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Denial
     

Denial

3.8 13
by Keith Ablow
 

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Frank Clevenger is a forensic psychiatrist who hates authority, fears intimacy, uses sex as an aesthetic, is tortured by his professional mistakes, and can't free himself from the shadows of a brutal, alcoholic father and an absent, unfeeling mother. But it is precisely this injured psyche that allows him to understand the deranged behavior of the mental and

Overview

Frank Clevenger is a forensic psychiatrist who hates authority, fears intimacy, uses sex as an aesthetic, is tortured by his professional mistakes, and can't free himself from the shadows of a brutal, alcoholic father and an absent, unfeeling mother. But it is precisely this injured psyche that allows him to understand the deranged behavior of the mental and emotional outcasts who cross his professional path.

As Denial opens, all of Clevenger's understanding and expertise are put to the test: He has been asked to rubber-stamp the mental competence of a homeless schizophrenic who has confessed to a particularly grisly murder. As evidence of a shocking series of murders begins to mount, Clevenger will be forced to confront his own most terrifying and powerful demons.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
"We are, all of us, crippled and twisted," observes Frank Clevenger, the forensic psychologist who narrates Ablow's lurid debut thriller. Frank's own knowledge of cocaine, booze, gambling, strippers and sadistic sex (all intimately detailed by Ablow) has made him an invaluable consultant to the Lynn, Mass., cops, so he's the one police captain Emma Hancock turns to when the murdered and mutilated body of a young woman is discovered. Did the schizophrenic vagrant found at the scene of the crime do the deed, as the cops think? Frank thinks not and is compelled to search out the truththat a serial killer is on the loose. To do so, he must deal with difficult cops and physicians; with his lover, Kathy, an ob-gyn who is hounding him to give up his wicked ways; and, above all, with his inner demons. Too many charactersthe wisecracking pathologist, the whore with the golden heartsmack of clich, and the plot strains (but doesn't rupture) credibility as it reveals Frank to be much closer to the killer than he suspected. Even so, Ablow, himself a psychiatrist, delivers a convincing, seductively fascinating portrait of a man and a milieu obsessed with sensation and trapped in denial of that obsession. (July)
Kirkus Reviews
First-rate debut thriller involving forensic psychology by practicing psychiatrist Ablow (The Strange Case of Dr. Kappler: The Doctor Who Became a Killer, 1994).

Ablow's protagonist, forensic psychologist Frank Clevenger, makes for a distinctly unusual hero: He repeatedly falls off the wagon, goes from one billowing, self-defeating obsession to the next, buys coke on borrowed money, buys sex at nude dance bars, bottomlessly gulps scotch, gambles, drives drunk, digs S&M, can't pay his bills, solicits his mother for drug money, and more. The upside is that Clevenger's terrific insight into abnormal behavior may in fact be just because he's so twisted himself, a result, it's suggested, of his being the product of an alcoholic, suicidal, abusive father and a promiscuous mother. Now Frank is called in by Chief Emma Hancock to help send up the killer who murdered a young woman and cut her breasts off. A homeless nut wants to confess, but Frank, after interviewing him, says no. When her own niece becomes the madman's second victim, Emma gives Frank free rein to chase the perp and throws in three grams of coke to keep him stable. Meanwhile, Frank has huge fights with his live-in mate, Kathy, an ob-gyn who delivers babies all day and keeps leaving Frank because he won't quit the coke. Following leads to his favorite girlie bar, where he sits in "Perverts' Row" and feeds money to naked dancers, Frank finds himself attracted to Rachel, a star-crossed lady who analyzes him more keenly than he can himself. Ablow's main subject here is psychology, not melodrama, and, yes, he's written a cautionary tale. But, like The Lost Weekend, it ends with the hero still self-deluded and in denial—with Clevenger thinking, against the evidence, that he's on the road to recovery.

From the Publisher

“Spellbinding and shocking.” —Nelson DeMille

“Gripping...The forensic details are convincing and the writing is sharp, making Clevenger's return trip from hell and undeniably uplifting story.” —People magazine

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780312983888
Publisher:
St. Martin's Press
Publication date:
04/28/2002
Series:
Frank Clevenger Series , #1
Pages:
384
Product dimensions:
4.12(w) x 6.80(h) x 1.02(d)

Meet the Author

Keith Ablow received his medical degree from Johns Hopkins and completed his psychiatric residency at New England Medical Center. A practicing psychiatrist with a speciality in forensics, he has written essays for The Baltimore Sun, The Boston Herald, U.S. News and World Report, U.S.A Today, and the Washington Post. The author of several works of nonfiction, Ablow lives in Chelsea, Mass.

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Denial 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
the twist at the ending is unpredictable. it's a book that is hard to put down inspite of its theme- sex, drugs and prostitution.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
This was a really good book. When I began reading it I could not put it down. So if you enjoy a great mystery with a twist Denial is most definitely the book for you, and you will be surprised in the end..
Guest More than 1 year ago
If drugs, explicit sex and mutilation is your kind of read, well this book is for you. If not stay away from it. I found it depressing and degrading.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Keith albow has prove to be one of the great masters of storytellers. The pace of the story was fun, I couldn't put the book down.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is believably seamy stuff, quickly paced, smart and scary, filled with deliciously flawed characters. Ablow doesn't place his protagonist above the fray: Frank Clevenger is a gifted forensic psychiatrist with severe addiction issues that include coke, women other than his partner, and twisted psyches. There is not a character in this book who is free of quirks and tics, and it is from this pallette of dark human vagary that the story draws its power and its very plot. As one who lives in Eastern Massachusetts, I was taken by Ablow's adept use of local geography. Clevenger lives in one of those big houses in coastal Marblehead that require two doctors to support a mortgage; he works and plays, if such a word can cover his particular recreations, in his rag-tag hometown of "Lynn, Lynn, City of Sin," and in equally gritty Chelsea. The duality fits the man, a haunted and abused blue- collar boy beneath the professional veneer. Not shy in matters of sex, blood, drugs and insanity, this book is not for everyone. But for those who like their mystery dark and their humanity imperfect, it's a real find.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I liked this book. The plot was interesting. A hero with flaws always seems more real to me. The descriptions of sex are explicit. At times I thought I was reading a letter to Penthouse. The characters seem real and are well developed.