Author: Jonathan Kellerman
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine
Rating: 4.5 stars
Provided by Publisher
Blurb: From the #1 New York Times bestselling creator of the acclaimed Alex Delaware series comes a tour de force standalone novel that illustrates perfectly why “Jonathan Kellerman has justly earned his reputation as a master of the psychological thriller” (People).
A brilliant, deeply dedicated psychologist, Grace Blades has a gift for treating troubled souls and tormented psyches—perhaps because she bears her own invisible scars: Only five years old when she witnessed her parents’ death in a bloody murder-suicide, Grace took refuge in her fierce intellect and found comfort in the loving couple who adopted her. But even as an adult with an accomplished professional life, Grace still has a dark, secret side. When her two worlds shockingly converge, Grace’s harrowing past returns with a vengeance.
Both Grace and her newest patient are stunned when they recognize each other from a recent encounter. Haunted by his bleak past, mild-mannered Andrew Toner is desperate for Grace’s renowned therapeutic expertise and more than willing to ignore their connection. And while Grace is tempted to explore his case, which seems to eerily echo her grim early years, she refuses—a decision she regrets when a homicide detective appears on her doorstep.
An evil she thought she’d outrun has reared its head again, but Grace fears that a police inquiry will expose her double life. Launching her own personal investigation leads her to a murderously manipulative foe, one whose warped craving for power forces Grace back into the chaos and madness she’d long ago fled.
Review: I read Jonathon Kellerman long ago when I was capable of reading cannibalistic thrillers like the ones he, Dean Koontz, Patricia Cornwell, Stephen King and James Patterson wrote, where horrific things happened all the time–serial killers making mute sacrifices on the altar of their particular crazy; stalkers annihilating any chance of my feeling safe at home in the dead of night. But then I had children and couldn’t take it anymore so went into the light of HEAs and romance. But there comes a time when your children grow up and you venture forth again…
The elegant beauty of this book’s writing, the subtle humor and the self-deprecating charm of the narrator/character, and her professionalism and obvious high degree of intelligence are all at odds with the brutally horrible events that defined Grace’s childhood. Barely tolerated by her abusive parents, neglected and ignored her early years, Grace survived only by the power of her own will. Placed in the foster care system after their deaths, she lucked out finally when she caught the attention of Malcolm and his wife Sophie. They understood her intelligence and drive, and helped her not only find a place to call home but a way to find acceptance. Her enormous success as a therapist to the “Haunted” surprised and delighted them all, but tragedy struck Grace’s life again. And then she met Roger…
This book was diabolical. The author took what was a woman who pretended her entire life to fit in; who studied others in an attempt to make her behavior acceptable because she’d never been taught HOW to behave at the very beginning of her life–and placed her in a life or death situation and let her react.
You or me? Would we kill someone to save ourselves? Probably not. I’d have called the police in a heartbeat in SEVERAL places in the book. But then I’d probably be in jail.
Grace? Would she kill to save herself? Yes. Had she ever been taught right from wrong? NO. In the first few years of her life she’d operated at the basest level–it was survive or die. She had to avoid her drunken, drugged out abusive parents and try to scrounge enough food to eat to stay alive. There were no morals taught, there was no right from wrong learned. It was live or die, every day. She didn’t misbehave because she got beaten when she did. She got beaten just for breathing. Luckily she was smart enough even as a very little child to know to control her emotions.
Was I upset when things started happening that were obviously against the law? Would I get mad at Grace for doing them? No. I put myself into her “mind-frame” and they were fine. I even worried that she’d get caught and was thrilled at the ending.
Would I want to meet her on the street? HELL NO!
When the book was through did I shake my head a little, come back into the real world, and think, WOW. And feel a little disconcerted? And disconnected? YES.
She’s kind of a monster, too.
This book is a mind trip, totally kidnapping your senses and distorting your reality so that when you emerge, gasping for air, you’re not really sure WHAT you believe. Read this punch to the psyche because it’s beautifully written, because you love a good mystery, because …