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The Other Woman
     

The Other Woman

by Abigail Van Alyn
 

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This intricately plotted suspense novel examines the fateful attraction among three incongruent characters, as their destinies collide profoundly and violently.

Anna Sheffield is longing to heal from a violent incident in her past. Her traumatic flashbacks have driven away her friends and her lover and left her unable to do what she loves most: make

Overview

This intricately plotted suspense novel examines the fateful attraction among three incongruent characters, as their destinies collide profoundly and violently.

Anna Sheffield is longing to heal from a violent incident in her past. Her traumatic flashbacks have driven away her friends and her lover and left her unable to do what she loves most: make extraordinary art. Raised to be strong and self-reliant, she reluctantly seeks help from a prominent therapist, Dr. Robert Buchanan.

Robert is clever, handsome, and successful. He's intrigued by the resistant Anna and determined to lead her to a breakthrough. But when a former patient comes back to haunt him, he's forced to examine his own tangled past as well.

His nemesis, Michele Palmer, is young, exotic, and out of control. Her life is a train wreck, and there's only one person she blames: her old therapist Robert.

Michele's lust for revenge against Robert soon puts Anna in her crosshairs. Can Michele's wild energy break open the cage of Anna's fear? Or will Michele and Robert be the death of her?

Influenced by Jungian psychology, Abigail Van Alyn has woven a dark story of trauma, repression, and redemption.

Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
2016-11-01
Intense psychodramas involving two women and their domineering shrink escalate to skullduggery and violence in this noir­ish debut suspense novel. San Francisco Bay Area psychiatrist Robert Buchanan's Reichian praxis of forcing patients to confront "the primal truth about sex, the drives, the instincts" by needling them with sarcasm as he sketches pornographic cartoons may seem like an inappropriate way to treat sexual assault victims. But after two years of such therapy, Anna Sheffield, a rape survivor suffering from PTSD and sculptor's block, thinks she's making some progress. However, her confidence in his methods wanes when another patient, Michele, a gorgeous exotic dancer and child molestation victim, tells her that Robert fathered her 18-month-old child during a session; the striptease she performed for him, complete with an undulating serpent-in-Eden tattoo, eroded his willpower. Michele's scheme to blackmail Robert into paying or marrying her gradually ropes in the well-meaning Anna and unearths evidence of other sexual misdeeds and suspicious deaths in his past. Robert will use all his powers of seductive manipulation, medical authority, and pharmacological expertise to suppress this evidence. The sleuthing plot at the center of Van Alyn's meandering yarn sometimes feels contrived and ill-motivated; it's the kind of story in which people keep asking the heroine why she doesn't just go the authorities with her suspicions—and they never get a good answer. What redeems the novel, however, is the subtlety and psychological shrewdness of the author's prose and dialogue, and the vibrant complexity of her characters. Robert, for example, is a masterpiece of bombastic narcissism ("She was too small to tolerate the vast spaces of his inner being," he muses about his former wife), and Michele is a richly layered tapestry of delusional romanticism and self-centered money-grubbing, whose hard-boiled bravado masks her raw neediness. Even secondary characters possess a Dickensian piquancy; their actions don't always make sense, but it's fascinating to get inside their heads. An often entertaining mystery about extreme psychotherapy.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780692734797
Publisher:
ShadowWorks Press
Publication date:
07/22/2016
Pages:
390
Product dimensions:
5.51(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.87(d)

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Meet the Author

Abigail Van Alyn has led a colorful life as both actor and writer.

Born in New York City and raised in South Carolina, Van Alyn attended Wellesley College and UC Berkeley and earned two bachelor's degrees in philosophy and English literature. She later received a master's in theater arts.

After an early career in New York journalism, Van Alyn switched tracks and became an actor. She spent ten years as a company member of San Francisco's much-awarded Eureka Theater. Two of her plays have been produced: In the Wilderness/In the Zoo and Lying to the Holy Spirit. As pseudonymous George Fletcher, Van Alyn has also published two books for young readers, modernizing Roman myths.

Van Alyn now lives in Northern California near Mount Shasta and coaches business leaders in communication skills. When she isn't teaching or writing, she enjoys mountain walks and working in her garden.

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