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If you’re looking for a suspenseful psychological thriller that will keep you hooked from beginning to end, look no further than “Black Out” by Lisa Unger. This gripping novel, now available in audiobook format, offers a captivating story that will leave you on the edge of your seat.

In this audiobook review, we’ll be taking a closer look at what makes “Black Out” such a compelling read. From the author’s writing style to the plot twists and character development, we’ll leave no stone unturned in our analysis of this thrilling novel.

Key Takeaways

  • “Black Out” by Lisa Unger is a thrilling psychological thriller that is available in audiobook format.
  • The novel offers an intricate plot, well-crafted characters, and underlying themes that will leave readers captivated and engaged.
  • Unger’s writing style and language contribute to the overall suspenseful tone of the book, making it a must-read for fans of the genre.
  • Critics and readers have given “Black Out” positive reviews, praising its complex storyline and thrilling plot twists.
  • If you’re a fan of psychological thrillers, “Black Out” is a must-read that will keep you on the edge of your seat from start to finish.

About the Author, Lisa Unger

Lisa Unger is a New York Times and internationally bestselling author of seventeen novels, including “Black Out.” With over 1.7 million copies of her books in print around the world, she has been praised as a “masterful storyteller” and “one of the best thriller writers working today.”

Unger is known for her gripping psychological suspense novels that explore the depths of human emotion and the complexity of relationships. Her works often feature strong female protagonists who are forced to confront their darkest fears and navigate dangerous situations.

In addition to her popular standalone novels, Unger has also authored several book series, including the Lydia Strong series, the Hollows series, and the Cain/Harper series. She has received numerous awards and accolades throughout her career, including being named a finalist for the prestigious Edgar Award, the highest honor in the mystery and crime genre. Her writing has drawn comparisons to authors like Gillian Flynn, Tana French, and Paula Hawkins.

Unger was born in New Haven, Connecticut, and currently divides her time between Florida and New York City. She is an avid traveler and draws inspiration from her experiences around the world. When she’s not writing, Unger enjoys cooking, hiking, and spending time with her family.

Synopsis of “Black Out”

Set in the quaint town of The Hollows in upstate New York, “Black Out” by Lisa Unger is a psychological thriller that follows the story of Annie Powers, a self-help author with a dark past. After a terrifying accident, Annie is left with amnesia and unsure of who she can trust. As she struggles to piece together her memories and uncover the truth about her past, Annie finds herself drawn into a web of manipulation and danger.

The plot of “Black Out” is intricately woven, with unexpected twists and turns that keep the reader engaged. Unger’s masterful storytelling creates an atmosphere of suspense and tension, making “Black Out” a compelling read for fans of the psychological thriller genre.

The themes of “Black Out” revolve around memory, identity, and psychological manipulation. Annie’s struggle to remember her past reflects the human desire to understand ourselves and the importance of our memories in shaping who we are. The manipulation and mind games that Annie is subjected to also emphasize the power dynamics in relationships and the impact they have on our sense of self.

The characters in “Black Out” are well-developed, with each one contributing to the intricate plot. Annie, the protagonist, is a complex character with a troubled past and a desire for redemption. The supporting characters are equally nuanced, adding depth to the story and creating a realistic portrayal of small-town life.

Audiobook Narration

If you’re an avid audiobook listener, you know that the narrator can make or break the listening experience. In the case of “Black Out,” the audiobook narration is exceptional, elevating an already gripping story to new heights.

The narrator for “Black Out” is Julia Whelan, an experienced audiobook narrator who has won numerous awards for her narration. Her performance in “Black Out” is nothing short of outstanding, capturing the tension and suspense of Lisa Unger’s story perfectly.

Whelan’s narration style is clear and easy to follow, making it simple to lose oneself in the story. She also has a talent for creating unique, distinct voices for each character, which enhances the overall listening experience and helps listeners to differentiate between characters.

Overall, the audiobook narration for “Black Out” is exceptional and adds a new layer of depth to an already well-crafted story.

Plot Analysis

Unger’s “Black Out” delivers a compelling and complex plot that keeps readers guessing until the last page. The story analysis reveals a multilayered plot structure that skillfully balances suspense, drama, and character development. The plot builds gradually, with steady pacing that allows readers to fully immerse themselves in the world of the characters.

The plot’s twists and turns are carefully crafted, providing surprises that shock without feeling contrived or forced. The intricate layers of suspense are expertly weaved and contribute to the psychological suspense that makes this novel a standout in the genre.

