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review 2017-04-17 01:12
The Secret Room
The Secret Room (A Zoe Goldman novel) - Sandra Block

By:  Sandra Block 

Zoe Goldman #3

ISBN: 9781455570201

Publisher: Grand Central 

Publication Date: 4/18/2017 

Format:  Paperback

My Rating:  4 Stars


Sandra Block returns following: The Girl Without a Name and Little Black Lies, with her latest Zoe Goldman installment THE SECRET ROOM Psychologically rich full of intrigue, suspense, chills, twists, and action.

From strong imaginations, darkness, metaphors, comics, dual personalities, magic pills, obsessions, a secret room, to depersonalization. When a patient thinks they are not real, somehow like fake humans in this world.

In Little Black Lies, we met Dr. Zoe Goldman, a Yale graduate, and a psychiatry resident at a Buffalo, N.Y., hospital, where she suffers from ADHD, with a number of personal issues. She likes repairing her patients, while on probation, and continuing to struggle with the control, of her own thoughts.

Zoe was haunted by her past and discovered dark secrets and lies behind her biological mother’s death, while her adoptive mother suffered from dementia. Her last patient was connected with her past and she is still struggling with the aftermath.

In The Girl Without A Name a Jane Doe shows up at the hospital. An African American girl approximately thirteen years of age; no past, no name, no history—landing at the Children’s Hospital of Buffalo, NY. Zoe becomes immersed in this patient and her life. A world of fear, identity, and facades.

Presently with THE SECRET ROOM, this is Zoe’s first year as a psychiatrist in a prison facility. Forensic psychiatry fellowship. A local correctional facility where Zoe is still learning the ropes while watching her back to avoid some dangerous prisoners.

Of course, as usual, there are plenty of mentally disturbing and dangerous prisoners. From narcissistic and sociopathic behaviors, delusions, hallucinations, schizophrenia, cutting, personality disorders – fighting their devils and demons. (Plus more)

The Secret Room

“Wake up. Eat breakfast. Kill time. Eat Lunch. Kill time. Eat dinner. Kill time. Lights out. Repeat. That was my life. That would be my life, for years, too many years to come. Until I met you, Professor, and everything changed. And I knew that I could never go back to my life before you, that half a life, that living death. Never. And I would do anything it took to keep you. Anything. Even kill for you.”

Zoe’s patients are dying. While some are suicides and others possible accidents. Someone is texting and tormenting her. Is Dr. Zoe Goldman an angel of death-intentionally helping hopeless cases go to a "better place" or she is -being set up while targeting her patients?

Who is manipulating her patients? When it does not take much to push these mentally disturbed patients over the edge.

The mysterious woman in the secret room. Sprinkled throughout we hear weird X-rated thoughts and happenings about a Professor. An unhealthy obsession with her teacher.

Then there is the teenage patient, Andre who thinks his father is the devil. However, was his diagnosis correct? Why was he a different person before?

In the middle of everything, Zoe has been requested to start a research project on a new behavior technique and the Doctor wants her first patient to be her biological sister, Sofia.

Zoe’s birth mother died. She was adopted when she was three years old and Sofia was fourteen (killed their mother). Zoe had completely blocked it out from her memory. The adoptive mother tried to hide the truth from her.

Her sister was an ex-patient who also stabbed her in the neck. (Zoe is surrounded by dysfunction and drama). Has her sister really changed? Can a psychopath really ever change? Can she possibly help Zoe this time around?

Jack, their brother lost his eye when she stabbed him, who was left to fend for himself in a slew of foster homes until he found heroin and religion. (more about him here as well).

Clever plotting and extensive medical knowledge allow the author to control the story, full of suspense and enough edge to keep you glued to the pages. (with a nice balance of personal life from Zoe).

As in Block’s past books, THE SECRET ROOM is full of metaphors in relation to the concept of “rooms.” Both physical, also within our minds.

“Freud might say we have hidden rooms inside our minds that emerge in dreams or unconscious actions.”


In addition, references to dual identities throughout the book with both Zoe and her patients. Before and after. "In truth, none of us are who we seem to be. Many of us wear masks at times for one reason or another. To protect or hide behind."

I always enjoy reading the author’s work, which is thought-provoking, compelling, and leaves the reader with a strong takeaway message or question to ponder. Who am I?

Highly recommend starting with the first book to really understand the character of Zoe (she always seems to be on leave, at the end of each book) recuperating from a trauma. However, the author provides insight to get you up to speed and rest assured she will be back in full force for the next battle.

