Saturday, March 7, 2009

Therapy-Sebastian Fitzek

Sebastian Fitzek
St. Martin’s, Mar 17 2009, $25.95
ISBN: 9780312382001

Suffering from several unexplained illnesses, twelve year old Josy Larenz vanishes while visiting her twenty-second medical expert Dr. Grohlke. No one saw her disappear and no evidence as to what happened surfaces. As the case turns cold, Josy’s father psychologist Viktor Larenz searches the most minute clue that could lead him to the whereabouts of his daughter as he remains hopeful, but would even settle on the closure of her corpse. His obsession destroys his marriage to Isabel whom he admires for her inner fortitude that he now knows he lacks and costs him his TV show. For all his efforts, he fails to find one iota of a trace of Josy.

Four years later, Viktor intellectually knows he remains in the denial stage of grief, but cannot move on as psychologically he is still devastated. He has fled society choosing to live as a hermit on an isolated North Sea island. Anna Glass arrives to talk to him. She claims to be a writer of nonfiction whose characters come alive; though no longer practicing psychology, Viktor believes the beautiful stranger suffers from schizophrenia. However he becomes intrigued when Anna discusses her characterization of a preadolescent girl suffering from an unidentified illness before vanishing. She knows she needs help and Viktor grudgingly agrees to provide therapy even as he wonders who Anna Glass truly is and is she the first clue to finding Josy.

This is a deep psychological thriller as the two prime characters are emotionally unbalanced and the third key player is the missing girl. Readers will sympathize with Viktor and empathize with his ex wife though she has limited appearances. Anna is an enigma as the audience wonders whether she is a crazy person, a con artist, or a killer. Fans will be hooked by the translation of Sebastian Fitzek’s powerful character driven tale with a fabulous climax.

Harriet Klausner