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by Ann C. Fallon

Pocket Books, 2000
ISBN: 0-671-88516-2

Reviewed by Jennifer Ashley

When I read the opening chapter, I almost put the book down; the chapter was slow-moving and even clumsily written. But I persevered to chapter two--and found myself swept away into the emotional fervor of the book.

Thomas Darcy, a successful psychiatrist in Dublin, Ireland, is shocked and heartbroken when his horse, which he boarded at a stable, is found with its throat slit. Darcy longs to discover the culprit, but the police do not help. So he turns to James Fleming, a lawyer who had closed a real estate deal for him years before, and asks James to help him out.

James, torn between two women in his life (the ethereal Sarah and the down-to-earth Geraldine), seizes upon the investigation as a welcome distraction. He gets to know Darcy, finding him a passionately caring man with a troubled marriage and the inclination to take blame upon himself for others' problems. James becomes drawn to Darcy, and decides to try a spot of therapy himself.

But James stumbles upon murder instead, and finds himself investigating Darcy's life, wife, and troubled clients.

Much of the book is taken up with sketching the characters of Darcy's clients. Darcy's clients include a young murderer, a successful businessman, and a quiet college professor, whose problems range from clinical depression to low self-esteem (obsessions with mothers seems to be a recurring theme.)

This book focused on emotion rather than action. It was moving and disturbing in places, but quite an interesting read. I confess that if the story had not been set in Ireland, I might have passed it up, but an Irish psychiatrist added a spin of interest that a psychiatrist in over-therapy-ized America might not have.

I recommend the book and will look for others in the series.

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