Fans of medical thrillers and authors: Tess Gerritsen, Kelly Parsons, and Michael (Daniel) Palmer will enjoy. The author is a practicing neurologist and her medical knowledge is reflective throughout. Hope to hear more from Zoe!

A special thank you to Grand Central and NetGalley for providing an early reading copy.

Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2017/03/05/The-Secret-Room
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review 2017-02-20 22:01
Audio/Book Review of The Healer by Christoph Fischer
The Healer - Christoph Fischer

When advertising executive Erica Whittaker is diagnosed with terminal cancer, western medicine fails her. The only hope left for her to survive is controversial healer Arpan. She locates the man whose touch could heal her but finds he has retired from the limelight and refuses to treat her. Erica, consumed by stage four pancreatic cancer, is desperate and desperate people are no longer logical nor are they willing to take no for an answer. Arpan has retired for good reasons. casting more than the shadow of a doubt over his abilities. So begins a journey that will challenge them both as the past threatens to catch up with him as much as with her. Can he really heal her? Can she trust him with her life? And will they both achieve what they set out to do before running out of time?


Review 4*


This is an intriguing psychological/medical thriller. I really enjoyed it!


I received a complimentary gift copy of this book in audio format from the author with no expectation of a positive review. This is my honest opinion.


This audiobook is narrated by Georgina Tate. She has a clear reading voice. Unfortunately, I was not keen on her reading style. She read the story in a jerky fashion in my opinion, taking unnecessary breaths in the middle of a sentence where no comma should be, and her pacing was a little too slow for my taste. She also did not modulate her voice or change her tone often, which made some sections rather monotonous. She also didn't even attempt to give the characters different tones or accents. This, in itself is not necessarily a bad thing, as not many people can do accents. Nevertheless, it made me feel a little bored at times and I considered switching over to a different story. However, I persevered right until the end.


Erica Whittaker is an interesting character. She is a woman who has been diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer. After a course of chemo that leaves her feeling extremely ill, she turns in desperation to a faith healer called Arpan, who has retired to the wilds of Wales, in an attempt to cure it.


I found myself intrigued with the storyline, which is told through the eyes of Erica. I also found some of the dialogue a bit clunky and repetitive, especially in the beginning where Erica first meets Arpan and tries to convince him to heal her. Arpan is an interesting character. He has retired from the limelight as a healer after a healing went wrong and his client died, which created a media circus. He is extremely reluctant to heal Erica and it's not until later in the story that one discovers the reason why. He also has an apprentice called Anuge (sorry, not sure of spelling). What got me curious about this situation is that if he's not practicing healing, why did he have an apprentice? Anyway, as the story unfolded, the mystery and suspense surrounding Arpan's apparent retirement comes to light when a drug company comes calling. I must admit there are several twists to this story that I didn't see coming, though I did have suspicions about a few things that I deduced correctly when they were revealed. The ending, however, left me feeling with a blend of surprise and disgust at how an innocent person can have their life ruined by either a potentially deadly mistake or a deliberate scam. The author has left the ending a little vague so a reader can make their own conclusion on this point.


Christoph Fischer is a relatively new author to me in that I've only read some of his short stories in an anthology he contributed to. Nevertheless, I love his writing style and, if I had read this book rather than listened to it, I think I would have enjoyed it better flow-wise. I would definitely read more of his books in the future.


Although there are no scenes of a sexual nature, violence or profane language, I do not recommend this book to younger readers due to the dark subject matter. I do, however, highly recommend this book if you love psychological or medical thrillers. - Lynn Worton

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review 2017-02-09 10:10
Under the Knife
Under the Knife: A Novel - Kelly Parsons

By:  Kelly Parsons

ISBN: 9781250033338

Publisher: St. Martin's Press

Publication Date: 2/7/2017 

Format: Hardcover

My Rating: 4 Stars 


Real life board-certified urologist and novelist, Kelly Parsons, returns following his gripping debut, Doing Harm, (2014), with his latest medical (psychological) thriller, UNDER THE KNIFE.

When a good doctor makes a mistake. A patient dies. The grieving husband takes revenge into his own hands with extreme, sinister, and terrifying measures.

Told from four POVs:

Biotechnology tycoon Morgan Finney has nothing to lose; however, since his wife Jenny’s death, his rage had grown and threatened to consume him. Grief crashed over him without warning. He was drowning in it. He would take justice into his own hands. However, he is sure Jenny would not approve.

