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Billy Bishop, the Russian-born adopted son of a billionaire, has all the classic signs of a sociopath, but before he's arrested for the murder of Darwin and Julia Bishop's infant daughter, his half sister, Nantucket police chief North Anderson wants another opinion. Frank Clevenger, the forensic psychiatrist evaluating Billy, isn't convinced of the teenager's guilt, especially when he learns that Darwin has been abusing Billy for years. The victim of his own father's abuse, Frank has difficulty maintaining appropriate emotional boundaries in his dealings with the Bishops--not just with Billy, but also with Julia, who becomes his lover. All the loose ends in this tidy little psychological thriller are tied up a bit too neatly, and the denouement comes as no surprise to anyone except perhaps Frank himself, who's a little too quick to abandon his professional objectivity. Keith Ablow, a forensic psychiatrist like his protagonist, has used his medical background before (Denial, Projection), but in his effort to make the defenses and motivations of the characters in this novel completely comprehensible to his readers, he sacrifices its subtlety and diminishes its suspense. --Jane Adams
Battle-scarred Boston forensic psychiatrist Frank Clevenger is reluctantly drawn into the Nantucket murder case of five-month-old twin Brooke Bishop in this brainy psychological thriller. All evidence points to the younger of the victim's two adopted Russian-born brothers, 16-year-old problem child Billy. The boy's father, Darwin Bishop, a wealthy entrepreneur from Brooklyn, promptly sends Billy off to the psych ward at Manhattan's Payne Whitney to keep him under observation. But Clevenger's old inner-city cop buddy, North Anderson, now the Nantucket chief of police, thinks Billy was set up by the real killer and fears for the surviving twin. Clevenger heads to the island, but the pressures of the case retrigger his old alcohol problem, which is complicated by his instant lust for Bishop's ex-model wife, Julia. Billy escapes the psych ward, and there is a murder attempt on the other twin, but it is far from clear that Billy is the culprit. Meanwhile, Darwin has Clevenger followed by goons in vans, gets North kicked off the case and pushes Billy into jail without getting him a good trial lawyer. Unsettling phone calls from Billy; a pretty nanny's pricey jewel; old court records; clues from Billy's older brother, Garrett; a dark secret of North's; and assaults on Clevenger and Julia send Clevenger down a twisted trail to a whammy of a double surprise ending the reader won't see coming. Action nimbly shifts from gritty urban Boston to window-dressed Nantucket, and the people and politics are realistically portrayed, including the ballsy but deeply flawed protagonist. Not as bloody as Ablow's first outings (Denial; Projection), this one scores as a great psychological mind-bender.
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Ablow's newest tale is his best yet. The author doesn't use his background in forensic psychiatry to bore you with complicated medical terms but instead allows the reader more of... Read morePublished on June 9 2004 by Kay Blythe
This is the first book I have read by this author. If you like the medical thriller genre, then you should pick up this book. Read morePublished on June 2 2004 by L. Dunn
"Compulsion" is another great book by Ablow. Set a few years after "Projection", Dr. Read morePublished on May 4 2004 by Peter LaPrade
Ablow's last novel PROJECTION turned me off so much I didn't want to read any more of his books, but I gave this a try anyway, and I'm glad I did. Read morePublished on Jan. 15 2004 by David Group
This book could have been shortened by at least 40 pages. It tries too hard to throw out red herrings and pushes suspects too vividly until the reader KNOWS they won't end up... Read morePublished on Nov. 30 2003 by Sandra Trolinger
Once again, I have found a great author but read his latest, Psychopath first.. which left no secrets in Compulsion. Dr. Read morePublished on Oct. 31 2003 by A. Vegan
I'm not really good at summarizing stories, but I have to say, Keith Ablow has totally blown me away with the forensic psychologist Frank Clevenger books! Read morePublished on Aug. 31 2003
I think the main character-Frank- needs more therapy. His issues distracted from the story to such an extent that I couldn't get into the mystery. Read morePublished on July 1 2003 by Jenny
Frank Clevenger is a fantastic antihero, and Keith Ablow has created something special. A fantastic ride that is hard to step away from, following in the steps of Denial and... Read morePublished on June 22 2003 by Nathan Dowell