No More Liesby Susan Squires
Dr. Holland Banks is head of the Century Psychiatric Hospital and president of the Schizophrenia Research Foundation...but is she going insane? The rest of the world seems to be. There's a sniper on the loose, she's being stalked, her father is conducting deadly experiments, and she's begun to hear voices: other people's thoughts. But a man was just admitted to
Dr. Holland Banks is head of the Century Psychiatric Hospital and president of the Schizophrenia Research Foundation...but is she going insane? The rest of the world seems to be. There's a sniper on the loose, she's being stalked, her father is conducting deadly experiments, and she's begun to hear voices: other people's thoughts. But a man was just admitted to her hospital—one who searched her out, whose touch can make her voices subside. Is he crazy, too, or a solution to her fears? A labyrinth of conspiracy is rising around her, and Holland's life is about to change forever. Very soon there will be...No More Lies.
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No More Lies
By Susan Squires
Copyright © 2003
All right reserved.
It always started with her hand, before it got the rest of
her. Holland Banks could sense the dream unfolding yet again,
though she could not stop it. She could never stop it. Sweat
broke out over her body, soaking the thin cotton of her
baby-blue sleep shirt. She opened her eyes on darkness, as she
always did. Her hand lay on the white of the sheets beside her
pillow. That was part of the dream. So was the feeling of evil
that swirled in the room. The dim outlines of the mission oak
furniture in her bedroom wavered at the edges of her vision.
The ribs of the headboard and the backs of her rockers cast
the shadows of a prison on the walls. The slats of the
plantation shutters-meant to keep out the Los Angeles
lights-weren't doing their job. Thin channels of moonlight cut
across the darkness to create the shadows. Even in the canyon
you couldn't escape the glow of the city. Star jasmine in the
boxes along the balcony drenched the night with a scent that
seemed too rich for L.A. So familiar ... so alien. Just like her
It lay on the white sheets beside her pillow, consuming her
field of vision. The long tapered fingers curled softly, nails
made shiny even in the dark by clear polish. The hand had a
young woman's skin, smooth, the ropes of veins still softened
byflesh not yet collapsed around them. The hand lay there,
quiescent, somehow distant. Yet she could feel the evil
pulsing in the darkness, the stench of it mingling with the
smell of sweat and star jasmine and the fabric softener her
laundry used. The hand was alien, not human at all. What would
it not do? Murder? Sabotage? Betray her, her people, her
As always, the panic rose in her as she realized that the evil
was attached to her. How could she escape the monster when it
was part of her body? The hand was about to do something
terrible. What to do? Her breath came in ragged gasps. Could
it kill her? Best she chop it off before it tried. With what?
Chinese cleaver ... in the kitchen? It would try to stop her.
She sat up. The comforter duvet in white, embroidered cotton
slid to the side. Her hand, that foreign lump of evil attached
to her arm, was dragged across her lap. Somewhere a cat
As though the movement wakened it, the hand sent tendrils of
evil up her arm. She was too late! She clutched at the
merciless wrist with her left hand, stumbling to her feet. The
hand stretched its fingers wide, seeking. It wanted to touch
something, something she was afraid of, and if it found what
it wanted to touch, the world would be forever changed.
Malevolence flowed around her elbow, searching for her heart,
her brain. Fear beat at her mind. When the evil engulfed her,
she would not longer be able to control what she did. Power
surged inside her. It made her feel strong, whole.
She pushed herself erect, thrusting down the siren call of
power. She had to fight it. Somewhere, someone was whimpering.
She staggered toward the bedroom door. The pulsing red beat
pushed up to drown her heart, her lungs. She gasped, fighting
for air. A scream formed in her throat and was stifled there.
