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Addiction on Trial: Tragedy in Downeast Maine [Kindle Edition]

Steven Kassels
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (102 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $14.95
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Book Description

"When Downeast “local” Annette Fiorno is found at the bottom of a ravine, “outsider” and relapsed drug addict Jimmy Sedgwick is accused of murder. Unassuming Maine lawyer Rob Hanston and big shot attorney Shawn Marks form an unlikely legal team as they attempt to discredit the overwhelming evidence. Addiction on Trial, the first in a series of Shawn Marks Thrillers, revolves around the murder cases of Attorney Marks, an egotistical yet likable high-powered Boston attorney who can juggle an array of female companions without taking his eye off the legal challenges of his work.

Addiction on Trial is a journey of suspense while exploring love and loss, family dysfunction, and the “what ifs” of life. It sends a powerful message of societal discrimination toward drug addicts and explores common misperceptions about what drug addiction really is – a chronic illness requiring a similar treatment approach as other chronic diseases. Medical and behavioral aspects of addiction are woven into the intrigue of this thriller, which culminates in a riveting murder trial."

Editorial Reviews


'Steven Kassels' novel Addiction on Trial is both good medicine and good writing, a rare combination of scientific expertise and suspenseful story-telling. Intelligent, descriptive and exciting, it s the kind of fiction that stays with the reader long after the last page has been finished. John Katzenbach, Award Winning and New York Times Bestselling Author

Steven Kassels gripping medico-legal thriller has equal parts education, suspense and pure fun. The problem of addiction, on a spectrum from a simple bad habit to dependence on a drug or behavior, touches all of us. And with his nuanced understanding of the complex issues involved in addiction—whether to substances, sex, work, narcissism or thought patterns—Dr. Kassels has produced a novel of great power, humanity and compassion. Lawrence Peltz, MD, author, The Mindful Path to Addiction Recovery: A Practical Guide to Regaining Control over Your Life

In the great tradition of medical crime novels, Kassels has deftly written a compelling read, evoking Downeast Maine s drug epidemic and peopled with a fascinating cast of characters. It s both true-to-life and a page-turner. Mark Publicker, MD, Editor-in-Chief, ASAM Magazine“Kassels has created a page turning legal thriller/medical murder mystery while at the same time educating readers about addiction. Truly, a coup—can't wait for the next in the series! Pat Olsen, author, with Petros Levounis, M.D., of Sober Siblings: How to Help Your Alcoholic Brother or Sister—and Not Lose Yourself

From the first pages of Addiction on Trial to the last surprising turn of events, I was enthralled and cared about the people of ‘West Haven Harbor . Kassels' characterizations are outstanding and the plot is riveting. If you care about addiction, or even if you don't, read this book! Howard Wetsman, MD, author, Questions and Answers on Addiction

“This is not only an important story about addiction, but a gripping one as well, and masterfully crafted. Sarah Smiley, author, Dinner with the Smileys; columnist, Bangor Daily News

--Sarah Smiley, author, Dinner with the Smileys; columnist, Bangor Daily News

About the Author

Steven Kassels MD, has had the privilege of treating patients from all walks of life during his years of practice in both emergency medicine and addiction medicine. He believes that everyone deserves compassion and access to medical care regardless of the nature of the illness. He wrote Addiction on Trial to both entertain and educate, and to depict the struggles of addiction for an audience of avid readers who may expand their understanding of addiction on the basis of evidence. Dedicated to his work in addiction medicine, he is also passionate about tennis, backcountry skiing, biking, music, and the Boston Red Sox. Kassels turns his addiction medicine and emergency medicine experiences into a journey of suspense while exploring love and loss, family dysfunction, and the what-ifs of life; the journey will continue in the next Shawn Marks Thriller, Lost to Addiction.

Product Details

  • File Size: 850 KB
  • Print Length: 333 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: AuthorHouse (November 1, 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00H9CR190
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #468,296 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
4.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Riveting and Educational! Fantastic Read! January 14, 2014
As a licensed addiction treatment professional I am always looking for information that can help educate the public about the issues of addiction and recovery. This book is the ideal balance of providing basic education on addiction side by side with understanding the human side. Dr. Kassels does this exceptionally well by blending them in a way that keeps the reader engaged and informed at the same time. This is a must read that should be in the arsenal of all treatment professionals!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Off the charts December 14, 2013
By Suzanne
Dr. Kassels' engaging style, precision in prose and overwhelming compassion imbue this work with an energy that carries the reader along a ride like none other.

