Secrets In The Mirror - Book Review

Secrets In The Mirror

Author: Leslie Kain
Genre: Fiction - General
Publisher: Atmosphere Press
Date Published: September 13, 2022
ISBN-10: 1639884076
ISBN-13: 9781639884285

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Book Review of :  Secrets In The Mirror


Leslie Kain's compelling psychological story, Secrets in the Mirror, puts a twist on the classic coming-of-age tale. Following two mirror twin boys, her work exposes how multigenerational psychosis can manifest in radically different ways despite their identical physical characteristics. By exploring these deep and dark themes of identity, morality, and love, this thriller provides an engaging narrative that will have readers captivated till the very end. This is a story with a dark psychological twist.

The speculative fiction begins in the late 20th century (1994) and spans eleven years into 2005. The boys' distinctive personalities are exposed through dialog between them as Devon asserts his dominance over Gavin. He is ten minutes older and constantly reminds Gavin of his superior intellect and physical prowess. Gavin's mild-natured personality is emphasized by his interest in cooking and the culinary arts. He resents but accepts Devon's taunting. The love-hate relationship between the brothers is intensified because their father has reared Devon to be tough and smart while insisting that Gavin is secondary and responsible for looking out for Devon.

When Devon's drug involvement leads to a car accident, Gavin is made to feel the weight of responsibility. While Devon is hospitalized and undergoing treatment for his injuries, it becomes clear that he has a severe mental illness: Malignant Narcissistic Personality Disorder (MNPD). This disorder reveals itself through deceitful yet charming behavior wherein one seeks dominance in all situations - regardless if they are equipped with enough expertise or not. Readers glimpse into an intricate portrait of manipulation as we come face-to-face with someone striving desperately to retain control at any cost.

From a young age, Gavin has been labeled as the 'loser' of his family. His father's low expectations and brother's superiority left an imprint on him that he had to battle against  – causing him to doubt himself. The decades of inferior feelings and self-doubt made every day an uphill battle for him. As a result, Gavin struggles with becoming his own person while fighting his belief that he must "save" his brother.

The generational dysfunction and toxic relationships rapidly develop in the complex plot. The polarity of differences between the two boys escalates as Devon becomes involved with the Italian North End Boston mob. The emotional trauma of the best and worst in humankind gives the reader much to ponder. Are we a product of childhood or culture? Nature or nurture?

A novel of familial tumult and uncertainty, this story dives deep into the complexities of epigenetics- a phenomenon that will leave readers in awe. Plunged into an emotional journey full of suspense, readers are invited to consider their own family relationships as they become engrossed by the characters' intricate arcs and personal dilemmas. This psychological mystery is genuinely unforgettable: prepare yourself for a haunting read!

Reviewed by: carole

About Leslie Kain


Leslie Kain was always writing something when she was a kid, but in her careers (psychology, Government Intelligence, nonprofits), her writing was limited to nonfiction. Once she began dabbling in fiction, her short stories found their way into literary journals and anthologies. She developed personal relationships with her characters, who nagged her into longer stories. Her second novel, 'Secrets In The Mirror' is the first to be published, by Atmosphere press. Kain earned degrees in psychology from Wellesley College and an MBA from Boston University, and leverages her education, training, and experience in psychology to write stories of inner conflict and emotional transformation. Originally from 'all over' the U.S. (although a piece of her heart remains in Boston), she now resides in Mexico with her husband and 16-year-old cat Sheba.

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