The Mermaid Asylum

Best-selling psychological suspense series

A Mutual Addiction (Book 1)

A Mutual Addiction (Book 1)

Folie à  Deux (Book 2)

Folie à Deux (Book 2)

A Mutual Addiction

Mermaid Asylum (Book 1)

A dark, delightfully bizarre story that dives deep into the psyches of unbalanced characters.
— Kirkus Reviews
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A Mutual Addiction

A lonely therapist who can't dream, her elusive patient who might be the cure, and the mutual addiction that could either save or destroy them both.

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A Mutual Addiction
By Mary Widdicks

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The doctors called it aphantasia, but Cressida called it purgatory: slow, torturous emptiness…

It has been 3,684 days since the accident and as many nights since Cressida Dunhill last dreamed. Three years ago she moved to the sleepy coastal town of Silverside, Oregon to escape her bloody past, but now she’s drowning in its tedium. A psychologist specializing in dream analysis, Cressida spends her days pretending to care about the nightmares of fishermen and burnouts in a former mental institution grimly nicknamed “The Mermaid Asylum.” Yet she is condemned to spend her own nights in a dreamless fugue, more like death than sleep. 

Until the day she meets Vee, a water nymph of a girl who splashes color into Cressida’s dull life. And that night, after ten years of emptiness, Cressida suddenly dreams again. 

But are Cressida’s dreams and Vee’s appearance in her life linked? As Cressida searches for answers to her abrupt recovery, the rigid boundaries that have protected Cressida for so long break down and the women become fast friends. Perhaps too fast. And when Vee shows up to an appointment covered in bruises, Cressida begins to suspect that Vee's two-timing, musician boyfriend, Rex, could pose a threat to both Vee's future and Cressida's future dreams. 

Only she can protect them both.

Dark and atmospheric, A Mutual Addiction is a psychological journey that traces the fine line between morbid fascination and dangerous obsession, and offers an unsettling glimpse into the depths of desperation and how far someone is willing to go to protect their dreams. Widdicks’ haunting debut is HBO’s In Treatment meets Patricia Highsmith’s The Talented Mr. Ripley, but with women as both protagonist and villain. 

If you’re a fan of suspense masters like Caroline Kepnes and Gillian Flynn, you’ll be dreaming about A Mutual Addiction long after you finish.

Praise for A Mutual Addiction

Emotional, eerie, and delightfully demented, A Mutual Addiction worms its way into your psyche and refuses to relent until the final breathtaking page.
— Meghan O’Flynn, Best-selling author of The Ash Park series. 
A twisted tale of love lost and obsession gained, A Mutual Addiction will appeal to fans of Mary Kubica and Karin Slaughter.
— Wendy Heard, Author of Hunting Annabelle
Get ready to check your moral compass at the door for a few hours, and then prepare to be terrified of what you see in this compulsively readable book.
— Tracie Martin, author of Follow Me Down
Truly a remarkable read, standing well-beyond the cacophony of most contemporary fiction.
— Amazon Review
Riveting up to the last word...leaves you more
— Amazon Review
Impossible to put down! An absolutely riveting thriller that is. a definite page-turner.
— Amazon Review

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Folie à Deux

Mermaid Asylum (Book 2)

Provocative suspense...a commentary on the contagious nature of madness.
— Meghan O’Flynn, best-selling author of The Ash Park Series
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Folie à Deux

Cressida is back. And this time she’s not alone…

Killer, victim, or just another lost soul searching for a human connection…like everyone else?

Available from any of your favorite sellers!

Cressida is back. And this time she’s not alone...


The police ruled Vee’s death a suicide: the desperate act of a woman obsessed with the legend of The Mermaid Asylum. But Cressida knows better. Addictions are hard to kill.

