Title: The Blind by A.F. Brady
Publisher: Park Row Books
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery, Suspense
Length: 416 pages
Book Rating: B+
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
A razor-sharp debut about a woman who goes so far off the deep end, she might never make it back up…
Sam James has spent years carefully crafting her reputation as the best psychologist at Typhlos, Manhattan’s most challenging psychiatric institution. She believes 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. But she can’t figure out why Richard appears to be so normal in a hospital filled with madness. 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?
In this unexpected and addictive psychological debut, A.F. Brady takes readers into the psyche of a deeply disturbed woman desperately trying to keep her head above water, showing that sometimes what’s most terrifying is what exists in your mind.
The Blind by A.F. Brady is an absolutely riveting, impossible to put down character driven novel that keeps readers on the edge of their seats in breathless anticipation awaiting answers to two very compelling questions. Why is Richard McHugh, a seemingly normal ex-con, a patient at Typhlos Psychiatric Center? And most important, will Dr. Sam James’ carefully hidden secrets be revealed by a routine staff evaluation?
In her late thirties, Dr. Sam James is a functioning alcoholic who seeks out unhealthy relationships with men she can “fix”. Her latest boyfriend, Lucas, has multiple addictions and takes his frustrations out on Sam on an increasingly regular basis. Juggling a heavy caseload, Sam is already in a serious downward spiral when she inherits enigmatic new patient Richard McHugh’s from another therapist. With scant information about the newcomer, Sam is frustrated by her inability to get Richard to open up to her. It is not until her career and personal life are about to implode that Richard makes her a deal that she cannot refuse. But will this uneasy shift in their dynamic help either of them deal with their respective problems?
Sam is absolutely devoted to the patients in her care but when it comes to herself, she is incredibly self-destructive. Hard drinking gives way to painful hangovers but she has successfully kept her personal life from affecting her career. She is highly regarded by her peers and in fact, Sam has a high rate of success with the toughest patients that end up at Typhlos. Her professional achievements are a sharp contrast to her chaotic personal life and while she has managed to keep them separate to this point, the line begins to blur as her relationship with Lucas hits a new low. Making even more reckless decisions that exacerbate the volatile situation with Lucas, Sam’s drinking escalates and she begins making mistakes at work that sometimes culminate with devastating results. Fast approaching rock bottom, Sam stumbles on the perfect solution to salvage her career after a routine staff evaluation when she is forced to strike a deal with Richard.
With nothing but rumor filled speculation and the knowledge that he did time for murder, Richard is a blank slate to the therapists at Typhlos. He refuses to answer any questions about his past and his records are no help since there are scant details about his crime or his life after he is paroled from prison. When Richard uncovers Sam’s drinking problem, he offers a quid pro quo deal where he will tell her his secrets in exchange for hers. Desperate to save her career, Sam agrees but will she be able to hold up her end of their bargain?
The Blind is a novel that provides readers with a raw and unvarnished glimpse into mental illness and the nearly daunting efforts to treat the patients who suffer from these disorders. Equally compelling is the fascinating dichotomy between Sam’s out of control personal life and her highly successful career. She is on a collision course with disaster for much of the story and it appears that she will never pull herself free from her self-destructive tendencies. Can Sam pull herself back from the abyss? Will Richard ever reveal the reason he is a patient at Typhlos Psychiatric Center? Although astute readers will most likely guess the final plot twist, A.F. Brady brings the novel to a satisfactory conclusion.