As the story progresses, the stakes are raised, and the tension increases, leading to a climactic finale that satisfies and ties up loose ends. Overall, the plot analysis of “Black Out” showcases Lisa Unger’s skill at creating an engaging, intricate, and unpredictable psychological thriller with a well-structured and nuanced plot.

Character Development

One of the standout elements in “Black Out” is the well-crafted characters that populate its pages. Lisa Unger takes great care in creating protagonists that readers can relate to and villains that are just sinister enough to make your skin crawl. Through the novel, we see Lena, the main character, go through a profound transformation as she struggles to regain her memories and navigate the dangers around her.

But it’s not just Lena who evolves throughout the book. Each character has a unique arc and backstory, making them feel like fully-formed individuals rather than plot devices. Even minor characters are given enough depth to make an impression on the reader.

character development

One character that stands out is Ira, Lena’s uncle and the quirky owner of the local bookstore. His peculiar idiosyncrasies and deep love for his niece make him a memorable addition to the cast. In contrast, Lena’s ex-boyfriend, Adam, comes across as self-centered and manipulative, but as we learn more about his motivations, our perception of him shifts.

Overall, Lisa Unger’s ability to create complex characters with realistic emotions and nuanced motivations is one of the many reasons that “Black Out” is such a compelling read.

Themes and Symbolism

One of the most compelling aspects of “Black Out” is the rich symbolism and underlying themes that drive the story forward. Lisa Unger expertly weaves together elements of memory, identity, and psychological manipulation to create a gripping psychological thriller that is both thought-provoking and suspenseful.

Throughout the book, Unger uses a variety of symbols to reinforce the themes and motifs of the story, such as the recurring imagery of a labyrinth and the significance of the color black. These symbols add depth and complexity to the narrative, inviting readers to analyze and interpret their meaning.

One prominent theme in “Black Out” is the nature of memory and the way it shapes our perceptions of ourselves and the world around us. Unger explores how memories can be manipulated, suppressed, or even created, blurring the lines between reality and fiction. Additionally, the theme of psychological manipulation is prevalent throughout the book, as characters struggle to trust their own thoughts and instincts.

Ultimately, the interplay between themes and symbolism in “Black Out” creates a dynamic and multi-layered reading experience that will stay with readers long after the final page.

Writing Style and Language

Lisa Unger’s writing style in “Black Out” is a standout feature of this gripping audiobook. Her use of descriptive prose creates vivid imagery, immersing the reader in the story’s world and heightening the tension. The dialogue is natural and realistic, adding depth and nuance to the characters. Additionally, Unger employs suspenseful storytelling techniques, such as flashbacks and red herrings, to keep the reader engaged and guessing until the very end.

The language in “Black Out” is accessible, yet precise, allowing readers of all levels to easily understand and enjoy the story. Unger’s skilled use of language also allows her to effectively convey the psychological aspects of the story, including memory loss and manipulation. Overall, Unger’s writing style and language contribute immensely to the book’s success as a psychological thriller.

Critical Reception

Since its release, “Black Out” has received generally positive reviews from both critics and readers. On Goodreads, the book has an average rating of 3.89 out of 5 stars based on over 12,000 ratings, indicating a strong reception among readers. Many praise Unger’s skillful characterization and gripping storytelling, with one reader stating, “Lisa Unger has done it again, she knows how to take the reader on a wild ride!”

A select number of critics, however, have criticized the book for its slow pacing and lackluster ending. Kirkus Reviews states, “The plot of this psychological thriller doesn’t quite achieve lift-off,” while Publishers Weekly calls it “a middling entry in the genre.” Despite these criticisms, it is clear that “Black Out” continues to captivate and engage its readers, making it a must-read for fans of psychological suspense.

Positive Reviews

Publication Review Excerpt
Booklist “Unger gets better and better with each of her thrillers, with Black Out being no exception.”
The New York Times Book Review “Unger’s genius is her ability to tell both sides of a story, from the perspective of the victim and perpetrator alike.”
CrimeReads “A gripping psychological thriller…Unger expertly weaves together the threads of the story, keeping readers guessing until the final page.”

Negative Reviews

Publication Review Excerpt
Kirkus Reviews “The plot of this psychological thriller doesn’t quite achieve lift-off.”
Publishers Weekly “A middling entry in the genre, not quite suspenseful or original enough to make it stand out.”

Comparison to Other Thrillers

Compared to other popular psychological thrillers, “Black Out” by Lisa Unger excels in its masterful suspense building and intricate plot twists. This book is likely to appeal to readers who enjoy the works of similar authors such as Gillian Flynn, Ruth Ware, and Paula Hawkins.

