The Blind – A.F. Brady

The Blind is the first novel of a Mental Health Counsellor/Psychotherapist so you know going in that there’s going to be plenty of introspection by the main character, and there was.

Sam has worked hard to maintain her reputation for being the most reliable and competent psychologist at Typhlos Psychiatric Centre. She’s praised by her manager, Rachel, and is given all of the tough cases that no one else can handle.

Richard comes to Typhlos with practically no background information and won’t talk. After becoming involved in his case, Sam finds herself in a situation she’s unfamiliar with. Richard is not giving anything away and all of Sam’s usual techniques don’t work on him. As they spend more time together, the mind games begin.

Usually I’m so engrossed with characters and what’s happening that the big reveal comes and I’m just as surprised as the character. When I figure it out early it indicates to me that I’m not emotionally involved in the book and/or the big reveal is super obvious. I found myself in both categories during this book. I didn’t emotionally connect to any of the characters and worked out the big reveal plus the psychological diagnosis of a character by 20%.

Had I not already committed to reviewing this book I would have stopped reading at 20%. I was so irritated by one of the characters and their behaviour that I was over it. I knew as I was reading that the author was setting the scene for later in the book but by 20% I no longer cared. I’m a firm believer in there being so many books on offer out there that you shouldn’t have to fight to get into one.

If you’re feeling like I was, hold on. It does get better from just before the end of Part 1 but it never really took off for me. It does give the reader insight into what it’s like to live with mental illness and to work in the field. I feel like this is a 2.5 star book but am rounding up in recognition of this being a debut novel.

Content warnings include alcoholism, drug addiction, mental health issues, partner abuse and suicide.

Thank you very much to NetGalley and Harlequin Australia for the opportunity to read this book.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

With the intensity and rawness of Girl, Interrupted and Luckiest Girl Alive comes this razor-sharp debut, which reveals how one woman can go so far off the deep end, she might never make it back up.

Sam James has spent years carefully crafting her reputation as the best psychologist at Typhlos, Manhattan’s most challenging psychiatric institution. She boasts the highest success rates with the most disturbed patients, believing if she can’t save herself, she’ll save someone else. It’s this saviour complex that serves her well in helping patients battle their inner demons, though it leads Sam down some dark paths and opens her eyes to her own mental turmoil.

When Richard, a mysterious patient no other therapist wants to treat, is admitted to Typhlos, Sam is determined to unlock his secrets and his psyche. What she can’t figure out is why does Richard appear to be so completely normal in a hospital filled with madness? And what, really, is he doing at the institution? As Sam gets pulled into Richard’s twisted past, she can’t help but analyse her own life, and what she discovers terrifies her. And so the mind games begin. But who is the saviour and who is the saved?

In this unexpected and addictive psychological debut, A.F. Brady takes readers into the psyche of a deeply disturbed woman desperately trying to keep her head above water, showing that sometimes what’s most terrifying is what exists in your mind.

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