Sometimes forgetting is the only defense a troubled mind can mount against the body’s sins.
Menaker State Hospital is an eerie place. Originally an asylum for the mentally ill, its Gothic buildings now house a psychiatric correctional facility that secures patients too troubled to roam the prison population. Young Dr. Lise Shields finds refuge within its walls—that is, until Jason Edwards arrives. Without papers, without any medical history, Jason fascinates and frustrates Lise: How can she help him if she doesn’t know why he’s here? Her superintendent, Dr. Wagner, refuses to say much more than that Jason's presence at Menaker is related to the murder of his domestic partner, Amir Massoud. Careful and self-disciplined to a fault (she even surreptitiously trashes the small treats her local barista gives her each morning), Lise questions Jason, who tells her about the lost sister who protected him from homophobic bullies but doesn’t tell her why he's at Menaker. Lise suspects larger forces are at work when she notices a man in a fedora following her home. Soon enough, two FBI agents contact her, warning that she's endangered herself by helping Jason and that Jason’s sister—a CIA agent—murdered Amir, letting Jason take the fall. Can anyone at Menaker be trusted? Determined to rescue Jason and discover the truth about his sister, Lise must also journey into her own past and into memories of her difficult father, passive mother and unstable uncle Jim, a schizophrenic who inspired her to become a psychiatrist. Burley (Absence of Mercy, 2013) deftly twists this psychological thriller, threading his tale with clues that add up to a stunning revelation.
Dark, intricate and compelling.