Category:  Adult Fiction (18+), 336 pages
Genre:  Psychological Suspense
Publisher:  Enigma Books, imprint of Spectrum Books, UK
Release date:   Nov 18, 2023
Tour dates: Nov 20 to Dec 8
Content Rating:  PG-13. One scene of violence, no sexual scene


Book Description:

In October 1992, Dr. Ellen Haskell begins a new therapy practice in Princeton after a tragic error with a former client. Demoralized by her failure, Ellen strives to restore her emotional and professional confidence. Her parents have departed for Greece, leaving Ellen alone in their secluded country house. As the reader is introduced to her roster of clients through their individual sessions, Ellen becomes unnerved when she receives hang-up phone calls and a series of bizarre gifts from an anonymous admirer—at first at her office and then at home. As the obsessive lover increasingly invades her life, Ellen’s anxiety crescendos and she begins to fear the stalker’s behavior will escalate into violence.

The Psychologist’s Shadow is a portrait of a compassionate, introspective therapist who finds herself in a dangerous struggle with an unknown stalker. The novel is a simmering literary suspense, one in which tension accumulates as the reader gains insights during sessions with clients—one of whom may be the psychologist’s shadow—and through the stalker’s journal entries, which serve as a discordant counterpoint.

Excerpt: The Psychologist’s Shadow by Laury A. Egan

[note: the journal entries are interspersed throughout the main narration]


I’ve been searching for so long. To find the One, and finally I’ve found you. The last time I felt this way, it was all wrong—I was wronged—but not now. Now I’m sure. As you asked, I will prove my loyalty.

Dear Ellen, I’m waiting and watching for your signal.


Chapter One

The October fog was oppressive. Unlike the poet’s description, it didn’t move on little cat’s feet but in dense curtains of white, slicking every surface and thrusting its damp fingers down the collar of my trench coat. As I approached my office, I stared at the gift from my mother, a new brass plate: “Dr. Ellen J. Haskell, Clinical Psychologist.” I smiled at her kindness, used my keys to unlock the outer door, and climbed upstairs, feeling that the weather was being ushered in with me. In many ways it was, because my mood was as heavy as the air outside. It was on a foggy day such as this, six months ago in the spring, as the dogwoods were blossoming in New York City, when my confidence as a psychotherapist was severely shaken.

            Lucas Constantinou was a gifted classical guitarist, tall, slender, and strong, with virile dark looks. Perhaps it was his heritage, but he reminded me of a Greek warrior-athlete. Lucas had begun counseling after falling down a flight of icy steps and breaking his right wrist and four fingers when he had thrust his hand forward to protect his face. The other bruises healed, but despite two surgeries, his fingers and wrist would never regain the dexterity needed to play the guitar at a professional level. Thus, a year after a glorious debut and dozens of performance opportunities in America and Europe, Lucas’ career was finished. He found work as an instructor but making music was his joy, his life’s singular passion. Lucas had been in therapy with me for three months with very little improvement in his depression.

            Despite my strenuous efforts to maintain a professional distance, I was attracted to Lucas, miserably so. In fact, fearing that I could no longer remain impartial, I had planned to refer him to another therapist, though I didn’t intend to reveal the reason. I was in the process of devising an explanation when the unthinkable occurred.

            Like this Wednesday morning, the fog had erased the sun. I remembered watering the purple hyacinth on my window sill, noting the cheerfulness of the hyacinth’s color even in the gray light. Lucas was my first client. Knowing he was probably sitting in the outer room, waiting, filled me with pleasure. Already my intention to terminate our professional relationship had wavered.

            Promptly at ten, I opened the door and there he was, smiling, but with tears in his eyes.

            He rose to his feet. “I’m sorry, Ellen.”

            “Lucas, what’s wrong?”

            Just as I asked the question, I smelled it—gasoline—and saw the gallon container behind his chair. Before I could say a word, Lucas flicked a cigarette lighter into flame, and with it, himself. He shrieked in agony and fell to the floor.

            “No!” I screamed. “No!”

            Horrified, my brain froze. Then I rushed into my office and pulled the rug from under the coffee table. I ran back and smothered his writhing body, smelling his charred flesh and the stench of gasoline and hearing his heart-rending cries.


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Meet the Author:

Laury A. Egan is the author of eleven novels, The Firefly; Once, Upon an Island; Wave in D Minor; Turnabout; Doublecrossed; The Swimmer; The Ungodly Hour; A Bittersweet Tale; Fabulous! An Opera Buffa; The Outcast Oracle; and Jenny Kidd; in addition to a collection, Fog and Other Stories. Four limited-edition poetry volumes have been published: Snow, Shadows, a Stranger; Beneath the Lion’s Paw; The Sea & Beyond” and Presence & Absence.”She lives on the northern coast of New Jersey.

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