BlogHOW TO SPOT A PSYCHOPATH

HOW TO SPOT A PSYCHOPATH

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Four-year-old Mia Edwards disappeared during a play date at her friend Zoe’s house. Suspicion falls on Zoe’s mother, Jessica Green, given her history of anxiety and a police report following an attack on her own husband, Clay. A media frenzy and Mia’s single mother, Holly, who points her finger at Jessica, turn the case into a circus. Weeks later, placed on remand, Jessica is still not talking about what happened, and fears grow that Mia may be dead. Forensic psychiatrist Oscar de la Nuit closely follows the case and takes a gamble on trying to help Jessica by getting her transferred to where he works, Whitner Psychiatric Hospital, so he can oversee her case. Oscar believes they have some things in common and that he will be able to get her to open up about what really happened. Is she protecting someone? Does she know where Mia is? But the more the two spend time together, the more questions are raised about Oscar’s impartiality and Jessica’s guilt. Webb’s series opener is a self-contained, slow-paced, and intriguing take on psychopathy and the things people will do to protect those they care about. The narrative deftly builds up momentum to the climactic clash of two timelines, which alternate between Oscar’s present and Jessica’s past. The former focuses on Jessica’s treatment, Oscar’s determination to see the matter through, and his anxiety over the heartbreaking secret he is keeping about his past and the death of his beloved son, Riley. The latter follows Jessica and her budding relationship with newcomers Holly and Mia as the two become a large part of her life as well as her work as a freelance journalist writing an article on how to spot a psychopath. Just why Jessica is tackling that story fuels most of the whodunit, which, despite a lull in the middle and some repetition, will keep readers guessing to the end.

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