. Wow, this was one intense thriller! I was not expecting this, and starting reading at bedtime--at 65% was the first time I looked up to see it was the wee hours of the morning. No way I could sleep with this suspense. I had to find out if Victoria was going to escape and what happened to her. Was so surprised by the ending—did not see this coming. Brilliantly crafted! Immediately, I was rushing to Audible, purchasing the audiobook, Unravel (Fairfax #1)—so intrigued by the “Mommy Dearest.” This was one deliciously evil twisted book -- highly impressed with the author’s writing. Not sure why she has not been on my radar; however, that minor mishap has been rectified. I am not a romance or erotica fan; however, a serious crime, cop procedural, suspense, mystery, and psycho-thriller fan----UNHINGE, is up there with the best of the best. My immediate thoughts—after finishing. Fans of the following will devour UNHINGE: Sandra Brown (romance suspense), A.R. Torre (erotica/psycho), Jennifer Hillier (psycho-thriller), and Candice Fox (psycho/horror). The second storyline was so unexpected. The flashing back and forth was well-done and no problem keeping up. The psychology of its characters and their unstable emotional states-- well developed plot, vivid descriptions-- drawing you into this web of deceit and fear. Read is a strong psycho-thriller author without the romance. I am sure there is a market for the mix; however, since I am not a fan of the romance, skipped over those parts…Still deserving of a strong 4. 5 stars on the psycho-thriller alone. After I finished, my mind was still racing for hours—yes, that good! Nice cover, as well. A new fan! Enjoying Unravel --currently listening. Looking forward to more from this author.
Fairfax #1 UNRAVEL
About the Author
Calia Read lives in Germany with her husband and their four kids.
She's currently working on the third book in the Sloan Brothers Series, Ruin you Completely.
She loves talking with fellow book addicts!! You can e-mail her at: caliaread at gmail dot com. Website