One misstep puts a man - and everyone he loves - in the path of a relentless killer.
The scion of an old-money San Francisco family, Daniel Brasher left his well-paying, respectable money-manager position to marry his community organizer wife and work at a job he loves, leading group counseling sessions with recently paroled violent offenders.
One night he finds an envelope - one intended for someone else that was placed in his office mailbox by accident. Inside is an unsigned piece of paper, a handwritten note that says, "Admit what you've done or you will bleed for it." The deadline in the note has already passed, and when Daniel looks into it, he finds that the person to whom the envelope was addressed was brutally murdered. But that's just the beginning.
It appears that the killer might have some connection to the offenders Daniel is counseling.
As he scrambles to uncover the truth, Daniel finds more warnings in his office mail, to people whom the police cannot track down, and to victims who cannot be saved. Daniel's efforts to find and help the victims, however, have alerted the killer to his involvement. Next Daniel gets a deadly threat of his own. Now, with the clock ticking, Daniel must somehow appease, outwit, or unmask a seemingly unstoppable killer.
©2013 Gregg Hurwitz (P)2013 Brilliance Audio, all rights reserved.
I've loved every other Greg Hurwitz book I've read or listened to, so I actually 'saved' this one for a time when I really needed distraction. That was not a wise decision.
If you like lurking and prowling along the edges of endless group therapy sessions with a bunch of really low-life people, then this is for you. However interesting the first hour or two of it might be, as you see the techniques the protagonist-therapist uses to make headway with some of them, it gets supremely boring going into hours six, seven and eight. I started to think I should get paid to listen to all this. (Okay, there's SOME other plot points in between, but not much. Clearly Hurwitz has chosen this vehicle to tell the story.)
That's one thing you can say about Steve White's Dr. Alan Gregory -- also a psychologist: he knows when to stop with the coverage of therapy sessions. There's a limit as to how much the non-psychologists among us are willing to listen to.
Yes, it picked up toward the end, but if you're considering this book, think about how many hours of group therapy -- much of it rendered in Ebonics by narrator Scott Brick, who does a fine job of staying awake through it all. Unless you're a psychologist who can get continuing education points for this, I'd suggest moving on to some other Greg Hurwitz book.
Daniel Brasher is the scion of a super-wealthy San Francisco family who is trying to sever his difficult, snooty mother's apron strings. Having walked away from the lucrative trade of managing the family fortune, he's now a psychologist working with violent ex-cons. Not that he's donned sackcloth and taken a vow of poverty - he still has his money, and as the book begins, he's making plans to start a private practice in a nice luxury office suite.
Much of the human interest involves his group of felons whom he meets with once a week as part of the terms of their parole. They are your usual assortment of poor, mostly non-white people who have made bad life choices, but each one has their little facets and secrets which are unveiled to give them a bit of added dimensionality. Much of the book takes place in their group counseling sessions, which of course turns out to be more significant when Daniel suspects that one of them is a killer.
Without spoiling anything, the killer is out to avenge a perceived injustice, and naturally Daniel turns out to be involved personally. Most of the plot moves in predictable fashion - you can tell when a "twist" is coming by how much of the book is left - but despite it being both somewhat formulaic and implausible (I really don't think the SFPD are going to keep asking a civilian who also happens to be the son of one of the city's most prominent families to keep coming to crime scenes where a serial killer may still be lurking about), I found it entertaining most of the way through. Only at the very end did it become so formulaic as to make me wish it had ended a chapter or two earlier.
Not a particularly thrilling thriller, but the plot moves nicely with a diverse range of characters, and being an expat Californian, I appreciated the San Francisco setting.
I have read most of the Greg Hurwitz books and this one was not only nail biting and intense but also moving. The characters in the story are lovable, well most of them anyhow. Redemption being a common theme, I just loved the characters and the relationships. How about a sequel? The main character could easily have a series where he continues to help the police detective. And narrator, Scott Brick never disappoints. He has narrated many of Greg's books and I have listened to all of them. More Scott Brick please, he could read the phone book and make it sound interesting.
Any Scott Brick narrated book but especially ones written by Greg Hurwitz, Harlan Coben and John Lutz.
He is the best! I actually look for Scott Brick narrated books when deciding what to listen to.
It made me cry in multiple areas as well as laugh. I went through the full gamete of emotions.
There is a similarity to all of Hurwitz's books. I don't mind. I'll keep reading.
Certainly kept you wondering.
He did Evelyn very well. Although I think he does a great job with all of characters.
Totally addicted to Audible.
Normally Gregg Hurwitz and Scott Brick would be a winning combination but this book just does not work. When I get a book by this author I expect a hang-on-to-your-seat thrill ride. The first 8 hours of this book are about as exciting as watching paint dry. Even when the pace picks up it is just very anticlimactic. I liked the main character but just never really connected with him or any of the others. And I knew who the bad guy was way before I should have. There were some thought-provoking moments and spurts of excellent writing but it was just not up to the normal standards of this writer.
From 4/12/15 on, I will only rate a book 5 stars if it so good I will listen to it again. To date, the Bino series tops that list.
When it comes to rating books I like I am fairly liberal with the stars. There were some flaws in this mystery, but what makes this such great entertainment for me is the group therapy sessions with felons and the depth of character unravelled in key players.
Daniel Brasher is the only heir to one San Francisco's wealthiest fortunes. Much to the chagrin of his mother, he shunned managing the family fortune to become a counselor. As if that wasn't enough, he married a divorced Hispanic community organizer with heart cancer. But this is all background.
Much of the book involves intricate, revealing and realistic group therapy scenes with hard core felons. Here is where Daniel's true genius is revealed. He is masterful as a therapist, leading his patients to heal themselves. The relationships here are complex and mysterious, because one of them just may be an active serial killer.
The contrast of his mother's snobbery and his wife's work is constant source of humor and quite a bit more.
There's great detective work involved and a great deal of suspense.
Scott Brick can come off heavy handed at times, but not with this performance. He is great.
Im giving this 5 stars because it truly is great entertainment.
I've listened to several other Hurwitz' books and was very happy, so I was excited to get started on this one. Unfortunately, it was a let down. The story line was interesting and original, but I kept figuring things out before it should have been apparent, leading me to be frustrated with the main character and lead detective. I like a challenge and this book was not one.
Something European or Nordic noir ...
Not applicable - the material he had to work with was so bad, ... but he has this way of narrating where his voice starts to rise and becomes more uber-dramatic - I don't like it at all.
Ha! The only scene worth keeping is the part where our hero finds the mis-delivered threatening letter.
You've been warned!
Retired CFO, Army wife, Mom of five, Grandma of six, two sons who served in combat, love to read books that reflect my values and faith, love mysteries, historical, military stories, and books that don't waste my time . . . if it doesn't have an ending that was worth the wait, I'm not a happy camper.
Wow! I really got into this one by Gregg Hurwitz . . . and I'm a fan of Scott Brick . . . so no problems there. The setting in San Francisco brought back many memories for me, having visited there lots of times when we lived in California. I also identified with Cristina, Daniel's wife, who is totally repulsed by Daniel's mother and her "old money". The convicted felons in Daniel's therapy group are beyond interesting, and as the story progressed, I had NO idea who the murderer was. Great book!
I almost didn't buy this because of FOSB (Fear of Scott Brick) but was pleasantly surprised that he seems to have toned down his inherent Scott Brickiness. Ha! I'm halfway through, think I've figured out the connection among the murder victims, and am particularly enjoying the stories and dialog of the counseling sessions led by the main character. Lots of implausibilities here but what the heck, it's not a textbook.
Report Inappropriate Content