While these authors excel in creating atmospheric settings and palpable tension, Unger’s writing stands out for its attention to character development and emotional depth. “Black Out” presents well-rounded characters whose motivations and psyches are carefully crafted and explored throughout the story, making the reader feel invested in their journeys.

The plot structure of “Black Out” is equally impressive, featuring a multi-layered narrative that keeps the reader guessing until the very end. While other psychological thrillers may rely on shock value alone, Unger’s use of psychological manipulation and unreliable narrators offers a refreshing take on the genre.

In terms of psychological suspense, few other thrillers can match the level of intricacy and emotional complexity found in “Black Out.” This book is a must-read for anyone who appreciates a well-crafted psychological thriller that delivers on both suspense and emotional depth.


Overall, “Black Out” by Lisa Unger is a thrilling and suspenseful psychological thriller that is sure to keep listeners engaged from beginning to end. The well-crafted plot, intricately developed characters, and underlying themes and symbolism make it a standout in the genre.

The audiobook narration adds an extra layer of intensity to the story and enhances the overall experience for listeners. The combination of Lisa Unger’s masterful writing style and the narrator’s performance makes “Black Out” a must-listen for fans of the psychological thriller genre.

As a seasoned audiobook reviewer, I highly recommend “Black Out” to anyone seeking a gripping and well-crafted psychological suspense story that will keep you on the edge of your seat. It is definitely worth the listen.

So, if you are looking for a captivating audiobook that will keep you entertained for hours, “Black Out” by Lisa Unger is a great pick. It is a thrilling and engaging listen that will leave you wanting more.


What is "Black Out" by Lisa Unger about?

“Black Out” is a captivating psychological thriller that takes readers on a thrilling journey into the dark and mysterious world of memory loss. The story follows a woman named Annie, who wakes up in a hospital with no recollection of how she got there or what happened to her. As she struggles to regain her memories, Annie becomes entangled in a web of secrets, lies, and a sinister conspiracy that threatens her life.

Who is the author of "Black Out"?

“Black Out” is written by the talented author Lisa Unger. Known for her gripping and atmospheric storytelling, Unger has captivated readers with her previous works, including “In the Blood” and “Under My Skin.”

What makes "Black Out" a compelling psychological thriller?

“Black Out” is a compelling psychological thriller due to its intricate plot, suspenseful pacing, and well-developed characters. The story explores intriguing themes of memory, identity, and psychological manipulation, keeping readers guessing and on the edge of their seats until the very end.

Who narrates the audiobook version of "Black Out"?

The audiobook version of “Black Out” is expertly narrated by Lisa Flanagan. Her captivating performance brings the characters and story to life, enhancing the gripping and immersive experience for listeners.

How does Lisa Unger develop the characters in "Black Out"?

Lisa Unger excels at crafting well-developed characters in “Black Out.” She skillfully explores their backgrounds, motivations, and internal struggles, allowing readers to form deep connections and understand their actions within the story.

Are there any underlying themes or symbolism in "Black Out"?

Yes, “Black Out” addresses several underlying themes, including the complexities of memory, the search for identity, and the manipulation of the human psyche. Unger incorporates symbolism throughout the story, adding depth and layers to the narrative.

How would you describe Lisa Unger’s writing style in "Black Out"?

Lisa Unger’s writing style in “Black Out” is descriptive, atmospheric, and suspenseful. She skillfully weaves together vivid imagery, engaging dialogue, and moments of intense suspense, creating a compelling reading experience.

What is the critical reception of "Black Out"?

“Black Out” has received positive reviews from both critics and readers alike. It has been praised for its gripping plot, engaging characters, and the way it explores the depths of memory and identity. However, every reader’s experience may vary, and it’s always recommended to read a variety of reviews to form your own opinion.

How does "Black Out" compare to other psychological thrillers?

“Black Out” stands out among other psychological thrillers for its unique blend of suspense, intricate plot twists, and expert character development. It offers a fresh and gripping take on the genre, making it a must-read for fans of psychological suspense.

What are your final thoughts on "Black Out" as an audiobook?

As an audiobook, “Black Out” is an immersive and thrilling experience. The combination of Lisa Unger’s compelling storytelling and Lisa Flanagan’s excellent narration brings the story to life in a way that keeps listeners hooked from start to finish. If you enjoy suspenseful psychological thrillers, “Black Out” is a must-listen.

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