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Lest She Forget: Psychological Thriller

Lest She Forgetdebut psychological thriller by Lisa Malice

Guest Post + Excerpt + Book & Author Info + A Giveaway!

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Lest She Forget

Lest She Forget

Haunted by a forgotten past. Hunted by a ruthless killer. No one to save her but herself.

After surviving a car crash, Kay Smith wakes from a coma with amnesia, a battered face, and no one to vouch for her identity. Her psychiatrist is convinced that her memory loss is connected to the horrific flashbacks and nightmares haunting her. As she digs for clues to her past, Kay uncovers a shady character following her every inquiry.

Who is he? And what does he want from her? As Kay’s probes deepen, she realizes that everyone around her has deadly secrets to hide—even her. Emerging memories, guilty suspicions, and headline-screaming murders push Kay to come out of the shadows and choose: will she perpetuate a horrendous lie or risk her life to uncover the truth?  

Book Details:

Genre: Psychological Thriller

Published by: CamCat Books

Publication Date: December 2023

Number of Pages: 368

ISBN: 9780744307153 (ISBN10: 0744307155)

To purchase Lest She Forget, click on any of the following links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | | Goodreads | CamCat Books

Guest Post

The Appeal of Memory Loss in Our Stories (And Lives)

By Lisa Malice, Ph.D.

Everyone loves a good amnesia story. Authors and scriptwriters love to cook them up, readers and TV/film fans love to devour them. Don’t believe me? Plug “amnesia” into BookBub’s search engine and you’ll get a list of 2,977 books across a variety of genres that interweave memory loss as a plot point, among them dozens of bestsellers. The Movie Database lists 298 feature films with amnesia as a key element, starting with Across the Atlantic, a 1928 romantic suspense about two lovers separated by war and a forgotten memory. The list includes numerous book-to-film blockbusters, such as Girl on the Train, Before I Go to Sleep, and the five movies in the Jason Bourne series.

Why do we, as readers and viewers, find amnesia stories so appealing? That depends on who you talk to. A mystery and thriller writer (such as myself) would draw from the examples above and press the point that we enjoy casting our lot with the memory-challenged protagonists, racing along, just as desperate as the heroes and heroines, to uncover the clues to their buried pasts before any harm can come to them. Along the way, we encounter—often delightfully so—surprises, twists, and revelations that challenge our assumptions and expectations until the tale ends with a satisfying triumph over evil, with justice prevailing over corruption, envy, and greed. 

Psychologists (again, me) would suggest that amnesia stories allow us to explore the nature of memory and identity. How much of who we are depends on what we remember? What happens when we lose our memories or gain new ones? How would we cope with the uncertainty and confusion of not knowing ourselves or our past?

The 2001 film Regarding Henry explores these questions with Harrison Ford playing the role of a man who miraculously survives a bullet to the brain during a convenience store robbery—though the memory of his life does not. Henry, a high-powered, philandering attorney and head of an unhappy, dysfunctional family, never recovers from his amnesia, leaving his old, flawed self behind to start life anew. The path Henry takes, the choices he makes—vastly different from those he made in his forgotten past—yield more satisfying outcomes for Henry, who becomes the loving, attentive soul his wife and child so desperately missed and needed in their lives.                                                                                                                                                                       

The psychologist in me also would point out that the happy ending Henry and his family achieve reflects a desire many of us experience once in a while when life gets us down—the desire to escape from reality, start over, and re-invent oneself. One film that exemplifies these three desires and pulls them together so perfectly is Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Jim Carey and Kate Winslet play a couple in such a troubled relationship that they each undergo a procedure to have their memories of each other—every recollection from the moment they met—erased from their minds (escape). But Fate plays its hand. The two lovers find each other once again (start over), only to have their newfound love threatened by the discovery of recordings revealing the distressing problems the couple grappled with in their forgotten lives. In the end, they give in to what Fate seems to have in store for them and stay together, committed to learning from their mistakes and finding happiness the second time around (re-invent).

Similarly, my debut psychological thriller, Lest She Forget, offers a tale of memory repression. As in Beloved, the story follows a young woman struggling with the aftermath of a soul-searing psychological trauma. Her psychogenic memory loss goes much deeper, however, leaving her without a name, nor a past to claim as her own. Her psychiatrist is convinced that her amnesia is connected to the horrific flashbacks and nightmares that haunt her.

