I’m delighted to share a guest post by author Elizabeth Heathcote, whose psychological thriller UNDERTOW releases June 13th!
I always love learning what books inspire or interest crime authors, and in this post, Elizabeth shares a wonderfully well-rounded list of five novels with strong psychological components. My personal favorite thing about this list? Elizabeth is herself a crime writer, yet in this list she encourages us to look at a whole variety of novels through the psychological intrigue they offer. But first things first: a little bit about UNDERTOW…
I didn’t mean to read UNDERTOW in one sitting, but that’s exactly what ended up happening. UNDERTOW is a light suspense read that delves into the secrets hidden in a seemingly-perfect marriage. It’s the kind of psychological thriller you can easily devour all at once: it’s fast-paced and not too dark or twisted. My favorite element of this book? How the author subtly illustrates the main character's increasing paranoia and manic obsession with uncovering the truth about her husband. For my full thoughts on UNDERTOW, including what kind of reader I think this book will work best for, read my review here!
Plot Summary: UNDERTOW by Elizabeth Heathcote
They said her death was a tragic accident. And I believed them…until now.
Carmen is happily married to Tom, although she knows she'll always live in the shadow of another woman—the mistress who ended his first marriage: Zena. Mercurial, mesmerizing, manipulative Zena—a woman who, Carmen begins to discover, had the potential to incite the darkest of emotions. Zena, who drowned in the sea late one night.
Zena seems ever-more present, even in death, and when Carmen unknowingly stumbles on evidence that her husband has not been telling her the whole truth, she can't shake her unease. As she uncovers documents and photographs, a very different tale than the one Tom has led her to believe begins to unfold, and she finds herself increasingly isolated and paranoid. As the twisted events of that night begin to come to light, Carmen must ask herself if it's really a truth worth knowing…even if it destroys her and the lives of the people she loves most.
About the Author:
Elizabeth Heathcote worked as a feature writer and editor on newspapers and magazines for many years before writing her first novel, Undertow. Her jobs have included women's editor and deputy features editor at the Independent on Sunday, as well as freelance writing for publications such as the Independent, Observer, Guardian, Psychologies and Marie Claire. She lives in London.
Guest Post: Elizabeth Heathcote Picks 5 Great Psychological Novels
1. Notes on a Scandal – Zoe Heller
Beautiful, privileged art teacher Sheba destroys her life and marriage when she has an affair with a pupil – but Barbara, a lonely older colleague, is there to pick up the pieces… Heller’s deep insight into her characters’ needs and obsessions makes this a convincing and creepy read. // Read more here.
2. Rebecca – Daphne du Maurier
This incredibly internal story tracks the spiral into paranoia of the second Mrs de Winter as she struggles to compete with the memory her husband’s mesmerising dead ex. But her own insecurities are preventing her from seeing a much darker truth … // Read more here.
3. Atonement – Ian McEwan
The first half of this book is a nail-biting tale of potent psychological forces coming together in a perfect storm. It all happens in just one day, but leads to a huge injustice, with life-long consequences. // Read more here.
4. An Artist of the Floating World - Kazuo Ishiguro
The seemingly gentle reminiscences of retired artist in post-war Japan turn out to mask a very different life, of complicity with evil. Or was it? This is a wonderful, subtle study of the inner processes of justification, denial and guilt. // Read more here.
5. The Great Gatsby – F Scott Fitzgerald
This is one of my favourite novels, a morality tale and acute observation of the effects of privilege – and the lack of it. The narcissism and sense of entitlement of Daisy and Tom has devastating, murderous results. // Read more here.
UNDERTOW Book Details
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Park Row Books (June 13, 2017)
Amazon link here
Many thanks to Elizabeth for writing this guest post, and to her publisher for facilitating! I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. All opinions my own.