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Trees and Minds

Girl from the Tree House Book Cover Girl from the Tree House
Women of our time Book 1
Gudrun Frerichs
psychological, thriller
Gudrun Frerichs
(21 May 2019)

It all unraveled at the funeral...

Horace Reid's death opened the door to our freedom. His widow, Elizabeth, exists only on paper. She disappeared thirty years ago. It's us, the Tribe, who live in her body now. But nobody knows that. Us are Elise, the reluctant host, Lilly the closer, Ama, the proverbial mother, Sky, our wise guide, Amadeus, the warrior, and Luke, the man around the house. There are others, but we make sure they stay hidden and away from harm.

After Horace's funeral, they tried to lock us in a mental hospital. Our sister-in-law had it all carefully planned. Thanks to quick thinking—yes, being a multiple has its advantages—we escaped to New Zealand's South Island. Tucked away in the West Coast wilderness we... well, the plan was to continue our healing. We didn't expect that monsters from our past still had us on their radar. When the police accuse us of murder we have to run again. Where to go, which way to turn? Our neighbor Scott appears helpful, but can we trust him? Can we trust ourselves? Can we trust anyone?

The GIRL FROM THE TREE HOUSE is the first of a series of psychological thrillers set in current day New Zealand. It describes how Elizabeth, a thirty-two-year-old woman with multiple personalities (Dissociative Identity Disorder, DID), fights for her sanity and freedom. Four core personalities tell the story from the inside out, giving a touching insight into the workings of the dissociated mind. There are no graphic descriptions of abuse.

Gudrun Frerichs is a retired psychotherapist and trauma specialist in the field of (sexual) abuse recovery. She successfully worked with many clients who had a DID diagnosis. Recovery from trauma and dissociation has been the focus of her Master's dissertation (2000) and Ph.D. thesis (2008) and is also the topic of her blog Multiple Voices. THE GIRL FROM THE TREE HOUSE is a spectacular departure from her romance series THE GOLDEN GIRLS.

Whilst written by a psychotherapist she failed to completely proofread the book for terms spelt incorrectly. Which is a shame as this will confuse those readers who are not of her community.

Multiple personalities do exist in the DID world but it is rarer than most fiction writers would have us believe. Nevertheless, as this book is written by a psychotherapist, what we get here, is an amalgam of her true experiences with such patients. 
For someone like me, who is not an expert, this is fascinating. And yes, ECT is still used occasionally it seems. But childhood trauma is so often a cause of dissociating as Miss Marple says- it is a normal response, to any trauma in fact. 
And our narrator says she belongs to a Tribe, not all of whom are female. And only 1 got married.

This is not light reading, but it is thought provoking, especially in relation to our own internal worlds. We all have them. And, in the right circumstances, we can hold two contradictions as equally true and valid. Do we have more
than one personality? It often seems so. There is the way we interact with strangers, which is different from our interactions within family, and which may be different from how we interact with rich or poor or famous people.
So 5 stars for tackling a difficult issue- and think on- there are a very high percentage of prisoners with trauma related mental health problems which cause them to have difficulty operating in 'normal' society.

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Fairy Children

Little Darlings Book Cover Little Darlings
by Melanie Golding
General Fiction (Adult)
HQ
Pub Date 2 May 2019

THE TWINS ARE CRYING. THE TWINS ARE HUNGRY. LAUREN IS CRYING. LAUREN IS EXHAUSTED. Behind the hospital curtain, someone is waiting . . . A terrifying encounter in the middle of the night leaves Lauren convinced someone is trying to steal her new-born twins. Desperate with fear, she locks herself and her sons in the bathroom until the police arrive. When DS Joanna Harper picks up the list of reported overnight incidents, she expects the usual calls from drunks and wrong numbers. But then a report of an attempted abduction catches her eye. The only thing is that it was flagged as a false alarm just fifteen minutes later. But Harper chooses to investigate anyway. There's nothing on the CCTV, and yet Lauren claims that the woman is still after her children. No one will listen to Lauren – except Harper. And now Harper must ask herself, is Lauren mad, or does she see something no one else can?

The Changelings- My title for this book 
This book taps into the oft repeated stories about fairy changelings. Where the fairies steal a human child & replace them with one of their own. 
Although why the fairies should do this is never explained.
The first time I tried to read this book I found the initial chapters so creepy, I put the book away. This time, I read on.
The story is still creepy but I got hooked. 
I actually lived in Sheffield in 1976, and well remember how dry it was, and now the Rivelin Dams' waters shrunk. I remember The fascination of seeing the drowned villages re-appear and how creepy they looked draped in water weed and crumbling.
This story leaves you with the distinct impression, that there is more to our world than the rational eye can see. Again with the ghost stor.
was the mother suffering from post-partum paranoia? Or was there more?

