Saturday, April 4, 2015

Review: Shrink Rapt by Freda Hansburg

Shrink Rapt
By Freda Hansburg
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Purchase:  Amazon

My Rating:  
Sultry Scale:

Psychologist April Simon finds her career and life on the line after the murder of her arrogant department chairman.  When four of her patients, all subjects in the late psychiatrist’s research, begin to violently unravel, April tries to solve the riddle of their transformation.  Her quest alarms the killer.  Will she be next?  The more she learns about her colleagues, the less she trusts them.  Who do you turn to when no one is what they seem?

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review, and I was pleasantly surprised by it! I picked it up to read as I was in the middle of a reading slump. I have read around 10 books this week, and I felt pretty ambivalent about all of them. So I was looking for something to break me out of the doldrums. And, believe me, I was skeptical when I picked this one up. It's not the typical book that I review - I usually stay within the romance genre.

So color me surprised that this was an engaging read that I finished in one sitting, and kept me up until 1am. This book reminded me of False Memory by Dean Koontz... it might be because that was the only other "psychology-based" psychological thriller that I have read - but I enjoyed them both very much.

In this story, the murder victim is a psychiatrist connected to a university and resident program. He has been engaging in some very dicey behavior with regard to patients in a clinical drug trial. He is not a likeable man, and you don't really feel bad for his death. Everyone in the department seems to have skeletons in their closet, so you have lots of suspects. I figured out the culprit about half way through, but that did not take away from the story in the least. April Simons was a likeable lead character, especially when interacting with the broody Detective Sam Perone. 

The patients in the clinical trial were a good secondary story. I hated that part of their issues involved hurting animals... I sometimes like animals more than people. Luckily none of that was very graphic.

All-in-all, I found this story a realistic (if depressing) portrayal of academia.  Given that Hansburg is a psychologist herself, this does not surprise me. Full of competition, juicy secrets, and back stabbing. Throw in murder, a pregnant mistress, a bitchy aging wife addicted to botox, a "real woman" lead character, sexy Italian detective... and you have a juicy made-for-tv mystery that you won't want to put down. I thoroughly enjoyed this read and am glad that I volunteered for the review opportunity.

Author Bio

Freda Hansburg is a psychologist who lives with her husband in New Jersey.  She is the co-author of the self-help books PeopleSmart and Working PeopleSmart.  Shrink Rapt is her first novel.