Saturday, May 23, 2015

Every Fifteen Minutes

Every Fifteen Minutes by Lisa Scottoline

A cunning, conniving sociopath is out to destroy the life of Dr. Eric Parrish, Chief of Psychiatry at Havemeyer General Hospital. It will take time, but all carefully planned scenarios do. Slowly and methodically, the esteemed Dr. Parrish will lose everything dear to him. The individual responsible will feel no remorse, basking in the glory of it all.

Eric has a lot on his mind these days at home and on the job. With his marriage in shambles, he worries about being a single parent to seven-year-old daughter, Hannah. He worries about every patient at the psychiatric treatment facility, too, especially a troubled adolescent boy. The young suicidal man confides deep secrets to Eric; secrets that involve a fixation on an innocent girl. As a physician, Eric struggles to maintain confidentiality while preventing harm to someone he barely knows.

One act of terror suddenly makes the good doctor an active participant in a game he never agreed to play. It's a game with potentially deadly consequences. Slowly he begins to realize that his opponent is dangerous and calculating with only one goal in mind; to ruin his life.

The author's novels always reflect her knowledge as a former practicing attorney. This time she has done extensive research in the complex field of psychiatry. The devious mind of a sociopath is described with chilling accuracy. This is not only a gripping thriller, but also a look into the human psyche. The plot is tangled and intricate, leaving the reader unsettled, chapter after chapter, until the very end.

And what an ending it is.


Friday, May 15, 2015

Before I Go

Before I Go by Colleen Oakley

"Dr. Saunders' eyes are the color of sad."  He explains to twenty-seven-year-old patient Daisy Richmond that her cancer has returned with a vengeance. A numbness sets in as she stares at her latest PET scan. "It looks as though it's on fire". She leaves with a diagnosis of six months to live.

The hardest part of knowing that you're going to die is deciding how to live with the time remaining. As Daisy deals with her anger, denial, and depression, she struggles with a way to tell the news to those she loves. Her mother's tears flow incessantly. Best friend Kayleigh takes the news in her usual offbeat manner, when inside her heart is breaking. But it's husband Jack that Daisy worries about most of all. How will he live without her? He is a brilliant veterinary student working on his PhD, but can't seem to remember where he put his keys or when it's time to wash his socks. Daisy realizes that when she's gone he will need someone to take care of him. So in between the endless medical appointments and panic attacks, she sets in motion a plan to find a perfect mate for the man she loves.

The subject of this novel immediately evokes feelings of deep and profound sorrow. However, this first-time author manages to deal with her character's fate with grace and humor. It's the humor that makes the reader laugh even when the passages describe in detail the distressing outcome. As Daisy trudges on with her mission to find the ideal woman for Jack, she realizes that it's easier said than done to let go. Through the pain and misery, there's hope and joy.

A witty, feel-good book that will make you smile through the tears.


Sunday, May 3, 2015

At the Water's Edge

At the Water's Edge by Sara Gruen

Let's talk about the end rather than the beginning of this novel set during World War II. The author of Water for Elephants shows her penchant for simply telling a good story, leaving the reader feeling happy and content as the tale comes to a conclusion. Simplistic and predictable? Perhaps, but Gruen fans will welcome her ability to take them on yet another journey with memorable characters and a compelling plot.

Madeline Hyde lives the life of leisure in Philadelphia, blissfully unaware (or so she pretends) of the raging war across the ocean. When her rogue, hard-drinking husband, Ellis, fails to meet the requirements to join the service, he proposes they travel to Scotland to verify the existence of the Loch Ness Monster. Maddie finds the whole idea absurd. Her attempts to change his mind are unsuccessful. The married couple embark on a whirlwind adventure to the Scottish Highlands accompanied by friend, Hank, who shares the same fervent desire to prove the Monster exists.

Once they reach the dilapidated lodge in the Scottish Highlands, the story begins, centering on Angus, a sullen, mysterious man who owns the inn. All three are actually frightened by him. With Ellis and Hank gone much of the time in search of answers to their quest, Maddie finds herself alone with Angus and the hard-working everyday people who toil daily at the inn. Her perception of life begins to change. She is forced to look at her disturbing childhood and the reality of her disintegrating marriage. When Ellis becomes cruel and offensive with his addiction to alcohol, Maddie vows to start over without him.  He has become the real Monster.

With historical accuracy, the author describes the horror of a devastating World War. As warplanes fly overhead and Hitler's atrocities come to light, a young, privileged woman experiences her own awakening. It's as much a story of romance, hope, and renewal as it is a period piece; one you'll enjoy reading until the happy ending.