Leslie Kain was always writing something when she was a kid – fantasies, poems, essays, plays, secret plans; culminating in running away across country at fifteen, never looking back. But in her careers (psychology, business, Government Intelligence, nonprofits), her writing was limited to nonfiction: professional, technical, research. Finally dabbling in fiction during spare moments above the clouds, her short stories found their way into literary journals and anthologies. She developed personal relationships with her characters, who relentlessly nagged her into longer stories. Her second novel, ‘Secrets In The Mirror’ is the first to be published; it has won multiple awards. She's currently writing its sequel. She earned degrees in psychology from Wellesley College and an MBA from Boston University, and leverages her education, training and experience in psychology to write dark stories of flawed people whose greatest barriers to happiness lie within them. 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.
Secrets In the Mirror
A psychological thriller perfect for our time, 'Secrets In The Mirror' “toes the fine line between sympathetic and terrifying.”
As conditions of family and community dysfunction rise in Western society, the gripping drama of ‘Secrets In the Mirror’ explores the effects of domestic abuse, narcissism, mental illness and substance use on family members.
Family -- the same people who destroyed Gavin’s self-esteem are the ones he must save. But can he save himself?
Gavin struggles to salvage his self-esteem from Dad’s bullying and from narcissistic abuse by his twin, while Mom resists spousal abuse to assert sanity into the clan. But when Devon gets into drugs and trouble with the Mob, more people die. Gavin flees far away to protect himself and his new family, but he can’t escape his sociopathic brother, or the Mob. Yet inextricable bonds tie him to Devon, and Gavin vows to rescue his twin from his self-destructive path. But he is warned: You can’t save anyone until you save yourself.
Awards and Recognition
- Finalist, in Family Saga category, by American Fiction Awards; Finalist, in both "New (Debut) Fiction" and "Fiction-General" categories
Press and Media Mentions
- “Kain’s grim, character-driven story, which spans a decade, thoughtfully develops its cast. The parents’ relationship, for one, echoes the twins’ dynamic of good versus evil. The novel provides a thoughtful consideration of a disorder that has the capacity to devastate relationships. A somber, absorbing coming-of-age tale.”
- “Kain carries readers along this intense ride with a piercing narrative that highlights the multi-layered effects of physical and emotional trauma… Kain’s passion for mental health advocacy is evident throughout and comes alive with her development of Devon’s personality and the devastating effects it has on loved ones…audiences will relish the tension in this psychological twister. Great for fans of: The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins and The Woman in the Window by A. J. Finn”
- “Leslie Kain delivers a suspensefully entertaining story about the relentless drive to preserve a family, no matter how troubled it may be … The tension begins cascading through the DiMasi home from their first harsh interactions and doesn’t relent until the final electrifying moments. … Deliberately unnerving and impressively intricate, Secrets In The Mirror is a successful psychological thriller that toes the fine line between sympathetic and terrifying.” (5-Star Review)
- “A captivating family drama [about] domestic violence, abuse and addiction, perfectly demonstrating what happens when family trauma and dysfunction are passed down through generations. The characters are complex and layered, for a compelling dynamic. Highly recommended.” (5-Star review)
- “The author successfully exposes the harsh truth about physical and emotional abuse and its psychological effects on one’s self-esteem, self-worth, and growth. RECOMMENDED.”