PAINKILLER by Steven Spruill


Email this review


Paranoia, schizophrenia, and a gang of ruthless vivisectionists interrupt the studies of a pretty psychiatric resident at a Washington hospital--in a somewhat-real-world thriller from the author of the science-fictional The Psychopath Plague, The Imperator Plot, and Paradox Planet. Attractive, iron-pumping Dr. Sharon Francis would like to comfort her paranoid-schizophrenic mother, who lives conveniently nearby in the mental-health unit of the very hospital where Sharon is a resident. Mother has it in her head that something fishy has happened to her young friend and wardmate Meg. Meg checked herself out of the ward against medical advice and hasn't been heard from since. Sharon, whose fear that she is about to show up with mum's psychosis herself prevents her from dating any of the nice young doctors, starts nosing around about Meg--and begins to find out creepy things about the mental-health unit, which turns out to have an unnaturally high rate of missing former patients. Sharon becomes extremely suspicious of the grumpy Dr. Valois, who runs the unit and keeps Sharon away from all the really good cases. But the plucky psychiatric student persists with her investigation, assisted by handsome, wealthy, sweet-talking Dr. Jeff Harrad, and begins to find that ""mind-blowing"" at Adams Memorial Hospital is not just an abstract phrase. Overwrought and humorless, but plenty of gruesome thrills keep the pace fast to the unsurprising end.

Pub Date: April 16th, 1990
Publisher: St. Martin's