As the woman digs for clues to her past, she uncovers a shady character following her every inquiry. Who is he? And what does he want from her? As her probe deepens, she realizes that everyone around her has deadly secrets to hide―even her. Emerging memories, guilty suspicions, and headline-screaming murders push her to come out of the shadows and choose: will she perpetuate a horrendous lie or risk her life to uncover the truth? 

A sociologist (not me, this time) might offer that amnesia stories are popular when they are used as a metaphor for social and cultural issues, such as the effects of trauma, oppression, or erasure on individuals and groups. Toni Morrison’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel Beloved (1987) is a prime example. The American gothic psychological horror story was inspired by the 1856 criminal trial of Margaret Garner, a runaway slave from Kentucky who, after being hunted down by a posse, took desperate measures to keep her children from suffering a horrific life of bondage—she killed her infant daughter, then attempted the same on her remaining brood.

Beloved is a haunting indictment of the Atlantic slave trade, dedicated to the “sixty million and more” who lived and died in bondage, and told through the eyes of freed slaves in the post-Civil War years. It fictionalizes the collective horrors inflicted on Black slaves, their struggle with the loss of identity and self-fragmentation, and the unconscious desire to dissociate from the past and its horrific memories. The tale of collective human tragedy brilliantly illuminates an oppressive chapter of US history, the sharing of which can be helpful in healing the deep wounds left behind and creating a more just and unifying society for all.

What are your favorite stories of memory loss? Why do you find them so appealing? If you could wipe your mind of one memory in your life, what would you choose and why?




Read an excerpt of Lest She Forget:

The loud heavy beat of my heart echoes in my ears, pulsing in sync with the car’s wipers as they furiously slap at the snow alighting the windshield. The frantic rhythm draws me in as I stare ahead into the darkening night and the thick snowflakes swirling in the beams of the headlights. The effect is almost mesmerizing.

My eyelids start to droop. I want nothing more than to sleep, let my mind shut off. Under slumber’s spell, the ache in my heart would subside, the guilt in my soul would vanish, and, if I was lucky, I’d wake up to find that the words I heard earlier today were just part of a gruesome dream, an awful nightmare.

She’s dead.

My chest tightens, my heart races as my thoughts are pulled toward our last moments together. Fraught with suspicion, accusations, anger. My eyes tear up.

It’s your fault.

The words reverberate in my ears as my head starts to throb. How could I have been so stupid and naïve to fall for that man’s lies, his manipulations? If I could go back in time and change everything, fix my mistakes, right a host of wrongs, I would. Things would have turned out differently. Two—no, three—people would still be alive. But there’s no going back. Worse, I see no path forward, at least not one I can live with.

My gaze is drawn to a hazy pair of headlights reflected in the rearview mirror. A chill runs down my spine, even as a bead of sweat trickles down the side of my face. My fingers, clenched atop the steering wheel, go numb as my foot presses down on the accelerator.

“Calm down,” I tell myself. I can’t let fear trick me into imagining what is not there.

I squeeze my eyes shut for a second, then open them again and glance into the side mirror. They’re still there, those headlights, keeping pace with me. I focus on the road in front of me, take a deep breath, and let it out slowly. “Get a grip,” I tell myself. “If he wanted me dead, I wouldn’t have made it this far.”

Staring ahead, a forest of tall pines engulfs the road, blocking out much of the remaining daylight and casting a gloom all around that grows blacker and grimmer with each fleeting moment. But I can’t go back. Not now. I’d have to face the truth, accept my own culpability, surrender myself, my life, my future. I’m not ready to do that.

I turn on the radio and press the scan button, hoping for a distraction. Music pours through the speakers in short clips—Spanish, hard rock, country, polka—and then a soft, familiar melody, its words just on the tip of my tongue.

“. . . I would surrender my soul, if it would bring back yours . . .”

My gut twists with remorse. The pain is cut short as the radio scanner moves to the next station.

“. . . Could you forgive me, if I made it to Heaven . . .”

Tears well up in my eyes as the radio, again, moves on.

“. . . My name won’t be on St. Peter’s list . . .”

A mournful sob erupts from deep inside me. My hands, clutching the steering wheel, suddenly go weak and start to tremble. Those songs, their lyrics—words that never held any personal meaning—now haunt me. It’s as if some cosmic disc jockey knows what I’ve done and doesn’t want—no—won’t let me forget it.

