I was enjoying this book until the end, but in the end it's still a great read!

filled star filled star filled star filled star star unfilled
harasnicole Avatar


I went into this book with high hopes for loving it because I love reading mysteries and suspense and thriller — even though I wouldn’t exactly classify this particular story as a "thriller" — and for the most part, I really did enjoy this. I loved the setting of a psychiatric facility and the connection that the main character has to it, enough to work there, and I loved that this takes place in Duluth, Minnesota. Obviously, I’ve never been there myself, but I loved the atmosphere of such a town and the author did a really great job painting the picture to make it feel as if we, the readers, are there experiencing everything that’s happening.

This isn’t your run-of-the-mill detective novel; the main character looking to solve the mystery is a young 20-something language therapist who has abandonment issues, thanks to her mother who left when she was a young girl. She’s just trying to live her life to the best of her ability when her boss and therapist, Dr. Mehta, assigns her to a patient that’s not on her normal rotation, and soon she can’t help but become invested and attached to not just the situation, but the patient she’s tasked with getting to talk.

I guess I should point out that this story revolves around a father and his son who have disappeared off-the-grid into the Boundary Waters some ten years ago, without a trace. One day Lucas Blackthorn finds his back into civilization only to be arrested after ransacking an outfitter store, and later placed into a psychiatric facility for being violent and uncommunicative. What I think this book did well was touch on a topic that’s not often — if at all — discussed today: what happens when a mental patient isn’t a mental patient? By that convoluted question, all I mean is that for the entirety of this story, Lucas Blackthorn is being treated as a mental patient, being plied with medication that he may not even need, and eventually his behavior starts to become erratic, and you start to question the facility's motive. They want information about Lucas' father, but Lucas can't tell them anything if he's too drugged to speak. He's not selectively mute because of something in his brain; he's mute because he doesn't trust anyone in that hospital to help him.

The definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Lucas attempts to flee the facility three different times because he needs to get back to his father, but he won’t tell anyone why because he doesn’t trust anyone at Congdon (and for good reason, in my opinion), so it just becomes this complicated case of morals and ethics and how far one will go to do the “right” thing.

This story is both fast-paced and a slow-burn. Just when you think things are picking up, they slow down again, and it’s frustrating because you want to get the rest of the story, and what happened with Lucas and his father, but the timing has to be absolutely perfect, and it was. It so was. Everything was worth it in the end.

Except the romance.

And the ending.

Those are really the only two things in this book that turned me off. The ending I felt was kind of anticlimactic as well as a little rushed, and the plot twist near the end regarding Lucas’ father seemed, to me, to come out of left field, so while I give props to the author for the unpredictability, it also left a foul taste in my mouth that I didn’t like. There’s also another “mystery” in here that pertains to Lucas’ and his dad’s former landlady addict that didn’t really add much of anything to the story for me to think it was somehow important.

As for the romance, I just personally didn’t care for it and think that the story would have been better without it. I was more kind of hoping for some kind of close friendship between Lucas and Maya, two people with dark pasts who share a common bond. However, I do appreciate that the author went the route of the supposed “happy” couple possibly not working out in the end because of how much they’ve had to deal with, or the big-ass secret that Maya’s keeping from Lucas, so I guess there’s that.

I forgot to touch on it in this review, but the writing was also beautiful to read. Unfortunately, it didn’t lend itself for me to be able to connect to any of the characters. Except for maybe Lucas, but that’s mostly because of how Dr. Mehta and the orderlies were treating him simply because he was uncommunicative by choice, and one of the security guards pissed me off so much, I wasn’t even the least bit upset by what had happened to him.

All in all, this is a fantastic read, it’s fast to flip through, and I enjoyed a good 75-80% of it until those themes I mentioned cropped up. If you’re into Mystery/Suspense that takes place in the Midwest, or stories that have a setting of a psychiatric facility, then this may be something you will enjoy.