Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Haunting and Memorable, New YA Gothic Thriller Explores the Madness Inside Us All

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

"I think we're all quite mad.  Some of us are just more discreet about it."
-- Dr. Melanithon Thornhollow
Although she's been locked away in a Boston insane asylum, Grace Mae is not crazy.  But she is pregnant.  Her condition must be hidden in order to protect the reputation of her father, a powerful senator.  If his supporters knew of his unnatural and unwanted attention toward his own daughter, his political career would be over.  Overwhelmed by the bleakness of her surroundings, Grace keeps her anger, her fear, her despair locked inside.  Posing as a mute, she swallows all her words and feelings, hardening her heart so it can't be broken any further.

By the time Dr. Thornhollow arrives at the asylum to treat troublesome patients, Grace is ready to volunteer for a lobotomy.  Anything to distance her from the mad world in which she now lives.  Thornhollow hesitates when he recognizes how different Grace is from his other patients—her quick intelligence, he realizes, could be very useful.  An amateur criminal profiler, the doctor makes Grace his assistant.  Continuing her ruse as an insane mute, she accompanies him to crime scenes, gathering clues from sources that see her as less than human.  The scenes are gruesome, but fascinating.  As gory as Thornhollow's hobby may be, helping him gives Grace a new lease on life.  But the more involved she becomes, the more she's exposed to the darkest, bleakest parts of life, the more she feels her own sanity slipping.  Will Grace's new-found freedom be the thing that finally tips her over the edge?  Or will it be the saving grace for which she's been so desperately searching?

Yes, A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis (available October 6, 2015) is as dark as it sounds.  This gothic thriller delivers plenty of chills—not of the supernatural kind, but of the disturbingly real variety.  With its bleak setting and macabre subject matter, this is no warm, fuzzy novel.  It is, however, tautly written and totally compelling.  Disturbing, but memorable.  Grace is a complex, interesting heroine—she's wholly sympathetic, yet not entirely admirable.  She's intriguing, for sure.  Overall, A Madness So Discreet offers an absorbing story that explores the fine line between sanity and insanity as well as the madness that lurks not so deeply inside us all.  These fascinating ruminations give this haunting tale an extra depth.  As repugnant as this story can sometimes get, it remains a riveting, shivery tale perfect for Halloween reading.

Don't believe me?  Check out the book's spine-tingling trailer:



(Readalikes:  Reminds me of The Madman's Daughter series [The Madman's Daughter; Her Dark Curiosity; A Cold Legacy] by Megan Shepherd; and a little of Mistress of the Art of Death by Ariana Franklin)

Grade:


If this were a movie, it would be rated:  


for violence, blood/gore, language (no F-bombs), and disturbing scenes/subject matter

To the FTC, with love:  I received an e-ARC from the generous folks at HarperCollins via those at Edelweiss.  Thank you!

4 comments:

  1. Wow. Just wow. I'll have to watch for this one to come to my library. I want to read it.

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  2. Besides the cover being incredibly awesome, I've seen this one around and wanted to read it. Now that you like it, I'm even more interested.

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  3. This sounds so good and I've been hearing good things about it! Maybe I'll have a chance to read this in October, sounds perfect.

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