It’s been two months since Cressida abandoned her life, her psychology practice, and her buried memories back in the eerie fishing town of Silverside, Oregon. Freed from the death-like grasp of dreamless sleep, Cressida’s new existence is interminably ordinary. Her cavernous downtown Portland apartment is walking distance from the lounge where she tends bar, trading her old, troubled patients for even more troubled customers and drunken damsels in distress. It’s exactly the kind of life Rex wanted and Vee would have hated.

The only catch is, it’s all a lie.

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Unable to escape from her newfound, vivid dreams of Vee, Cressida inhabits the dead girl’s identity. Everyone in her new life knows her as Viola Marquis, even Emmaline, the untamed teenage neighbor girl that has grown unusually attached to Cressida. Rex is in prison, a part of Vee lives on, and Cressida finally has a full life.

That is, until Cressida’s old life comes knocking at her door in the form of Silverside Police Officer John Lahey, and her dreams take a turn for the worse.

Black outs, missing items, unexplained bruises and injuries plague Cressida each morning when she wakes. It’s as if Cressida’s mind is no longer her own. And when a series of deadly fires seems to implicate both Cressida and Emmaline in crimes Cressida can’t remember committing, she begins to suspect that someone is setting her up. Punishing her for Vee’s death.

But who else knows about Cressida’s past? She must find out who is sabotaging her new life before she ends up arrested, dead, or worse…lost and alone again in the darkness of her dreamless sleep. Cressida finally has everything she’s ever wanted, and she’ll do anything to hold onto that dream. 

Folie à Deux is the second novel in the Mermaid Asylum series and the sequel to the best-selling psychological thriller, A Mutual Addiction. Addictive and disturbing, Folie à Deux is a glimpse into the mind of a desperate woman. Is Cressida a killer, a victim, or just another lost soul searching for a human connection…like everyone else? Psychological fiction at its finest, it will keep you guessing until the very end.

Fans of Caroline Kepnes’s YOU and Gillian Flynn’s Sharp Objects will fall in love with Widdicks’ morally ambivalent and yet deceptively relatable characters.

Mermaid Asylum Shorts



A Mermaid Asylum Short

Before A Mutual Addiction, Cressida was just your average insomniac…

It's just a normal Tuesday morning in the sleepy fishing town of Silverside, Oregon. The crabbers come early to check their traps. Every Tuesday just before dawn. Like clockwork. There’s no need for a blaring horn to disturb the peace because there isn’t another vessel for miles.

Just Cressida alone on the beach.

The sky crackles and the sea hums. The world goes quiet, just for a moment, like it’s afraid to draw even a single breath. The stillness is electrifying. But something isn’t right.

Something is out of place...

A sound. Out of place in the frozen dawn. Bustling and squabbling. Feathers beating against the air and snapping against rough brick. Sharp claws scraping stone like flint. Seagulls line up along the rockface and down the angled stilts on either side of the overhang that forms a cave beneath the old Mermaid Asylum. Their fat bodies huddle together against the cold and their feathers ruffle in the wind. They don’t move, not even to blink. 
Still as gargoyles guarding some mythical treasure. Cressida's treasure. 

And they’re beckoning her inside.

“Insomnia delivers Widdicks’ usual bone-chilling dose of creeping dread and atmospheric lyricism.”
— Wendy Heard, Hunting Annabelle
“Lyrical and hypnotic…an ominous journey into sleep-deprived madness.”
— Meghan O'Flynn, the Ash Park series

Born Under Fire


A Mermaid Asylum Short

True power—real danger—never looks like the thing you’ve been warned about. It’s infinitely more beautiful…

From the best-selling author of the Mermaid Asylum series comes a deeply chilling prequel short story on the ugliness of grief, the pain of abandonment, and the purifying power of fire.

Any single moment can change the course of a life, some more than others. All heroes have their origin stories, and all villains have their turning point. Cressida had Max. Vee had Rex. And Emmaline 

Before you meet Emmaline in Folie à Deux, before she meets Cressida, find out what secrets burn behind those blue eyes. Find out where it all started. 

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