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Denial

AUTHOR: Keith Ablow
ISBN: 0312965966

SHORT DESCRIPTION: Frank Clevenger is a forensic psychiatrist with an injured psyche that enables him to understand the deranged behavior of the mental and emotional outcasts who cross his professional path. When a young woman is found murdered, and a schizophrenic...

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         Editorial Review

Denial
- Book Review,
by Keith Ablow


Amazon.com
On his way to jail to certify the sanity of a homeless man accused of murder, Dr. Frank Klevenger listens to a B-52's CD and snorts cocaine as he drives from the handsome seaside town of Marblehead to the urban decay of Lynn, Massachusetts. So much for mental health. But Keith R. Ablow, a practicing psychiatrist himself, quickly shows us why Dr. Klevenger is so good at his job: his own personal demons give him an unusual understanding of troubled minds, which lifts this debut thriller to an insightful and exciting level.


From Booklist
Lynn, Massachusetts, is being terrorized by a murderer-mutilator in its midst, and psychiatrist Frank Clevenger gets the call to take the confession of the suspect, a schizoid who believes he is General William Westmoreland. The general, however, is not the only unbalanced one in this creepy thriller: Dr. Clevenger is a high-strung, coke-tooting, booze-swilling, strip-bar-and bed-hopping time bomb who barely keeps a lid on his anger. His explosiveness factors into the mystery when, despite the fact that the general kills himself, the body count continues to mount, and Clevenger either knew or slept with the victims. So did a competing prime suspect, who also dallies with Clevenger's live-in girlfriend. With so many easy zippers in this homicidal General Hospital, author Ablow could have inadvertently let his plot float away in soap-opera silliness, but he renders such a credible psychological portrait of Clevenger that the final revelation of the culprit is a satisfying surprise. A clever and tense debut. Gilbert Taylor


Review
"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



Review
"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



Review
"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



Book Description
He's in deep.

A series of grisly murders has forensic psychiatrist Frank Clevenger on the case of a lifetime and the fight of his life against a brutal killer with a horrific trademark and his own howling demons of sexual compulsion, self-destruction, and...Denial.



From the Publisher
"This is a deliciously creepy psychological thriller that could only have been written by a psychiatrist or a psychiatric patient. Keith Ablow is a very fine writer. Denial is a stark and terrifying journey into the mind of the criminally insane, an absolutely spellbinding and shocking tale."
-- Nelson DeMille, author of By The Rivers of Babylon"Deftly, with driving prose, Ablow portrays the horror and bleakness of damaged lives. A dark and compelling debut."
-- Jonathan Kellerman, author of The Clinic


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         Book Review

Denial
- Book Reviews,
by Keith Ablow

Denial

FROM THE PUBLISHER

Frank Clevenger is a forensic psychiatrist who hates authority, fears intimacy, uses sex as an anesthetic, 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. But as evidence of a shocking series of murders begins to mount over the next seventy-two hours, Clevenger will be forced to confront his own most terrifying and powerful demons.

SYNOPSIS

Frank Clevenger is a forensic psychiatrist with an injured psyche that enables him to understand the deranged behavior of the mental and emotional outcasts who cross his professional path. When a young woman is found murdered, and a schizophrenic homeless man is the prime suspect. Frank realizes he could not have committed the crime. As evidence of more shocking murders begins to mount, Frank is forced to confront his own demons in the race to stop the horrific crimes.

FROM THE CRITICS

People

[A] gripping debut novel...the forensic details are convincing, and the writing is sharp.

Publishers 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.

WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING

"Sex, murder, madness, and medicine. What more could any thriller reader want?" — Michael Palmer

"A dark and compelling debut." — Jonathan Hellerman

A deliciously creepy psychological thriller. — Nelson De Mille


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