Whether the reader is a basic scientist or sociologist, a patient or healthcare provider, a philosopher or philanderer, this book will appeal, entertain and educate.

A remarkable achievement.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars riveting and enlightening December 16, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Addiction on Trial is a riveting and enlightening read. We need to give more resources to the Doctors who understand the disease of addiction, to effectively treat all those in need.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Fabulous read! December 21, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
An amazing first book. I could not put it down. Brilliantly crafted with both Medical and Legal brilliance. More than just a page turner but an education into addiction and legal workings. Also full of emotional and sexual tension and a compassionate revealing of the players personalities. I can only hope a sequel is in the works!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
I have been working in the field of addiction for more than a decade and believe Dr. Kassel's book will be invaluable to helping the layperson understand the disease of addiction, how it develops, why addicts relapse, and the fact that addicts are people with a brain disease, they are not their disease, nor do they willfully destroy the lives of those they love. He has beautifully worked in the science of addiction in this page-turner with the right mix of facts, personalities and emotions spread across a host of characters and settings, ranging from scallop fishing to the emergency room to the social strata in a small, northern coastal town to criminal investigations and the court proceedings, themselves. With this book, Dr. Kassels gives us a way to understand addiction as the brain disease it is and to embrace the importance of making affordable addiction treatment accessible for the more than 20 million untreated addicts in the United States, alone. Thank you Dr. Kassels! ~Lisa Frederiksen, author of "If You Loved Me, You'd Stop!" and "Loved One in Treatment? Now What!"
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dr. Kassels hits a first serve ace... March 21, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Addiction on Trial was a great read and I breezed right through the book. The story line, the characters, their interactions and the author's descriptions throughout kept me engaged. I came away with a better understanding of what doctors and nurses go through in emergency room settings, and the helpless feeling many families have when dealing with addiction issues. The timing of the release comes when coverage of heroin overdoses has taken off. Over prescribed, expensive pain killers morphing into heroin have become a challenge to treatment and rehabilitation. This book gives an accurate account of the perils of addiction and how it affects many lives. By bringing awareness to addiction, Dr. Kassels is shedding light on the problem without being preachy or judgmental. His book is a great vehicle for opening discussions about a topic that is obviously wreaking havoc on all walks of life.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommend, however.... March 14, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I believe this should be required reading for people who have little understanding of this disease, how its impact ripples out from each person afflicted and impacted in any way. This means a whole lotta folks should read it. I was very excited to learn of it and downloaded immediately. As an advocate for change, I'm always looking for material to educate, especially something which is engaging. What perhaps gets in my way of saying I enjoyed the book is that I lived it. Having lost my son, brother and niece to the disease of addiction and now working in advocacy, I wasn't riveted. Instead I felt the author was telegraphing the next steps, the next reveal.

I kept asking myself how Adam was going to cover the seemingly extensive costs of all those experts (and knowing the typical person would never have such options). I also wondered why Marks took the case besides having time for monkey business and getting out of the original case he was working on. I never felt he got emotionally engaged despite working and focusing long hours with the local attorney. Perhaps I wanted him to find some connection other than his work addiction which allows him emotional distance from women/others.

