Whole World Blind by Michael Mefford. Available at Smashwords.com.
Summary: “One man trudges forward, his life in ruins. A psychiatrist, he’s done his best to guide others, but some of his guidance has gone wrong. Very wrong. One man lost his mother to suicide and was left with a monstrous father. He vows revenge on the psychiatrist that turned his childhood into a nightmare.”
This is a dark, psychological thriller with a crazy serial killer who focuses his efforts on the doctor whom he blames for his mother’s death.
I started to have a problem with this book when the main character, Dr. Carson, has no problem giving the police the names of and details about his former patients. The police are able to walk into a family planning clinic and ask where the files are and if they can see them, and the manager of said clinic freely admits the files aren’t locked up, and she proceeds to let the police paw through them. The conclusion I must draw here is that this book was written before the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act was passed in 1996, and indeed before any concept of doctor-patient confidentiality, which is part of the Hippocratic oath. Either that, or it is simply a grievous oversight by the author or a way to cut corners.
Any person trained to work in a hospital, doctor’s office, or pharmacy knows to never give out any patient information, unless a compelled by a court order. People make mistakes, but Satan would be ice skating to work before any police officer was just casually granted permission to look through patient records. This may not be important to you, and it only affects part of the story, but to me, this is like saying rocks roll uphill or the sun sets in the east.
Some creative thinking could have been practiced to circumvent this very real dilemma. The female cop could have seduced Dr. Carson into telling her the names. Bribery or threats could have been used. Anything except a simple asking and granting of permission. Even a single sentence: “Once the court order went through, they drove over to the clinic…” etc. As is, it takes credibility away from the whole novel.
I think the story could have been a little spicier. The police happen to guess everything right the first time. No spoilers, but one of the conclusions they came to was, I thought, pretty remote. This book could easily be a hundred pages longer if a few more people were questioned, the killer taunted Dr. Carson at the hospital a bit more, or more background about Dr. Carson’s life was given, rather than only the info pertaining to his car accident. I got a sense of the whole thing just being rushed.
As a thriller, Whole World Blind fell a little short for me. There are some suspenseful parts, but they are so brief that it’s impossible to savor them. The story idea is good, and once the author’s writing muscle is exercised a little, I think a lot of incredibly creepy and suspenseful stories will be produced. The end of this book is left open to a sequel, and if one comes I’d check it out.
If anyone’s ever wondered about what goes on inside the head of a writer Thomas Harris when he writes about Hannibal the Cannibal, you’ll feel the same way about Michael Mefford. Some people just have a talent for deliberately expressionless delivery of shocking information, and he is one of them.
The Bottom Line: I’d recommend it if you want a quick read, and you like the police procedural/serial killer genre.