The Blind by A.F. BradyPark Row Books: 9/26/17
eBook review copy; 416 pages
The Blind by A.F. Brady is a highly recommended debut novel of addictions, codependency, psychological self-examination and redemption.
Samantha "Sam" James, 37, always acts positive and keeps her inner
demons at bay while maintaining her position as the
best psychologist at Manhattan’s Typhlos
Psychiatric Center, where she is admired by her boss and peers. Her
professional life stands in sharp contrast to her personal life. After
work Sam is drinking heavily and being physically abused by her
boyfriend. Sam thinks she's keeping her two lives separate, but when she
needs to throw up almost every morning from her alcohol intake the
previous night and has to use special makeup to cover up any bruises her
boyfriend left, well, she knows her life is spiraling out of control.
When a new patient, Richard McHugh, comes to
Typhlos, none of the other staff want to take him on as a patient.
Richard is an enigma. His file is virtually empty, with no diagnosis or
patient history. He doesn't talk. Richard spent twenty years in prison
and is believed to be violent. No one knows why he is at Typhlos. After
a month with his first assigned psychologist, Richard is assigned to
Sam because she has a good reputation counseling difficult patients. He
comes into Sam's office with his stack of newspapers and doesn't say a
As Sam's risk taking increases in her personal life, mistakes begin to
happen in her professional life. Richard witnesses one of these which
eventually become the impetus for him to open up and share his secrets
if Sam reciprocates. This leads to a personal analysis of both of their
lives, just between the two.
The Blind is an intense character study of a woman who must
put herself back together before her life spirals completely out of
control. While described as a thriller, it really doesn't fit that
description. There isn't any nail-biting suspense. There is addiction,
pain, mental anxiety, abuse, and other difficult topics covered. Sam
narrates the novel and tells the story in her voice. This is a wise
choice by Brady, who is a Mental Health Counselor/Psychotherapist, since it allows us insight into Sam's thoughts and actions.
I found The Blind
to be extremely well written and engaging. The big reveal/twist likely
will be guessed by most readers early on, but in this novel it is the
journey to get there that makes the novel worth reading. It does drag a
wee bit in the middle and Sam's self-destructive behavior does become
painful to witness. The ending is worth the time spent reading the
difficult parts as this is a novel where the reading journey needs to be
to the ending destination.
My review copy was courtesy of Park Row Books.