“Please, no more!” I shout.

A woman’s voice pops over the speakers, a news program. “Finally, I sigh, poking the scan button to set the station.

“. . . it’s time for a quick station break, after which we’ll go to a weather update with WCVA’s meteorologist, Alec Bohanan. Our weather team says this blizzard hitting Virginia and much of the East Coast, the first significant snow event of 2017, is a bad one. It could be a killer, so sit tight at home and keep your radio dial tuned to this station . . .”

She’s right. The snow is coming down thicker and heavier with each passing mile. The roads will only get worse. But I need to press on. I must get home. I can think better there. Figure out what options I have left.

My attention is pulled back to the voice on the radio. “When the last segment of The June Jeffries Show returns, we’ll join the Virginia State Police press conference with breaking news on the missing person case of—”

It’s your fault.

The words echo in my ears, pulsing louder and faster with each echo, drowning out the newscaster’s voice. I slam my fist down on the radio’s power button.

Suddenly, flashes of light bounce off the windshield. The muscles in my jaw tighten. My neck stiffens. My hands, locked in a death grip on the steering wheel, grow cold, numb. My gaze darts to the rearview mirror. Unable to look away from the looming vehicle behind me, I throw my left arm up to block its intense beams.

The steering wheel jerks to the right, pitching the passenger-side wheels off the road. I grasp the steering wheel with both hands and pull to the left, but overcorrect. The car careens across the snow-swept blacktop, skids beyond the center line.

When I finally pull the car into the right lane, my heart is pounding, my body trembling, while my grip on the steering wheel goes weak. 

*** Excerpt from Lest She Forget by Lisa Malice. Copyright 2023 by Lisa Malice. Reproduced with permission from Lisa Malice. All rights reserved.


Lisa Malice, author of Lest She Forget

Lest She ForgetLisa Malice earned her B.S. in psychology at the University of Minnesota, her M.S. and Ph.D. at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Her debut novel, Lest She Forget, a psychological thriller, was a finalist in five unpublished manuscript contests. Lisa is an active member of Sisters in Crime, International Thriller Writers, Mystery Writers of America, and the Authors Guild.

A native of Minnesota, Lisa lived in the Atlanta area with her husband for nearly thirty years before moving to the Tampa area in 2019 to enjoy a life of sailing, fishing, and shelling on the Florida Gulf Coast. They have two adult children and a granddog.


Find out more about Lisa by clicking any of the following links: Website, Goodreads, Instagram, X, Facebook


Visit all the Stops on the Tour!

Lest She Forget

11/20 Guest post @ The Book Divas Reads
11/20 Showcase @ Silvers Reviews
11/21 Review @ Country Mamas With Kids
11/22 Interview @ darciahelle
11/22 Showcase @ Books, Ramblings, and Tea
11/23 Review @ Guatemala Paula Loves to Read
11/24 Review @ Stormy Nights Reviewing & Bloggin
11/25 Review @ Book Reviews From an Avid Reader
11/26 Guest post @ The Mystery of Writing
11/27 Showcase @ Nesies Place
11/28 Review @ Review Thick & Thin
11/29 Review @ Novels Alive
11/29 Review @ Reading is my Superpower
11/30 Review @ Catreader18
12/01 Review @ fundinmental
12/04 Review @ Urban Book Reviews
12/05 Podcast interview @ Blog Talk Radio
12/05 Showcase @ Celticladys Reviews
12/06 Review @ Wall-to-wall Books
12/08 Review @ Lynchburg Reads
12/10 Review @ Paws. Read. Repeat
12/11 Showcase @ Archaeolibrarian – I Dig Good Books!
12/12 Review @ ashmanda. k
12/13 Showcase @ fuonlyknew
12/14 Review @ Mystery, Thrillers, and Suspense


Elena Taylor/Elena Hartwell

Eddie Shoes

Elena Hartwell

Author and developmental editor.

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Wendy B

    “Everyone loves a good amnesia story.” ~ I DO love a good amnesia story! LOL
    Wow, “2,977 books” ~ I have a lot to catch up on!

    Can’t wait to start this one!

  2. Lisa Malice

    Thanks for joining me on my book tour. I’m glad you enjoyed my blog post! Please follow me on Facebook or Instagram, then let me know what you think of Lest She Forget!

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