Top critical review
The reporter and the photographer followed him all the way to the car park...
on 28 August 2012
So - can Tony Blair's spin-master write? Yes he can. He portrays his central character as a caring psychiatrist, Martin Sturrock, who has plenty of his own problems. As well as a failing marriage (and absolutely everyone in this book has a failing marriage) he is spiralling downwards into depression while trying to treat his patients, be a good father, and try to stop his addiction to prostitutes.
Somehow, the problem of a man in such a conflicted state - one of his patients is the victim of a rapist, another has been rescued from a forced prostitution racket - carries the guilt of his own hidden failings which are slowly eating him away from the inside. Ironically, it appears, as he disintegrates many of his patients seem to be recovering. Emily, a young girl caught in a fire, her beauty marred by third degree burns to one side of her face, finds that she can face the world again and doesn't have to hide away. A drink-sodden cabinet minister is safely salted away in a clinic. And a young man learns that being humble can be a good thing.
I felt the ending was a bit self-serving a bit too slavishly eulogistic - wasn't there anyone who didn't like Sturrock? I wasn't too keen on him myself, given the central concept that this was a serial client of prostitutes who was simultaneously treating women who had experienced rape/forced prostitution. There`s an uncomfortable juxtaposition for you.