Her eyes bulged. She sank to her knees. The evil roiled up her
carotid artery into her brain. All that was left of Holland
Banks was about to be lost and she knew that the kernel of
evil had always been inside her, waiting for this moment, and
that the kernel wasn't human. She wasn't human. She never had
* * *
Holland's own shriek woke her up. She was crouched in a
corner, hugging her bare knees. Her gaze darted around the
darkened room, cut by channels of moonlight. Nothing. No
evil-just the slats of her grandmother's mission rocker, the
pristine white of the tumbled bedding, the shadowy bulk of the
armoire. Her pulse beat in her ears. She sucked in the damp
night air from the open window with the scent of star jasmine.
Then the shaking began.
It's just the dream, she told herself, hugging her knees even
tighter, to stop the shaking. You've been having it since
college. Can't you get used to it? But now it happened almost
every night. And the emotion wasn't getting easier, though she
often realized it was a dream even as she dreamed it. No, her
nightmare was getting worse.
She listened. But all she heard was the blood humming in her
ears. Tinnitus, John had called the condition when she was
reduced to consulting him. The constant noise was getting on
her nerves. Great. Tinnitus. Yet another thing wrong with her.
John even said it often sounded like whispering. God, she
couldn't believe she'd been desperate enough to tell him about
the whispering. Somehow she hadn't liked to tell Dr. Grayson,
old family friend that he was, at her routine check for the
levels of allergen suppressant in her blood. It was easier to
ask John at the hospital, maybe because he wasn't a friend of
her father's. John's eyes had gone curious for a moment. No
cure for it. He'd offered her Xanax and said that sometimes
helped suppress the noise. But she was not yet reduced to
using sedatives. The only other choice was just to get used to
it. Tune it out. John might well use her weakness against her,
doctor/patient confidence be damned. Why hadn't she gone to
some doctor who didn't work at her own hospital? She was being
stupid, and someone like her could never afford to be stupid.
She pushed the damp blond hair out of her face. Control
yourself, she admonished. Your Impostor Syndrome is getting
out of hand. Everyone feels like they're in over their head
once in a while. Lots of people feel like they don't deserve
their position or that someone will find out they're not as
smart as they're cracked up to be. People didn't think they
were evil, though, or not human. That was carrying her issue
It was hell to be a psychiatrist. Diagnosing yourself and
everyone around you came a bit too easily. Holland managed a
weak smile and shake of her head as the trembling subsided. To
center herself, she repeated her achievements like a mantra.
Her lungs expanded and she let the air out slowly. Phi Beta
Kappa, summa cum laude form Yale, pre-med. Second in her class
in med school, though she should have been first-would have
been if she'd been male. Stremski's research was not nearly as
original as her own project. Prestigious funded internship at
the Neuro-Psychiatric Institute at UCLA. The ground-breaking
studies on schizophrenia. They still called it the Banks
Remission phenomenon. Rising through the ranks at several
hospitals until now she was Director of Medical Services at
Century Psychiatric Hospital, the most prominent private
treatment and research center west of the Rockies-hell, west
of the Mississippi. Head of the Schizophrenia Research
Foundation. Not bad for thirty-four.
That's what the dream was about, just Impostor Syndrome. She
wasn't evil. She was just an overachiever who worried that
someday someone would find out that she had to work harder
than anybody else to get where she was and stay there.
Someday, hard work wouldn't be enough to get by, but that day
was not yet. Holland suppressed the psychiatrist part which
whispered that the whole thing had gone beyond a mild neurosis
and that she was bordering on something she wouldn't like the
She even knew the root of the problem. She had a lunch date
with him tomorrow, well, today. The clock on the oak antique
ice chest serving as a night table glowed three a.m. That must
be why the dream had been so virulent. Lunch with her father
was always difficult.
She sighed and pushed herself up the wall. When she was sure
her knees were not too wobbly to hold her, she staggered to
the walk-in closet and pulled a caftan in white embroidered on
white over her head. There would be no more sleep tonight.
Might as well read that stack of journals sitting on the
library table by the door.
