Friday, April 17, 2015

Asylum by Lily White

Asylum by Lily White

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I received a free copy of this book to read and review for Wicked Reads.

Asylum is an intense read that appealed to my love of romantic suspense and psychological thrillers. In the same vein as Ker Dukey’s Empathy series and the Serial series by Jaden Wilkes and Ms. White, Asylum delves into the mind of psychopaths and the criminally insane. What is truly terrifying about this book is that it quickly becomes apparent that not all of the crazies at the Statham Institution for the Criminally Insane are patients, some of the employees are just as certifiably insane as the patients.

We meet Alex on the day that she meets her new psychiatrist. While Alex believes that she has only been at Statham (or the Asylum as the patients refer to it) for a month, we learn that she has been there for a year and has almost no recollection of the past four years of her life, including the two men she is accused of murdering. Although her previous psychiatrist, the staff, and a good number of the patients believe Alex to be faking her amnesia, Dr. Hutchins questions the accuracy of her diagnosis and current treatment regimen. What follows is a brilliantly crafted journey into a troubled mind using a combination of hypnosis and drug cocktails that enable Dr. Hutchins to unlock parts of Alex’s memories regarding the circumstances of her alleged victims’ deaths. Between the investigative efforts of Dain, her police detective brother, and the progress Dr. Hutchins makes during Alex’s therapy sessions, more facts regarding the deaths are revealed and while some point to her innocence, others do not.

While I do not and cannot condone doctor-patient relations in real life, the same does not hold true in fiction because Jeremy – Dr. Hutchins – was about the only bright spot in Alex’s life in the Asylum. Not only did he care about her wellbeing and made her feel safe, the man was apparently sex-on-a-stick hot and their chemistry was undeniable … when they were alone. Just in case her mental health issues and an inappropriate relationship with her doctor are not enough, Alex is being targeted by several of the staff, bringing her safety into question on a near daily basis. When things come to a head, I must admit that I was relieved that the friends Alex made over the course of the book came to her aid and resulting carnage couldn’t have happened to a more deserving guy. And despite ALLLLLL that happens in the book, I still found myself floored by the Epilogue. Even with my graduate level abnormal psych classes, I never saw THAT coming. Well done Ms. White.

I appreciate that Ms. White clarifies in her Author’s Note that she has taken liberties with the psychological diagnoses, symptomology, and treatment include in Asylum. That said, as a student of psychology, I loved the way she dealt with the psychologies of the various patients – some of the patients presented with textbook symptoms while others’ embellished symptomologies were skewed ever so slightly that they maintained a feeling of realism while scaring the bejeezus out of me (freaking eyeballs!). While the facility described is nearly nonexistent today (I haven’t been to every facility so I can’t say they’re completely absent), it is reminiscent of the early years in psychiatry and every freaking horror movie ever set in an asylum – again, scaring the bejeezus out of me. My only real concern about this book is that it’s classified as a “Dark Erotic Novel.” While the book is indeed dark and it is erotic, it’s not what I would consider dark erotica. So if you’re looking for dark erotica (e.g., Pepper Winters and CJ Roberts) you’re probably not going to find what you’re looking for in Asylum. However, if you’re looking for a dark psychological thriller with erotic elements, well buckle up and enjoy the journey into madness.

Check out the Asylum by Lily White Blog Tour post on Wicked Reads.

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