PLOT: 4/5 CHARACTERS: 4/5 WRITING STYLE: 4/5 CLIMAX: 4.5/5 ENTERTAINMENT QUOTIENT: 4.5/5
“Do you know what Henry David Thoreau believed? “Happiness is like a butterfly; the more you chase it, the more it will elude you. But if you turn your attention to other things, it will come and sit softly on your shoulder.”– B A Paris, The Therapist
In search of an engaging psychological thriller, I was browsing my Goodreads account when I came across B.A. Paris’s latest release, The Therapist. Having read Behind Closed Doors by the same author, I knew I could count on her writing to engage the mystery lover in me. And thus began my journey of reading The Therapist, a book that I enjoyed thoroughly.
Read on to know how did I find it and whether I recommend the book or not?
What to expect?
Expect a gripping psychological mystery that is an ideal combination of a domestic thriller and a murder mystery. Expect an entertaining read. Expect a book that talks about closed gated neighborhoods and the secrets that they harbor.
Who can read?
The language is British English which can be understood by beginners. However, new readers might find the setting and backdrop a little cumbersome to maneuver.
The story as it goes
Alice is a freelancer who translates books for a living. Having survived a traumatic past, the ghosts of which continue to haunt her, Alice is an introvert and quite selective in her company.
It is only after meeting and falling in love with Leo that Alice finds some semblance of happiness and normality in her life. When Alice and Leo shift to London and move into a newly revamped house in a closed gated community, they feel happy and accomplished. It finally feels like their dream life.
But the neighborhood is not as open and friendly as it looks. Alice realizes that looks can be deceptive. There is some secret that everyone seems to be hiding. Soon she discovers a haunting detail about her current house, one that she cannot ignore.
She learns about Nina, the therapist who lived in the same house two years ago and starts developing a weird sort of connection with her. As she tries to uncover the mysteries of the past, others try to bury them even deeper.
Who is Nina?
Why is Alice so obsessed with her?
What secrets her neighbors are hiding?
Is all of this somehow connected to Alice’s past?
What about the characters?
Let’s talk about the main characters. Alice is agreeable as a character. Not much brilliant with putting two and two together, but agreeable nevertheless. I wanted Alice to be smarter about her choices and decisions but alas! that never happened.
It is the other characters in the neighborhood, whose roles are limited but exciting. They add the necessary drama to the story. Nina, even in her absence is an interesting character, although we never really learn much about her.
Leo is barely tolerable. He’s either absent or indifferent or disinterested. He is someone you will easily forget.
How good is the writing?
The Therapist is a slow but engaging read, where you are offered only bits and pieces of the mystery in the early chapters. Right until the end, most things appear hazy and vague. There are plot twists meant to throw the reader off course. And this works quite well in the climax.
There is a visible lack of romance. Forget passion, there isn’t even simple companionship between the two people who are supposed to be madly in love. Either the romance part is badly written, or Alice is delusional.
The pace of the book quickens towards the end and that’s where things start to heat up. It’s not a book that I would classify as a ‘must not miss’ read, but it won’t be wrong to call it a decent entertainer. If you enjoy darker thrillers, this is not the book for you.
Instead, consider it as a much lighter version of a dark psychological thriller.
What did I like?
The concept of a gated community brimming with secrets immediately arouses interest. The circle of ladies snooping around, keeping secrets, both forming and faking friendships reminds one of the television series Desperate Housewives.
I love how the main story is interspersed with cryptic conversations between a therapist and her patient. This creates an additional shroud of mystery that goes well with the storyline.
What could have been better?
The romance angle could either have been better or removed altogether. The chemistry is missing right from the very beginning and that makes the reader question Alice’s choices.
The pace also drags towards the middle as things get monotonous and repetitive.
How good was the climax?
The climax gives the story a befitting end. It is fast-paced, exciting, and unpredictable. There are some loose ends but most of the jumbled pieces finally make sense towards the end.
Is the book entertaining?
The Therapist is entertaining. Despite its subtle flaws, it comes across as a book that can easily be read in a day or two. The drama and the mystery are decent and so is the climax that serves well to give it a good conclusion.
In the end
In the end, The Therapist is a slightly less sinister version of a psychological thriller. It is the story of a woman who gets obsessed with the mystery that surrounds the previous occupant of her house. Thick with drama and intrigue, it’s a light read that doles out entertainment in decent doses.
The final verdict
Go for it!
Pick the book if
- You are looking for an effortless read.
- You enjoy domestic and psychological thrillers.
- You are looking for a decent entertainer.
- The idea of a gated community brimming with secrets appeals to you.
Skip the book if
- You are looking for something extremely dark and psychotic.
- You don’t like characters that act and behave stupidly.
Other recommended psychological thrillers like this one
- Six Weeks to Live by Catherine McKenzie
- Based on Lies: The Whole Story by Debarshi Kanjilal
- The Last Mrs. Parrish by Liv Constantine
- No Trespassing by Brinda S Narayan
- One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus
- Verity by Colleen Hoover
Can’t wait to read it? Buy your copy of The Therapist using the link below.