He had grown rich from being absolutely certain about things. He had not slept in days and was exhausted. Her death was the action, and cosmic disequilibrium the reaction. Jenny had worked with deaf children in college and had delighted in the cochlear implant concept.

Flash forward a year later.

Dr. Rita Wu, an assistant professor of surgery at the University of California, was strapped to an operating-room table. Naked. She had no clue how she has gotten here. Then she starts hearing voices in her head. There is someone talking to her. The voice in her head is Finney?

The voice is telling her what she has to do. What the heck?There is no way she can operate with this voice in her head. She will go mad. A nightmare. There was no stopping the panic. She was terrified. She wished she could reach out to Spencer.

Dr. Spencer Cameron. He has not gotten over Rita. They had been broken up a year ago. He is stalking his ex-girlfriend. He likes to keep tabs on her. He still loves her.

Sebastian is the mystery man. He had taken a job. Finney had provided him with the dossiers and videos of the early test subjects. Those unlucky enough to have been the first to receive the implants. The device.

Rita had removed Jenny's ruptured appendix. There were complications and she died. Finney tells her his wife, Jenny died because of her. She also had been pregnant.

Finney was going to kill her. He would make her suffer. He would rob her of something precious. The way he had been robbed.

Between madness, insanity, and the unspeakable. This cannot be happening. What kind of sick joke?

No way out. The embedding. Complex commands. Demands.
This grieving, unbalance, crazy husband of a former patient had trapped her, in an elaborate and perfectly executed– setup? What did he want from her?

Terrifying and chilling, the author, keeps you on the edge of your seat with his heart-pounding suspense thriller and a race against time. From sinister medical technology, and human experimentation. Corruption. Murder. A psychopath. Guilt. Revenge.

Character-driven with non-stop action and intensity. Loved Rita and Spencer. For fans of medical thrillers, Michael Palmer’s Trauma and the TV series, Pure Genius. If you have not read his first book, Doing Harm, highly recommend.

I also listened to the audio version, and Nancy Wu delivered an outstanding performance.

A special thank you to St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.


Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2016/11/01/Under-the-Knife
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review 2016-07-07 19:15
Review – The Ebola Game by Glenn Shepard
The Ebola Game: A Dr. Scott James Thriller (The Dr. Scott James Thriller Series) (Volume 3) - Genn Shepard

The Ebola Game

by Glenn Shepard

on Tour April 2016



This is the third book in the Dr Scott James Thriller series. I have not read the first book in the series, but if you are just starting out, I would recommend beginning the series with Book I, The Missile Game.


I have been following Dr Scott James journey through hell and the action never stops in this horrific tale of zombies, terrorists, kidnapping and plague.


I am familiar with the characters and wonder what Glenn Shepard will do to them in The Ebola Game, which starts out with a bang…I mean a huge explosion at the hospital where Dr Scott James works. The bomb brought more than an explosion, it brought the Ebola virus. At the same time, a threat is delivered to Elizabeth at their home.


I found myself confused at times. I would have loved the story to be fleshed out. I think I needed more to fill in some of the blanks and add to the suspense.


I love James and Elizabeth, and especially JakJak. They all go above and beyond the doctor’s oath, putting their lives on the line to save the world. I love the twisted ending that leaves the story wide open for the next book.


I received a copy of The Ebola Game by Glenn Shepard in return for an honest review.

Animated Animals. Pictures, Images and Photos  3 Stars


Click here to read more.


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Source: www.fundinmental.com/review-giveaway-ebola-game-glenn-shepard
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review 2016-04-11 04:34
Mercy - Michael Palmer,Daniel Palmer

By: Michael Palmer, Daniel Palmer 

ISBN: 9781250030849

Publisher: St Martin's Press 

Publication Date: 5/17/2016

Format: Hardcover

My Rating: 5 Stars +

Top Books of 2016


A special thank you to St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

MERCY is an edge-of-your seat spine-tingling medical suspense thriller, by talented Daniel and Michael Palmer,tackling controversial topics of "end of life" decisions, with moral consequences.

When lines are crossed. Mysterious deaths. Conspiracy. Mystery. An evil killer in the hospital. Who is safe? Danger. What is the motive? Money or Mercy? Good or evil. Someone has access to the patients. A doctor and her future husband are caught in the crossfire.

Palmers' (2015) Constant Fear and Trauma both landing on my Top Books of 2015. Once again . . 

