Seared

By Sandra Gustafsson

Thriller, Crime & mystery | Paperback, eBook


Helena is incarcerated. She has crossed the lines, but what has she done? Once a week, Helena see a psychologist and talks with him, and the truth is presented piece by piece. For several years she had a relationship with a man who gave her the courage to live, despite her dark secrets, but she was always "the other woman" and finally Helena's fragile world crashes. We meet Helena in shards: talks with the psychologist interspersed with flashbacks to her childhood and Helena's inner conversation with the love of her life. The story is full of nerves and tension rises with the realization of who Helena really is. "Seared" is a psychological thriller that depicts a broken woman's desperate attempts to create a life worth living.



Sandra Gustafsson was born in 1972. Her first book was the autobiographical narrative The Dandelion Kid (2006), presented in readings and conference discussions over the following seven years. In 2006 LEVA! newspaper listed her among the year's 100 most inspiring persons. In 2007 The Dandelion Kid was shortlisted for Stockholm novel of the year. In 2010 she published the psychological thriller Seared. In May of 2014 her second psychological thriller The Rival appeared. In August 2015 her third psychological thriller Skinless will be released.


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Sandra Gustafsson was born in 1972. Her first book was the autobiographical narrative The Dandelion Kid (2006), presented in readings and conference discussions over the following seven years. In 2006 LEVA! newspaper listed her among the year's 100 most inspiring persons. In 2007 The Dandelion Kid was shortlisted for Stockholm novel of the year. In 2010 she published the psychological thr...


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Latest news

Book Awards finalist

7 February

In November 2015 Seared was one of the finalists in the mystery/thriller category in "The Red City Review Book Awards".

Review

2 January

"I almost didn't read this book after reading the beginning. Some books that talk about sex have no story line. This one really kept me intrigued. I wanted to know why she was institutionalized. It really let you into a troubled mind. I wanted to read ahead to find out why she was there. A really good story." - Goodreads

Review

2 January

"With Helena, the author manages to create one of the most complex characters that I’ve read in a while. Neither likeable nor unlikeable, she is so thoroughly affected by a lifetime of events that while not exactly relatable, all of her actions are understandable./.../As for the ending, the author manages to answer enough questions about events that lead to Helena’s current situation to leave the reader satisfied, but leaves enough unanswered to keep the reader intrigued even when they’ve finished reading. This is a difficult balance to achieve and Sandra Gustafsson does it perfectly." - Goodreads

Review

2 January

"Incredibly intense story. Sandra Gustafssons prose is precise and fascinating. Every word is emotionally charged and the book is so psychologically intense you almost forget to breathe. Magnificently written." - Amazon

Review

2 January

"This book surely gets under your skin from first to last line and you cant stop reading. It awakenes all your emphatic senses! You wish you could just get hold of the maincarachter and help her. What in your childhood and youth shapes the adult you become? Seared carries a feeling of a closeness to cathastrophy." - Amazon

Review

2 January

"OMG the character development of this girl is phenomenal. Great work by Ms. Gustafson. My first book by this author but definitely not my last." - Amazon

Review

2 January

"I would still highly recommend this to anyone who enjoys complex characters and psychological thrillers." - Goodreads

Book Awards

2 January

Seared was one of the finalist in the category mystery/thriller in The Red City Review Book Awards 2015!

Review

19 October

“Seared” is an intense psychological thriller by Sandra Gustafsson. Born to parents who showed her betrayal instead of unconditional love, Helena is a broken person. When she falls in love with a married man, she continues to live a life full of secrets and pain. As her story emerges, the reader sees that she is currently incarcerated because of something that happened to her boyfriend. Attending weekly appointments with a psychologist, the events that led up to this point are revealed. Helena’s mind takes her back to different events that happened in her life. These abusive and neglectful events taught her how to shut down and close herself off from others, both physically and emotionally, to protect herself. When Helena meets her lover, she lets her guard down. Feeling sure that he truly loves only her, she tries to ignore his marital status. This becomes impossible when his wife becomes pregnant. In spite of the circumstances, Helena is certain that he truly wants to be with her. When she is forced to realize that this is not the case, she really begins to fall apart. The darkness and despair, which she has carried inside her for her whole life, completely engulfs her until she acts out in desperation. Her actions become her undoing. "Seared” by Sandra Gustafsson really is appropriately titled, because Helena’s story stayed with me long after I finished the novel. The author truly brings the pain this character experienced to life when she tells her story. It is easy to see how she became the person that she did. It was also difficult to watch her suffer, as it felt so real to me. This is definitely a novel that should be read by people who enjoy intense psychological stories. It is not a light read. Reviewed by Paige Lovitt for Reader Views (07/15)


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“Seared” is an intense psychological thriller by Sandra Gustafsson. Born to parents who showed her betrayal instead of unconditional love, Helena is a broken person. When she falls in love with a married man, she continues to live a life full of secrets and pain. As her story emerges, the reader sees that she is currently incarcerated because of something that happened to her boyfriend. Attending weekly appointments with a psychologist, the events that led up to this point are revealed. Helena’s mind takes her back to different events that happened in her life. These abusive and neglectful events taught her how to shut down and close herself off from others, both physically and emotionally, to protect herself. When Helena meets her lover, she lets her guard down. Feeling sure that he tr...


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Review

19 October

SEARED is not a novel meant to comfort. It is a novel meant to disturb and unsettle, and Gustafsson has indeed accomplished that with Helena. ~IndieReader

5 star review

22 September

"In Seared, the first psychological thriller released by author Sandra Gustafsson, the reader is introduced to our protagonist, Helena. Helena is incarcerated, but we're not quite sure what she's done. Told in a unique and creative style, featuring times in Helena's present and past, as well as her innermost thoughts, the reader is charged with piecing together just what has happened to this woman to land her in the circumstances that she is in. Working with a psychologist to try to stitch together her memories and figure out the difference between reality and invention, and conversing in her mind with the man who was the love of her life, Helena must dig deeply into her own psyche if she has a chance of finding out who she really is and what she has really done. Seared was an incredibly intriguing read. It's not necessarily an easy one; the reader will need to be dedicated to learning about Helena and her past. At times, it will feel as if the reader is along with her on her journey, trying to figure out exactly what has happened to this shattered soul. Author Sandra Gustafsson is skilled at writing in such a way that the reader will need to keep on guessing, keep on reading, to find out what happened. Seared is a book that would be most enjoyed by readers who love creative writing, a psychological thriller, or just a plain great work of fiction." - Tracy A. Fischer for Readers' Favorite


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"In Seared, the first psychological thriller released by author Sandra Gustafsson, the reader is introduced to our protagonist, Helena. Helena is incarcerated, but we're not quite sure what she's done. Told in a unique and creative style, featuring times in Helena's present and past, as well as her innermost thoughts, the reader is charged with piecing together just what has happened to this woman to land her in the circumstances that she is in. Working with a psychologist to try to stitch together her memories and figure out the difference between reality and invention, and conversing in her mind with the man who was the love of her life, Helena must dig deeply into her own psyche if she has a chance of finding out who she really is and what she has really done. Seared was an incredibl...


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