* * *
In the hospital employee parking lot, Holland glanced in the
rearview mirror of her Mercedes 450 at the same time as she
swung into the space marked DR. BANKS. She'd chosen her spot
in the corner of the flat lot rather than one in the garage
because no one could park next to her. With ice plant growing
on one side and the vent from the hospital's heating unit on
the other, her car was not subject to the vicissitudes of
careless drivers opening car doors. She'd trade isolation of a
covered space any day. Besides, it was L.A. How often did it
When the car had jerked to a halt, she turned off the key but
left the radio running as she pulled down the visor and
flipped up the vanity mirror cover. Not good news. The roar in
her ears seemed worse this morning. The noise was taking its
toll. She looked as though she hadn't slept. True enough, but
it was the last way she wanted to look at work. The radio
bared on about the latest sniper attacks. How many of these
guys were there? Simultaneous events in Seattle and L.A. last
night. Another four weeks of this and the whole country would
She took a compact out of her Dooney and Burke briefcase and
layered some self-powered foundation over cheekbones that
seemed a little sharp. Not much to do about the shadows under
her eyes. The blue of her irises arrested her for a moment.
Patients found them unnerving. One had described them as clear
turquoise, like the bottom of a swimming pool. Not comforting,
on the whole. You drowned in swimming pools. An older woman
had said she looked as though she couldn't lie. Holland gave
an almost inaudible snort. Yeah, wasn't that what Impostor
Syndrome was all about-the feeling that you were living a lie?
For that matter, what was psychiatry but relative truth? Not
much difference between that and lying. Her father would no
doubt tell her there was no difference at lunch today. He knew
all about truth. She patted a pale strand of hair back into
her chignon and adjusted a hairpin. Sleek. Professional. That
was how she wanted to look.
For a moment the voices of her med school colleagues darted
through her mind like random shots of a gun, just enough to
wound, not to kill. She had come up behind a group of the guys
one day as they talked about some woman they called a frigid
ice princess. They'd laughed, right up until one of them
noticed her. Their faces had frozen in horror. It was only
their expressions that told Holland they were talking about
her. Her surprise was closely followed by shame. The flush
that filled her had turned to anger. She'd simply turned and
walked away. She had never spoken to any of them again, in
spite of several mumbled apologies. Didn't they know what
control it took to be truly excellent at what she did, what
sacrifice? Didn't they understand what price she paid to be
the best of any of them?
She stared in the little mirror, examining the flawless lips,
"Plum Mist" filled in for moist perfection; the big eyes lined
with subtle pencil, their naturally thick lashes enhanced with
mascara; wispy fringe of bang to soften her face. Pearl
earrings, the big and expensive Tahitian variety, lent their
iridescent gray echo to the strand of their fellows around her
neck. The gray linen dress with white piping would look crisp
under her white lab coat. Professional, brittle ... even,
almost, true. That was the way psychiatrists had to look. They
had to at least pretend that what they did was scientific.
She cut off the radio's hysteria with another flick of the key
and slid out of her little sports car. The news these days
seemed calculated to fuel hysteria. Her five-foot-six turned
to five-eight in her metallic gray Ferragamo pumps. She slung
her briefcase strap over her shoulder, then turned back to
lock the car. The sussurrations in her ears got suddenly
louder. It was almost like words she couldn't quite hear. She
glanced around as though they had a source.
That was when she saw him. He stood on the sidewalk some five
feet above the parking lot about fifty feet away, up toward
Third Street. Ice plant, recently watered, covered the slope
to the sidewalk. He was looking at her, she was sure of it.
His hair was light brown and long. It almost touched his
shoulders in the back, and brushed his chin even at the sides.
It hadn't been cut in a long time-just allowed to grow. As she
watched, he pushed his fingers through his hair to get it out
of his face. He looked as though he hadn't thought to shave
for several days. He wore a plaid shirt she would bet was
flannel, even in the heat of the L.A. summer. The sleeves were
rolled up on his forearms. His jeans weren't tight, but they
showed his form. He was bulky through the shoulders, maybe
barrel-chested, and his thighs were thick with muscle.
He was definitely staring at her. The rush of sound in her
ears whined up the scale until it was almost painful. Help me.
