Author: Lawrence W. Gold
Genre: Mystery & Suspense
Pages: 420 (paperback)
Selected By: Lady Esbe
Lady Esbe’s Score:
“Abbie Adler, a child and adolescent psychiatrist, is a victim of abuse herself, with the insights needed to make her an effective therapist. In addition, she treats adults in individual and group therapy sessions for a broad range of psychiatric problems including depression, personality disorders, psychopathy, and malignant narcissism.
“On a December evening, the Berkeley Police find Abbie sitting in her car at Inspiration Point overlooking the East Bay of San Francisco. She’s bruised and catatonic. They transport her to Brier Hospital where they admit her to the psychiatric ward. The nature of her condition, and its cause, remain a mystery. After standard treatments fail, her psychiatrist recommends electroshock therapy. Finally, she awakens but remembers nothing of the month preceding. In addition, she discovers significant memory gaps from the past few years.
“Abbie had been treating two victims of the Chabot rapist who targeted girls and as she’s making progress in their care, someone abducts and strangles them. During her difficult recovery, memories of past events gradually return, and she begins to suspect that one of her adult patients may be the strangler. When the police find her prime suspect brutally murdered, Abbie struggles to discover the identity of the strangler and those who may be abetting his actions.”
Lady Esbe’s Review
I suppose this is supposed to be a psychological thriller and unfortunately, this didn’t do it for me. It was pretty much telegraphed from the third chapter or so for me. I wasn’t shocked by the ending; in fact, it took entirely too long to get there four hundred and fourteen pages. This book should have been 250 at the most.
I wanted to like Abbie Adler, the therapist who specialized in molested children. It was easy to see why she specialized in this, as she was a survivor of molestation and had a special way with the young girls who came under her care. Her empathy was a bit much though. I’m not saying therapists can’t be empathetic, but come on, you cry at every session practically? Unprofessional. Pretty much.
I’ve always said, “most psychologists need a psychologist”. That is very prevalent in this novel. Abbie has her own psychosis that stems back to her childhood issues and more recently, her involvement with victims who have been killed by a serial killer. The fact that she seeks help does not bother me. However, what truly annoyed me to no end is, if you are an intelligent and intuitive therapist, why would you continue to seek guidance and help from a therapist that you inherently don’t trust? Time and time again, she runs to Richard Haus? You pointedly told him you don’t trust him and you still go? Come on lady, now you’re just asking for it.
I’m going to keep this brief because if I write too long, I’ll give the whole shebang away. Ultimately, why would someone spend so much time combatting someone they don’t trust as a physician or therapist? Why would you go after a killer rather than clue in the police who you suspect? I mean, let them decipher the truth, you are just giving your best guess. Insert weary sigh here. The author is trying very hard to make us understand a fragile mind, but at the same time, it’s quite ludicrous on how the “heroine” goes about handling the situation, like she’s some mentally disturbed crusader. I felt for her husband and child. Sticking with her throughout the drama was above and beyond, but the vows “for better or for worse” does mean something.
Finally, my biggest complaint about this book is that while I can appreciate a flawed hero/heroine. I cannot abide by the you’re so smart you’re stupid stance here. The conflict and stubbornness of Abbie is so convoluted, I wanted to put her out of her misery as well as myself. In addition, I am not at all impressed by his rendition of female characters, specifically Abbie. It felt clumsy and quite ridiculous. In fact, this will be a Tortured Memory for me!
Lady Esbe read the Amazon Kindle edition of this selection.