A PLEA OF INSANITY by Priscilla Masters


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First U.S. publication of a thriller by a Brit known for her medical mysteries.

Clinical Psychiatrist Claire Roget spends her first day at Greatbach Secure Psychiatrist Unit smelling the blood of Heidi Faro through the wall paint of her new office. Heidi, whom Claire replaces, had her throat cut in this very room, by the mild-mannered but brain-damaged Stefan Gulio. Yes, he was found holding a bloody knife, but Gulio swears he didn’t do it—and also didn’t hang Heidi’s body on the door hook. Claire, a specialist in personality disorders, hopes for a tiny red flag to warn her against such horror happening to her, and the story sweeps you along as she begins evaluating patients for release to the outside world. Greatbach is not a prison, but some of its patients—sly sociopaths or well-spoken psychopaths—should have gone straight to prison. Jerome Barclay, a psycho thief who beats his mother and girlfriend, gives her grueling grief, as do Nancy Gold, the baby-drowner who thinks she still has her dead baby, and paranoid pot-smoker Kap Oseo, a Rastafarian pursued by demons. You can’t medicate personality disorders, and with Barclay, a lifelong sadist, Heidi Faro had had a dance of death. Under a supervisory order, Barclay lives outside the hospital. Heidi’s notes reveal that he would enjoy cutting the throat of beautiful nurse Kristyna Gale. Should Claire warn Nurse Gale? Even so, after an interview with Barclay’s frightened mother (he may have killed his father and brother), Claire lets him off of supervision: Greatbach can do no more for him. She tells fellow doctor and clinical psychologist Rolf Fairweather about Barclay’s threat. Does Barclay put the acid on Claire’s car? Kristyna disappears, her body turning up in a burned car. And when the killer is finally unmasked, will he make . . . a plea for insanity? You bet.

Ah, the human mind. Masters keeps its noodles at a rolling boil.

Pub Date: July 15th, 2005
ISBN: 0-7490-8337-9
Page count: 288pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15th, 2005


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