Top positive review
28 people found this helpful
"Why was my panic always so close to the surface?"
on 21 July 2004
It was completely delightful to find a novel that has an interesting plot, a thrilling pace and characters with depth, including a heroine that captivates. Dr. Morgan Snow has been working as a psychiatrist for The Butterfield Institute for the last five years. Morgan's clientele is varied and includes all kinds of characters. One of her patients is a call girl named Cleo, who has succeeded in developing a business by herself and leads a comfortable life.
Cleo Thane has written a book with her memoirs of her life in the trade, revealing secrets of very influential people, their fantasies and fetishes. Cleo has been able to secure a six-figure contract from a publisher, and even though she disguised the male characters with which she has had sexual encounters, the descriptions may be enough to identify them, so Cleo asks Dr. Snow to read the manuscript and give her an opinion as to whether publishing the book is a good idea or not.
M. J. Rose succeeds in her presentation of the main characters by giving them substance and a rich personal history. Morgan has recently finalized her divorce, and has a twelve-year-old daughter who wants to be an actress and takes this very seriously. Morgan has trouble dealing with her recollections of her mother who was also a child actress, and how this affected the way in which Morgan's childhood developed. The fact that the author switches back and forth between her narrative and the one done by Morgan makes the novel more interesting and also makes easier to understand the motivations and logic behind the actions of the heroine.
In "The Halo Effect", when a killer starts murdering prostitutes, the first one being a patient of Morgan, and then Cleo disappears, Morgan feels compelled to take action. The bodies have been left dressed as nuns, with their pubic hair shaved in the shape of a cross and the women have been given the sacraments before their death. Special Victims Unit detective Noah Jordain contacts Morgan seeking her help in profiling the killer. She is also contacted by Cleo's business partner and by Cleo's boyfriend, both of which want to look at the manuscript and wish to know about what was said in the psychiatric sessions. Morgan is thus placed between a rock and a hard place, if she talks, she breaches the confidence Cleo placed in her, but if she does not and Cleo is really in trouble, she is preventing her from getting help.
The only "reasonable" option is from Morgan to get involved in the investigation, even when she need to go against the advice of her godmother, protector and owner of The Butterfield Institute, Dr. Nina Butterfield. From this point forward, we are swept away into a fast paced thriller that has all the necessary elements to be a bestseller. I guarantee you will not regret picking this one up.