A woman in pieces must put herself back together before she loses everything she’s worked for and everyone she cares about.
Samantha James, 37, is one of the best psychologists on staff at Typhlos Psychiatric Center in Manhattan, and she’s determined to keep it that way. She genuinely cares about her patients and revels in the recognition she gets from her boss, Rachel. Her co-worker and best friend, David, provides an emotional oasis for her at work, one that is sorely lacking outside of it. Underneath her can-do demeanor is another Sam entirely, one spiraling in a haze of alcohol, casual sex, and physical abuse at the hands of her awful boyfriend, Lucas. If only she could “fix” him they’d be the perfect couple. When new patient Richard McHugh (who spent 20 years in prison) comes to Typhlos, no one wants to take him on, but after one psychologist's man-to-man approach fails—Richard refuses to answer any questions—he becomes Sam’s problem, and she’s determined to make it work. Richard is an enigma, not answering her questions, coming to her office carrying a pile of old newspapers. When Sam makes an egregious mistake that only Richard witnesses, he makes her an offer she can’t refuse: he’ll tell her his secrets if she’ll share hers, and he’ll seal it with vodka—but if she refuses, he’ll expose her drinking problem. And boy does Sam have some secrets to tell. Brady’s entertaining debut is told in the wry voice of Sam, who uses black humor to hide an undercurrent of pain. There is a twist, of course, and readers will most likely have it figured out well before the end, but the journey (and the eye-opening, compassionate look at institutional life) is just as important as the destination, and for all her foibles, Sam is an irresistible diversion even if she can’t seem to get out of her own way and be herself.
A satisfying, darkly funny tale of redemption.