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BROKEN HOPE

A compelling, eminently readable medical thriller that’s both enjoyable and alarming.

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A doctor seeking revenge on abusers becomes a target herself in Rubin’s medical thriller.

Hope Sullivan is a Boston doctor who’s carved out a new role for herself on the side. She has a reputation for being kind, yet, after her long days at the clinic, she engages in something she’s dubbed “tune-ups.” On a typical tune-up, she seeks revenge against a man she believes to be abusing his wife. She doesn’t kill him—just kidnaps him, and tortures him a little, forcing him to say that he won’t hurt his wife again. (“I have come to believe, strongly, that sometimes the brutes, the bullies, the assholes out there need a little mental reshaping.”) Hope is quite self-aware, recognizing that she could take her campaign too far; she worries that she herself is becoming a monster. But after suffering a great deal of personal loss, including of her parents and her fiance, Hope is convinced that she’s justly making the world a better place. But Hope has a stalker: Menacing messages start arriving from someone blaming Hope for the death of a relative. She racks her brain, trying to figure out which of her former patients it could be, but comes up empty. Everything changes one night when she finds herself having to fight to save her own life from a similarly vengeful attacker. Rubin’s revenge thriller is fast-paced and full of plenty of unexpected twists and turns. A physician herself, the author has the knowledge to keep even some of the more implausible scenarios grounded within a medically authentic framework. The novel is a true page-turner and is just disturbing enough to keep things exciting until the end. The characterization of a protagonist with dark motives is well done, but her confrontations with others who are similarly motivated make this story truly memorable.

A compelling, eminently readable medical thriller that’s both enjoyable and alarming.

Pub Date: May 21, 2024

ISBN: 9781958160077

Page Count: 286

Publisher: Indigo Dot Press

Review Posted Online: March 11, 2024

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MIND GAMES

A touching story of love and grief ends in an epic battle of good versus evil.

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Roberts’ latest may move you to tears, or joy, or dread, or all three.

Every summer, John and Cora Fox visit Cora’s mother, Lucy Lannigan, in Redbud Hollow, Kentucky, leaving their children, 12-year-old Thea and 10-year-old Rem, for a two-week taste of heaven. The children love Grammie Lucy far more than John’s snooty family, which looks down on Cora. Lucy, a healer with deep Appalachian roots, loves animals, cooks the best meals, plays musical instruments, and makes soap and candles for her thriving business. Thea—who’s inherited the psychic abilities passed down through the women of Lucy’s family—has vivid magical dreams, one of which becomes a living nightmare when a psychopath robs and murders John and Cora as Thea watches helplessly. Thea’s description of the killer and her ability to see him in real time help the skeptical police catch Ray Riggs, who goes to prison for life. Although Thea and Rem go on to have a wonderful childhood with Grammie, Thea constantly wages a mental battle with Riggs, who tries to use his own psychic abilities to get into her mind. Over the years, Thea uses her imagination to become a game designer while the more business-minded Rem helps manage her career. Thea eventually builds a house near Lucy, where a newly arrived neighbor is her teen crush, singer-songwriter Tyler Brennan. Tyler has his own issues and is protective of his young son but slowly builds a loving relationship with Thea, whose silence about her abilities leads to a devastating misunderstanding. At first Thea tries to keep Riggs locked out of her mind. As her powers grow, she torments him. Finally, she realizes that she must win this battle and destroy him if she’s ever to have peace.

A touching story of love and grief ends in an epic battle of good versus evil.

Pub Date: May 21, 2024

ISBN: 9781250289698

Page Count: 432

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: March 23, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2024

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THE SILENT PATIENT

Amateurish, with a twist savvy readers will see coming from a mile away.

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A woman accused of shooting her husband six times in the face refuses to speak.

"Alicia Berenson was thirty-three years old when she killed her husband. They had been married for seven years. They were both artists—Alicia was a painter, and Gabriel was a well-known fashion photographer." Michaelides' debut is narrated in the voice of psychotherapist Theo Faber, who applies for a job at the institution where Alicia is incarcerated because he's fascinated with her case and believes he will be able to get her to talk. The narration of the increasingly unrealistic events that follow is interwoven with excerpts from Alicia's diary. Ah, yes, the old interwoven diary trick. When you read Alicia's diary you'll conclude the woman could well have been a novelist instead of a painter because it contains page after page of detailed dialogue, scenes, and conversations quite unlike those in any journal you've ever seen. " 'What's the matter?' 'I can't talk about it on the phone, I need to see you.' 'It's just—I'm not sure I can make it up to Cambridge at the minute.' 'I'll come to you. This afternoon. Okay?' Something in Paul's voice made me agree without thinking about it. He sounded desperate. 'Okay. Are you sure you can't tell me about it now?' 'I'll see you later.' Paul hung up." Wouldn't all this appear in a diary as "Paul wouldn't tell me what was wrong"? An even more improbable entry is the one that pins the tail on the killer. While much of the book is clumsy, contrived, and silly, it is while reading passages of the diary that one may actually find oneself laughing out loud.

Amateurish, with a twist savvy readers will see coming from a mile away.

Pub Date: Feb. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-30169-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Celadon Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 3, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2018

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