Wednesday, October 11, 2017

The Blind

The Blind by A.F. Brady
Park Row Books: 9/26/17
eBook review copy; 416 pages
ISBN-13: 9780778330875

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 word.

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.

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of
Park Row Books

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