Post, a clinical psychologist takes a subject he knows well and uses it as the backbone of his debut suspense novel that centers on Dr. Alan Sarnower. A successful psychologist, Alan finds the routine of his life thrown into turmoil when Cassie, his wife abruptly packs up and leaves. Cassie’s departure forces him to come to grips with her deteriorating mental condition while coping with the emotional demands of Mitch, their ten-year-old son who cannot understand why his world is falling apart. The relationship takes a nasty turn when Alan comes home unexpectedly one afternoon to discover Cassie in bed with a stranger, followed by her announcement that she plans to file for divorce and custody of Mitch. As Alan experiments with new relationships, he is met with increasing hostility from his son, another source of tension in the doctor’s stressful life. Eventually Alan takes charge of his life in horrifying way that leads readers to ponder who is the crazy person in this tale of hatred, murder and a respected community member’s decent into hell.
The emotional intensity remains constant as the reader follows the unraveling of a psychologist who, of all people, should know how to cope with the stress of a failed marriage. The detailed accounts of patient sessions while adding depth and illustrating the doctor’s disintegrating mental state, occasionally slow the pace nearly to the point of being tiresome. This solid first novel will leave readers primed for more from this new voice.