Book review: The Blind

The Blind by AF Brady

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 savior 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 analyze her own life, and what she discovers terrifies her. And so the mind games begin. But who is the savior and who is the saved?

Normally books that go more towards fiction thrillers and such are not really my cup of tea. But the synopsis of The Blind caught me with intrigue. I have been watching some shows within the same genre and those turned out very positive. There is always something magical, dark and sinister as soon as a book, a tv show or a moves mentions phychologists and psychiatric institution. You can bet that there will be something supernatural or some serious mind games. The Blind falls into the latter part. 

Meet Sam James, a bit passed the prime in her life, she has spent a lot of time and effort at the Typhlos Mental Health institute to make a name for herself and become on of the leading psychologists. But this is only a front that she puts up about herself, not saying that she isn't a good psychiatrist, she is. It is just that she puts on a facade about her personally. Sam has some demons of her own that she cannot seem to tackle and get rid of. Thus she does what most of us humans do in such a situation. Don't focus on your own problems but those of others. And get drunk on most of the nights. Her boyfriend doesn't make the whole situation any better as he is not really there for her, and only makes the situation worse. 

A new patient at Typhlos is about to make Sam's life a lot more interesting though. Richard McHugh is his name. He has been in jail and no other psychiatrist has been able to get in his head and convinced him to talk about his problems. Some of Sam's colleagues have tried it but they haven't succeeded, so with Sam's winning streak with other patients, she is put up to the task to get Richard to talk. And thus begins an interesting relationship between doctor and patient. 

What I liked about The Blind is that it is not a straightforward book at all. There are specific tropes that are often used in this genre and granted there is sex and such in the book but the relationship I mentioned earlier between Sam and Richard that grows is far from based on that. It also comes to show, already early one, that the focus is on the personal side and how Sam goes through everything. It takes some skill to write about in this way about how a character goes through a lot of events and that is what makes this story strong and stick with you. Sam is crumbling down with almost every page, and what keeps her on track is to help other patients from going the same route. 

From the characters, Sam is the one that stands out. She has the most things written about here and you get to see how she thinks and how she reacts. Sam is the one that makes the story stick. Next to her, the colleagues of Typhlos are an interesting pair, but it somehow felt that they didn't have enough written about them to make more of them than just being at that moment in the story. Her boyfriend Lucas is the worst, he is an asshole and you keep rooting for Sam to finally have the courage to break up with him in the hopes that she can make more of her life. Then there is Richard, to be completely honest, he struck me as interesting with what can he have to hide, what doesn't he want to tell you, what is his dark secret. At some point you do want to hate him as well, but then right at the middle of the book, everything changes and for the better. 

The ending of the book could have been a bit more cleaner and more exciting for me, the build up towards the ending was done neatly but it missed just a little bit more to give it more of an edge. But this is just a small remark. 

The strength of The Blind is the personal story of Sam and how she is finding herself is rough deep waters. When I started reading, I hadn't dared to think about the direction that the story eventually took. This is the kind of story that I like to read about, it challenges, confuses and wonders you. 


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