Highly Impressive! The author has produced two more "out of the park" hits, landing again on my Top Books of 2016:Mercy Coming May 17, and Forgive Me, Coming May 31.

Palmer must have superman qualities to crank out two extraordinary bestsellers in the same month, for two consecutive years. Your dad would be proud. Daniel, thank you from all readers for continuing your father’s groundbreaking work of medical thrillers.

There was no normal to Dr. Julie Devereux’s workday. A divorced woman in her forties, life as a critical care doc at White Memorial, a five-hundred bed hospital in the heart of Boston, was suited to people who could roll with it when emergency department interrupted morning rounds for an immediate consultation or when a patient who had been stable only moments earlier, was suddenly teetering on the edge of death.

Trevor, is her twelve-year-old son her only child. Divorced from Paul, Trevor’s dad, she is engaged to be married to Sam Talbot. Six months to their wedding. They were in love.

Julie was an advocate for death with dignity. She wrote papers and frequently spoke at conferences with the goal of bringing about policy change. Self-determination was a fundamental right, and the courts were beginning to agree. It was coming to health care whether the providers liked it, or not. Death with dignity laws did not, as some critics say, kill people who did not wish to die. Her activism, of course was controversial among her colleagues.

They thought it violated the Hippocratic oath to do no harm. Demeaning the value of human life, leading to abuse or reduce palliative care options. Good arguments; however, Julie believed that those most vocal in their opposition had at some point wrestled with the doubt. Is sometimes death, better?

Soon, events lead to "testing the limits" of this statement.Julie and Sam are involved in a motorcycle accident. Sam is left a permanent quadriplegic and is so hopeless and distraught, he begs Julie to allow him to die. To help him die. She disagrees. She continues to refuse. This is personal. The man show loves. She cannot help him die.

Julie had made a career out of keeping people alive who were on the edge of death. Should he have this right?

Finally, she brings in someone from an organization, Very Much Alive. To convince him that there is a good quality of life for quadriplegics. To help give him back his desire to live. In the past, Julie was probably on their list of least favorite doctors. In disability rights circles, Very Much Alivewas considered one of the most formidable. They oppose physician-assisted suicide. It is viewed as a lethal form of discrimination against disabled people.

Suffering was considered to be part of the human condition, as groups opposed to mercy killing often argued. Was it fair to force people to exist, often in agony, just for the sake of existing? A society that values physical ability.

Sam was being robbed of his mobility, and his dignity.

Michelle, the spokesperson for the organization, had an ethereal quality and her own personal experience with a similar situation, with deadly consequences to innocent parties. It wasn’t just about her husband and his freedom of choice, it was about all the lives connected to him. This is when she turned her focus to preserving life at all cost.

She and Julie encourage Sam to become involved in a support group and reintegration into the community. Julie finally persuades him to try. Sam agreed, and was open to the work -- taking it all in, with positive signs.

Suddenly, everything changes. Code blue. Sam’s heart and lungs had been functioning fine. What caused him to suffer a sudden cardiac arrest? He was gone. What caused the turnaround? 


An autopsy reveals that Sam died of an unusual heart defect, one seen only in those under extreme stress –Sam had been literally scared to death. Severe emotional or physical stress—or intense fear. Takotsubo Cardiomyopathy. His arteries were not blocked. His heart was healthy.

Did it mean Julie no longer believed in death with dignity laws? Or did it mean she believed in them as long as she was not personally affected? Either way, she could no longer serve on any of the committees, and canceled her speaking engagements.

There are more mysterious deaths and Julie is determined to keep digging to find a pattern, putting herself in danger. Now she is accused of mercy killing. In order to clear her own name and save her career, she has to find the real killer. She has to do some major investigating to find the doctor or person responsible for administering the fatal dosages. Is someone controlling hospital costs and trying to get rid of expensive patients for the bottom line, or is it something even more evil and sinister?

Compelling, and terrifying at the same time. From well-developed characters, to complex multi-layered edge-of-your-seat thrilling suspense, with twists, and turns you do not see coming. Loved Julie, a strong heroine--nothing will stand in her way. Palmer always features strong and tenacious female leads.

MERCY will have fans page-turning into the night, for a mix of crime thriller, science, psychological suspense, and a true medical top-notch mystery thriller, keeping Michael Palmer’s legacy alive at the top of the genre.




Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/#!Mercy/cmoa/56a4e69f0cf215a9bb931bdd
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