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Oh these Irish families

The Liar’s Daughter Book Cover The Liar’s Daughter
Claire Allan
Fiction, Psychological,
HarperCollins UK, Avon
January 23, 2020
400

Joe McKee – pillar of the Derry community – is dead. As arrangements are made for the traditional Irish wake, friends and family are left reeling at how cancer could have taken this much-loved man so soon.

But grief is the last thing that Joe’s daughter Ciara and step-daughter Heidi feel. For they knew the real Joe – the man who was supposed to protect them and did anything but.

As the mourners gather, the police do too, with doubt being cast over whether Joe’s death was due to natural causes. Because the lies that Joe told won’t be taken to the grave after all – and the truth gives his daughters the best possible motive for killing him…

A gripping suspense novel about deadly secrets and lies. The perfect read for fans of Clare Mackintosh.

The ‘good’ man is very ill with cancer, and in his illness he is attended by his family – in good Irish fashion. He has cancer and has only months to live so they are gathered – his daughters, one by second marriage and one by the first are there to look after him. The husband and baby of the second daughter are there too as the baby is still being breast fed; and the sister arrives from England. All to say the last things they needed to him before…

But it is not a happy family.

In good traditional Irish family sagas there are dark secrets and they start to ooze out – and then he dies, and the police come calling and more emerge from the dark Irish boglands it seems. The text feels like you are wandering in a dark misty bog, where there is no solidity to your footsteps – the foreboding that there is something really wrong oozes from the book in a delightful fashion.

This is not a book to read if you want to be cheered up. This is a book that re-emphasised for me, the insidiousness of the way the Roman Catholic church offers forgiveness and sanctuary in return for a few prayers, no matter how heartfelt they are, your sins are forgiven if you only tell the priest in confession. Well I don’t believe that. It gives people too easy a way out of their deeds. And yes, our ‘good’ man had many sins to be forgiven and he thought becoming religious in his older age would help…

The style has the right quality for a book with this storyline and draws you in, and the characterisation is well done.

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Up the ladder and down again..

Snakes and Ladders Book Cover Snakes and Ladders
Ziba McKenzie 1-3 (2019)
Victoria Selman
crime, murder, serial killers, psychological suspense
Thomas & Mercer
(21 Nov. 2019)

Psycho meets The Silence of the Lambs

One killer on the loose. Another setting the rules. A profiler caught in the middle.

A serial killer is terrorising London, removing a body part from each victim and leaving in its place a single pink rose.

Dr Vernon Sange, a multiple murderer awaiting extradition, seems to know the culprit’s identity—but he’ll only talk to profiler Ziba MacKenzie, the woman responsible for putting him away. Though there’s something he wants in return from her. And time is running out.

With one killer whispering in her ear and another running rings around the police, Ziba must play a game in which only her opponent knows the rules, and the forfeit is death.

I re-read books 1 and 2 to get me up to speed for 3 as I had read them some time ago and loved them again. Now in Snakes and Ladders, Ziba, our damaged profiler references the Mind Hunter the TV series and the book that these stories are based on – and which I have been watching – and of course, the very current scandal with MPs and the supposed ring of paedophiles which has been in court and the person claiming the ring sentenced. But when book 2 was written we did not know that he had made it all up. And now of course we can all watch the series The Making of a Murderer which explains some of the reasons that some people kill. Multiple factors come into play from brain abnormalities born with or damage through fights etc; social environment eg growing up in an area rife with gangs; the ease of obtaining weapons and so on. And Ziba gives lectures at Quantico about this topic.

So this story and the previous ones, are based on real events and real insights into profiling and how murderers are made and act. And this gives them the grittiness needed and the author’s ability to take these and make a compelling story from them.

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Lose Nothing

Nothing to lose Book Cover Nothing to lose
Ziba MacKenzie #2
Victoria Selman
police procedurals, psychological thrillers
Thomas & Mercer
26 Mar 2019

He’s looking for his next victim. She looks just like his last.

Primrose Hill, London. Offender Profiler Ziba MacKenzie arrives at the scene of a gruesome murder with a disturbing sense of déjà vu. Nine days earlier, another woman’s body was found: same location, same MO, same physical appearance. For the police, it’s clear a new serial killer is on the loose. But for Ziba, it’s even more sinister—because the victims look just like her.

Ziba has been the focus of a killer’s interest before, and knows that if she gets too close again this case could be her last. Still, she’s not one to play by the rules—especially when her secret investigation into her husband’s murder begins to attract unwanted attention.

With someone watching her every step, can Ziba uncover what connects the two victims before she becomes one herself?

This is number 2 in this series about a profiler looking for her husband’s murderer and the reason why he was murdered. Even going so far as to bring in Wolfie for extra help.

Our profiler is still grieving and as such is perhaps not as clear-headed as she should be and so makes mistakes. Ones she should know better than …

For me, the writing style had improved over book 1 and so was the story-telling. As with all these genre of books, red herrings abound and there is a great twist to the ending.

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