Friday, February 6, 2015

The Forgetting Place

The Forgetting Place by John Burley
HarperCollins: 2/10/2015
eBook review copy, 352 pages

ISBN-13: 9780062227409

Menaker State Hospital is a curse, a refuge, a prison, a necessity, a nightmare, a salvation
When Dr. Lise Shields arrived at the correctional psychiatric facility five years ago, she was warned that many of its patients—committed by Maryland's judicial system for perpetrating heinous crimes—would never leave.
But what happens when a place like Menaker is corrupted, when it becomes a tool to silence the innocent, conceal injustice, contain secrets? Why is it that the newest patient does not seem to belong there, that the hospital administrator has fallen silent, and that Lise is being watched by two men with seemingly lethal intent? The answers are closer than she realizes and could cost her everything she holds dear.
In this chilling follow-up to The Absence of Mercy, author John Burley—a master of medical and psychological detail—showcases the many ways in which the dangers of the outside world pale in comparison to the horrors of the human mind.
My Thoughts:

The Forgetting Place by John Burley is a highly recommended psychological thriller.

Psychiatrist Dr. Lise Shields works at Maryland's Menaker State Hospital, a psychiatric correctional facility. She joined the team five years ago, knowing from the beginning that: "There are individuals here who will never leave—who will never reside outside of these grounds. Their pathology runs too deep. They will never be restored to sanity, will never return to their former lives. And the danger, I am afraid—and the great tragedy for those who love them—is to cling to the hope that they will."

Lise is frustrated when a new patient, Jason Edwards, arrives without any paperwork detailing his medical history and the court orders for his commitment. When she asks her supervisor, Dr. Wagner, he provides her with no details other than stating that it will be fine and she needs to talk to him to find out the information. Eventually he tells her that his presence is related to the murder of his partner/lover, Amir Massoud. Soon it becomes clear to Lise after several long discussions with Jason that his presence at Menaker must be the result of a much larger conspiracy. Then she starts to notice she's being followed. When two FBI agents make contact with her, she begins to understand just how complicated and widespread the conspiracy is and she doesn't know who she can trust. Along the way we learn about Jason's story and some of Lise's background too. 

The Forgetting Place is well written and Burley provides plenty of clues along the way for readers to figure out the conspiracy. I'm going to have to admit that I guess almost immediately what the big twist was in this novel. And while it closely resembles another novel (which I won't name to keep the secret) with the same kind of twist (which was done a little better), it does do a great job holding your attention. I kept reading to see if I had guessed correctly, and there were even a few times I doubted myself, which says enough. The ending made the rest of the novel worth my time and bumped up my rating to highly recommended.

Disclosure: My Kindle edition was courtesy of
HarperCollins for review purposes

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