What? What was that? Her own thoughts given voice? Or real
words in her head, hidden in the tinnitus? She shook her head
but the words were gone, leaving only the roar. As she
realized she had been staring back at the stranger, Holland
looked away, guilty. She jerked herself around toward the back
entrance to the hospital and stalked away. The sounds flooding
her ears faded. But the image of the man would not be
banished. Hadn't she seen him before? Her thoughts skittered
over recent activities. Where? Hanging around the hospital?
Or ... was it at the gym yesterday?
God! Panic washed through her. It had been at the gym. He'd
been walking in as she walked out. He had turned around to
look at her. Jesus! He was a stalker. She picked up her pace.
Where were the security guys when she needed them? She
practically lunged for the door, but before she could reach
it, it swung out, and a pair of huge orderlies coming off the
night shift almost ran her down. They were laughing. The door
banged into the wall.
"Sorry, Dr. Banks," one stuttered. "Didn't mean to nearly kill
Holland laughed. Damn! It sounded just this side of
panic-stricken. She took a breath and hauled her expression
into what she hoped was normal range. "No problem, gentlemen.
I'm just glad to see you two." Their presence gave her enough
courage to turn and glance back across the parking lot. It was
empty of people. An SUV pulled in at the far gate. No plaid
shirt, no jeans, no long hair. The stalker had vanished.
Relieved, Holland stepped through the door one massive orderly
held open, refusing to meet his eyes. She didn't want to know
if he was looking at her strangely.
As she stepped into the world of gleaming linoleum and pastel
walls, the smell of the hospital calmed her. The vague odor of
sickness-disinfectant, floor wax, starch, urine, vomit, food
that all smelled the same-wafted over her. This was an
environment where she knew what was expected of her. She was
master of it, in spite of the dreams, in spite of the noise in
her ears, in spite of the guy outside. She straightened her
shoulders and clicked down the hall to the elevators. She put
her professionalism on like a flak jacket. Nurses murmured
greetings. Orderlies nodded as they wheeled cold breakfasts to
patients in the unlocked rooms. Holland managed to return the
greetings with a smile and felt herself come back into focus.
That guy wasn't stalking her. She couldn't even be sure it was
the same one from the gym. Two plaid shirts-that's all she'd
seen. What were the odds that they guy would be wearing the
same shirt two days in a row? These dreams were making her
nervous. That and the tinnitus. John hadn't been able to
explain what caused it in her case. She hadn't had a blow to
the head, or ear infections. Weren't medical conditions
supposed to be more clear-cut than psychiatric ones? Maybe she
just needed rest. She could prescribe herself some Ambien to
help her sleep, but that was an addictive slippery slope.
Dependency was not in her nature. The answer was work. She
knew how to work. She pushed through the door into her office
suite on the sixth floor. Time to put on the persona. Time for
"Good morning, Chloe." She put her briefcase on her desk in
the inner office and slipped into her lab coat.
Chloe handed her a stack of charts. "Rounds in ten minutes,
Holland nodded. "This afternoon, I'd like to review the grant.
Did Rhenquist complete the drug therapy section?"
Excerpted from No More Lies
by Susan Squires
Copyright © 2003 by Susan Squires .
Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
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Dr. Holland Banks is head of the Century Psychiatric Hospital and president of the Schizophrenia Research Foundation and the phrase 'Physician Heal Thyself' is foremost at the front of her brain. It¿s just not Holly¿s week. She is suffering from terrible nightmares from which she awakens thinking her hand is an evil being. At first, she chalks this up to her inner feelings of being inadequate. The daughter of a high-powered research scientist, she has never measures up to the mad-scientist daddy dearest¿s hopes for her. She feels she has to continually push be perfect, in her work, in her appearance, and the only place Holly lets down her hair is her home. She could chalk up the odd dreams to the pressure of younger doctors wanting her position, and that she always fears someone is going to find out she is not as good as she thinks she should be. Except for one thing: someone is stalking her. She first sees him outside her exercise club, then later as she is coming out of a restaurant from a meeting with her father. The man is handsome in a rugged way, and dressed in a plaid shirt - always a plaid shirt. Her sense of losing her sanity increased as she begins to hear his thoughts. Someone took a shot at her ¿she thought it was the stalker, but the police point out she was watching his hands at the time and he was not holding a gun. Was someone else shooting at her? Where they shooting at him? The riddle of the stalker's identity comes to light at a press conference where her father is announcing his breakthrough in genes altering. Holly fears her father is pushing into areas that are not only outside of what is legal, but way beyond what is ethical, and has warned him not to announce she has anything to do with his work. Despite two warnings, Leyland Banks does just this because he needs Holly¿s reputation ¿and more. When the stalker breaks into the conferences and attacks Leyland, Holly¿s grip on reality slips even further, for she hears what the stalker is thinking. The man is admitted to her hospital as a patient, and Holly is strangely drawn to the reporter who seems to have gone mad. She is rattled by his blethering about people who thought they were aliens¿very similar to Holly¿s own dream. As she begins to work with the reporter, she starts to fear something dark and sinister is spreading it tentacles throughout the city. There are strange deaths, people disappearing, and a sniper on the loose racking up nearly two dozen kills ¿and at the bottom it Holly¿s fears her father¿s work is the cause of it all. Squires continually pushes the edge in her writing. Keeping the reading off balance and pulling them along on the dark ride. It¿s a first class nail bitter that you won¿t be able to put down.
Dr. Holland ¿Holly¿ Banks has a successful psychiatric practice as the chief of Century Psychiatric Hospital and the President of the Schizophrenia Research Foundation. However, as the world seems to be falling apart, her own environs appears in worse shape as she hears voices in her head that drives her crazy because she is either losing her mind or is possessed. Jeff McQueen seeks Holly help because he hears voices inside his head and worries that he is losing his mind. He becomes her patient and shockingly they give each other relief from the voices as together they somehow can silence the noise especially when they touch. Almost as surprising the duo also can hear each other's every thought. Holly soon learns that she shares this gift with hundreds of people who are the voices in her head. However, Holly is unaware that her father is working with a senator to genetically manipulate this group to insure a future world of no lies controlled by this Congressman and his associates. As they fall in love and find comfort in each other¿s arms, Holland and Jeff try to stop the senator from destroying the world, as they know it. Though psychic control seems old with collectives like the Borg and the Damned and Corn children, Susan Squires provides a powerful refreshing tale. The lead couple is a delight, as few protagonists need each as much as this duo does. The metamorphosis from enemies to co-dependents to love is beautifully told. Though the senator seems too weak as a villain to pull off his dastardly plot, fans will believe Ms. Squires pulled off her clever plot. Harriet Klausner
Holland Banks, (Holly), has made a sucessful career for herself as a pschiatrist, despite the fact that she often feels like she is going insane herself. Voices clammer in her head, giving her little peace. It is not until she meets another person with a problem much like her own that she has hope of finding peace. ................. Jeff McQueen first encounters Holly when he attacks her and her father. Later, when he becomes her patient, Holly finds herself attracted to this strange man who is able to bring silence to her voices. When they touch, Holly and Jeff are able to find peace. They also find that they can hear each other's every thought. They are not the only ones though. Hundreds of people in the world have this blessed curse. Those people are the voices in their head. What is more alarming is that Holland's father is working with a corrupt senator to use as many of these people as possible in genetic manipulations and political schemes that could lead to a world wide nightmare. .............. Imagine, a world where no one could lie, not even the white, polite lies that are termed diplomacy. In a world built upon lies, the truth is the one thing that could destroy reality. Holland and Jeff must stop the senator from his scheme to control the world. The two lovers set off on a journey across the country, barely a step ahead of an enemy who can invade their very thoughts. .............. ***** One of the best things about Susan Squires is that she always creates a new way to tell stories. Her plot is exciting and thought provoking, and her characters realistic. From politics to religion, she covers all bases. There may be many books about psychics, but there is not one that is like NO MORE LIES. *****