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VINE VOICEon 8 June 2017
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is a good read from start to finish and thoroughly recommendable. It centres on the story of Dr Elliot Taverner, a charismatic and complex character, who has been deeply affected by his experiences during and in the immediate aftermath of the First World War. As the book proceeds, we get to learn far more about the doctor himself, his patients and the methods that he has developed to treat them through psycho-analysis. In particular, he has to deal with a very challenging patient who appears to have a multiple personality disorder that is triggered by reading other people’s handwriting. Dr Elliot is himself an expert in the field of graphology and he uses these skills in his diagnosis and therapy. However, all is not as it first appears and there are echoes of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde as the plot unfolds.

The book is well researched and draws upon some interesting theories to create a plot that intrigues and weaves around the characters as they develop. Above all, it is well crafted and written by someone who has clearly mastered the art of effective story telling. This is a noir-thriller that maintains suspense until the very last page.
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VINE VOICEon 9 September 2016
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Set in London in the early 1920s, 'The Fractured Man' tells the story of a psychoanalyst called Elliot Taverley who has a particular interest in graphology (handwriting analysis). He works at a clinic called the Chapel, where late one evening he encounters a man called Raphael who comes with a story which intrigues him: that he takes on the characteristics of another person if he copies their writing. Interweaving this story with background from Elliot's troubled family past and traumatic experiences during the war when he travelled to Russia in search of his (possibly psychopathic) brother, everything rapidly begins to fall apart for him.

The story is atmospheric and interesting, if not nearly as unpredictable as the author may have intended (I guessed the major surprise plot point at the end of chapter one). Some of the content is rather disturbing (a pet is murdered brutally, for example) but it is mostly psychologically intriguing rather than overtly violent. A good read.
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VINE VOICEon 14 October 2015
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Elliot Taverley is a psychoanalyst using handwriting analysis with his patients. This is a controversial new technique in 1920's England, but he is unwavering in his defence of it.

Upon meeting with a strange man, Elliot becomes intrigued by how this individual appears to change personality according to the handwriting style that he has copied. And so begins the 'real' tale, as Elliot becomes trapped in this case, trying to solve the mystery.

The story is not really about this strange individual, it is truly about Elliot himself, for he is driven to uncover his own stories through his examinations. What he discovers about himself drives him to the brink, as he desperately tries to work out what actually happened then and now. Elliot needs to get everything back in place before he loses his whole career, and his fiancee too, but can he do that now?

The novel explores the damage done to the human mind by living through the atrocities of war. It has a great twist to it, although I had figured it out fairly early on. This did not detract from it particularly.

The Fractured Man is a solid read, and it isn't as fast-paced as some would like. That is what makes it all the more noteworthy, as it slowly pulls the reader in page by page until suddenly, like Elliot with Raphael, you realise you have a need to know what is happening.
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on 14 March 2016
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
A good debut novel set in the immediate years of post Great War London. The central character is a medical man interested in the new science of psychiatric medicine and handwriting. In the course of his daily business he comes across an intriguing case that leads him into dark and troubling areas of himself. Will the hazardous and troubling return to Russia ease Dr Taverley's mind or push him further down into darkness ?
Many of the characters, as opposed to just the central one, are well drawn and have some realistic depth to them. In terms of the period of the novel, there is certainly a very authentic feel to everything.
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VINE VOICEon 15 May 2015
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
In the aftermath of World War I, an ambitious young psychiatrist called Elliott Taverley is trying to establish himself as an expert in the new discipline of graphology. Its use as a therapeutic tool is still controversial, and so Elliott jumps at the chance to treat a new patient whose psychotic episodes are triggered when he copies others' handwriting. His patient Raphael is not quite what he seems,however, and soon Elliott's promising career and impending marriage to elegant socialite Helena are both threatened by what ensues.

Described as a psychological thriller, the novel wants to keep all its secrets to the end. It's perhaps a shame that I guessed the denouement in Chapter One, but it didn't ruin the book for me - there's plenty to absorb and entertain in terms of character and emotional dynamic. Loosely based on a real case history, the book deals compassionately with the effects of trauma - both in war and in childhood - and there are some likeable and well-rounded characters, most notably Elliott's friend Stanislav and his feisty fiancee Luljeta, although I felt Elliott's family - especially his slightly psychotic elder brother Ed - could have borne a little more exploration. There are some harrowing scenes and a keen understanding of the period, though the prose tends towards the overwrought and book does contain a few distracting Americanisms - a character waits "for the longest time" and a "convenience store" figures briefly in 1920s London.

All in all, an impressive debut, though, which much to say about how the mind deals with - and routes around - catastrophic psychological and emotional damage.
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TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 28 February 2014
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
The idea behind this novel intrigued me. London in the 1920s is always a good, meaty background for fiction. One war has ended while another is soon to start. There's so much for an author to dip into. Add the concept of psychotherapy, hints of insanity, and you should be on the road to something pretty good. In some ways this novel takes you along that road but in parts it leaves you wondering if you want to travel any further.

Elliot Taverley is the lead character, a young man specialising in hand writing analysis, The Fractured Man follows Elliot through a bizarre series of events as his profession leads him dangerously close to losing his own mind.

There are some nicely worked time shifts between the present and the past which manage to pull in details of Elliot's less than happy childhood and introduce a range of sub-plots as diverse as the horrors of a Russian war through to a character with the ability to 'shift' personality and morph into different people.

Sounds great doesn't it?. For me, and this is just a personal opinion, there's not enough pace or darkness to carry the weight of such a disturbing plot. It's almost as though the author was afraid to reach too deeply and fully examine the possibilities. There's a tendency for the plot to drag it's heels and when it does it slows to a stop which made it difficult to stay focussed.

I will add; the general quality of the writing and research is extremely good. There's a real sense of the believable. I could have reached for a 4* review had there just been that certain edge, that certain tension, which seems to be missing.
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Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This thriller is based around Elliott Taverley a psychoanalyst who specialises in handwriting analysis. The story features one of his patients who,when he copies another person's handwriting,takes on that persona. It is well- written but a somewhat far- fetched tale, more akin to a ghost story. That didn't fit with my expectations of a book about a scientist, though Elliott descending into madness would be one explanation.  Well written but just not my kind of story.
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on 13 July 2015
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
An at times intriguing read that has all the makings of a cracking historical psychological thriller but doesn't seem to manage to fire on all cylinders quite enough. The writing and plotting is technically good but as with so many novels theses days, it lacks any sustained emotional lustre and suspense- striking novels that keep you interested enough to rush to turn the next page cannot be written by numbers alas. As an exercise in getting into the mind of the central character it works well enough, you just end up finishing the book thinking an opportunity has been lost.
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Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I enjoyed the period setting and descriptions of London. It was fascinating to read of slum housing & back street pubs mixed with the High Life of Bloomsbury and the medical world. Mixed with the cultural and personal impact if the First World War this is a real good read. On top of that there is a real mystery unfolding. I had to keep reading and finished this off in 4 sittings. Well worth a read and a great price too.
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on 6 August 2016
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This could have been amazing, the first quarter of the book promised to be so. Graphology, murder, suspense, psychology, it could have been so much. But then it dwindled, the fire went out in this book and failed to keep my interest unfortunately. Sorry
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