Monday, March 10, 2014

Review: Dark Whispers by Joanne Macgregor

Title: Dark Whispers
Author: Joanne Macgregor
Publisher: Protea (2014)

"She is so still, so relaxed, so ready as she lies on the stainless steel, her breathing slow and steady, her gaze unfocused. There is just time for a small whisper, a soft encouragement of hope, before the darkness slides her entirely into his honing hands. He leans over and breathes into her ear, “I’m going to do something very special for you now. Cut it all away and make it neat. And when you wake up, you’re going to be just perfect.”

Between the anaesthesia and the awakening, are the dark whispers."

When a patient describes an experience of mental torture and sexual mutilation by a gynaecologist at the private hospital where she works, psychologist Megan Wright decides to investigate. Determined to find out the truth and stop the abuse, but bound to silence by the ethics of confidentiality, Megan must enter the dark mind of a dangerously disturbed man.

Dark Whispers is the first adult novel by local author Joanne Macgregor. I received a review copy from the author herself and admittedly didn't quite know what to expect. I found myself drawn into the story and the psychological aspects and Joanne's own background as a Psychologist really does shine through.

This is not your typical horror or whodunit novel. You know from the start who the bad guy is and it creates an tense dance between him and the main character, Megan. Megan is an interesting character as she is hardly perfect herself and these flaws add to the suspense.

The writing is tidy and the story storms along well, with no time wasted on frilly prose.

What was drawn to my attention is just how much we are at the mercy of our doctors and how much trust we place in the hands of a person we have interacted with for an hour or so at most prior to going under the knife. This touches on my own personal experiences, although they were hardly as horrific. It makes me wonder just how many doctors are out there who breach this trust and never get what is due to them.

Without giving much away, I loved the ending. I felt it had a great touch of horror to it and leaves the reader wondering just what exactly the reality of the situation we are left in is. It felt quite open-ended and open to speculation.

This is a great psychological thriller and I hope it gets the attention it is due. You can easily shelve this one next to SL Grey's The Ward and never feel quite so comfortable with your doctors again.

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