Friday, October 20, 2017

Review: The Blind by A.F. Brady

Title: The Blind
Author: A.F. Brady
Published: September 2017, Park Row Books
Format: ARC Paperback, 400 pages
Source: Publisher

Sam James has spent years carefully crafting her reputation as the best psychologist at Typhlos, Manhattan's most challenging psychiatric institution. She boasts the highest success rates with the most disturbed patients, believing if she can't save herself, she'll save someone else. It's this savior complex that serves her well in helping patients battle their inner demons, though it leads Sam down some dark paths and opens her eyes to her own mental turmoil.

When Richard, a mysterious patient no other therapist wants to treat, is admitted to Typhlos, Sam is determined to unlock his secrets and his psyche. What she can't figure out is why does Richard appear to be so completely normal in a hospital filled with madness? And what, really, is he doing at the institution? As Sam gets pulled into Richard's twisted past, she can't help but analyze her own life, and what she discovers terrifies her. And so the mind games begin. But who is the savior and who is the saved?

My thoughts: This was another one of those hidden gems that had it not been for BookExpo this past Spring, I'm not sure I would have heard about. As a debut novel, it's certainly one that lingers in your mind - more for it's intensity and intriguing premise than anything else. 

This is a character-driven psychological thriller that keeps you on the edge of your seat. And the main character, Dr. Sam James is full of secrets. She's a psychologist at a mental institution where she's worked hard to create a reputation of being the best, however, her personal life is nothing less than a train wreck! She's barely a functioning alcoholic and is in what can only be considered an abusive relationship. Half the time she shows up to work hungover, if not still just a wee-bit drunk. 

All's status quo until a patient arrives with a mysterious past and is basically unwilling to give up any information about himself. Sam is determined to work with him and uncover his secrets. As she begins to learn about his past, she realizes that, while examining her own past, she needs to make changes.

This book becomes quite addictive once the mind games begin. Who is this mystery patient and why is he so secretive and unwilling to share his history? As Sam starts digging into his part and the clues start coming together, I admit that I did put a few of them together - but definitely not the ending! Wow - that was quite a shocker!!! 

What started as a slow read quickly became a roller-coaster of a ride that had me frantically flipping pages to figure out where things were headed. This book really gets under your skin and doesn't let up until the very end. It's dark and at times a bit uncomfortable, but quite redeeming in the end. This was a great debut and I look forward to seeing what comes next from this author!

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