While I had no idea how the book would end, the author's choice was spot on in my opinion. Glad to recommend it. Looking forward to hearing from family and colleagues, too. Maybe I'm too close to the topic to be thrilled.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Riveting stuff March 13, 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Once you pick up this book, you find yourself moving faster and faster to the dramatic conclusion. Its an absolute page turner and the courtroom drama was smart and believable! A story that keeps you guessing to the end but more importantly a raw and compelling insight into the complexity and desperation of addiction. I confess to a slight addiction to John Grisham. This was every bit as good. And the fact that Kassels is a guru on addiction gave the book a feel of substance and gave me a base of knowledge that I did not have before. It truly was interesting and enlightening. Cant wait for the next one!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Sad, but true
Although set in Maine, the story in "Addiction on Trial" could happen anywhere. Sad, but true. Read more
Published 10 days ago by Jenifer Van Deusen
5.0 out of 5 stars It is a harsh reminder of how easy it is for a kid to get into serious...
Hard to put down.
Fascinating backstory on the legal process.
It is a harsh reminder of how easy it is for a kid to get into serious trouble. Read more
Published 10 days ago by caro g bosca
5.0 out of 5 stars Shining a Light on Addiction
I thought I knew about addiction. A close friend of mine lost her son to heroin and I have had a decades long relationship with a childhood friend who also suffers the opiate... Read more
Published 16 days ago by alexandra sheldon
4.0 out of 5 stars Addiction on Trial
Very much an all night read. The author weaves very skillful his medical expertise with the downeast culture. Once a newcomer always an outsider to the loyal townies. Read more
Published 17 days ago by Judith Kee
5.0 out of 5 stars Insightful, Engaging
Coming from Maine I found this distressingly familiar. It is an essential guide for those wishing to gain insight to the difficulties of getting the drug monkey off ones backs. Read more
Published 18 days ago by Samuel A. Shaw
5.0 out of 5 stars I am so glad I read this fictional tale that educated me about ...
I did not want to read this book. I did not want to hear about addiction. I am a doctor but I do not treat addiction, and in fact, as a urologist, I am pissed when my kidney stone... Read more
Published 29 days ago by J. C.
4.0 out of 5 stars I have recommended it to my book group and the author 's ...
Probably a 5 star, but I usually save that for Pulitzer prize winners. I picked this book up in a Maine bookstore last summer but just read it. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Paula Vogel
5.0 out of 5 stars Very timely topic in light of sad and scary increasing number of drug...
Very timely topic in light of sad and scary increasing number of drug overdoses occurring in New England. Dr. Read more
Published 1 month ago by j sweeney
5.0 out of 5 stars Nuanced medical thriller.
"Addiction on Trial" is a serious medico-legal mystery and page-turner. If you're a fan of the big names in this field like Crighton, Cook, Grisham, etc, then give Kassels... Read more
Published 1 month ago by jacob E Crothers
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic, smart, captivating, frustrating and so satisfying!
Fantastic read! Where do I begin? A close loved on was/is affected by addiction, so years ago I started reading blogs by opiate addicts--both active in their addictions and in... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Meghan Carlson
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More About the Author

I am a physician who is the youngest son of a physician. My father came to the United States at a very young age, worked his way through college and medical school and chose to practice medicine in two offices attached to our home in Everett, Massachusetts. My mother was the bookkeeper, secretary, cook, laundry service and most importantly, my Mom. When the home phone rang (which was also the office phone) we all answered it the same, "Doctor Kassels office; may I help you." Not infrequently, patients would come to the front door on holidays and weekends with "specimens". These were the same patients that would make holiday gifts for my brother and me. I can still hear my Dad, "Put that bag with the bottle in it on the counter in my little office and then wash your hands - and wash them thoroughly - did you hear me Stevie?" I heard my Dad then and I still hear him now.

Why did I write Addiction on Trial: Tragedy in Downeast Maine? Simple answer: I wanted to.

Through my years of practice in Emergency Medicine and Addiction Medicine I have had the privilege to treat patients from all walks of life. From a medical perspective, it is very clear that we have differences but we are more similar than not - we all need hearts to pump in order to sustain our organs and to perfuse our brains. When we are sick, we all benefit from compassion and care. Society should not differentiate between diseases! But who wants to read another scientific book about addiction? Not me! That's why I wrote Addiction on Trial as a mystery thriller to both entertain and educate through the depiction of the realistic struggles of addiction. I hope you enjoy reading Addiction on Trial as much as I enjoyed writing it.

I currently reside in Downeast Maine and Massachusetts. Along with my wife and soulmate, Ali, I spend family time thoroughly enjoying four children, their life partners and our four delightful grandchildren. My passions include tennis, backcountry skiing, biking, music, and the Boston Red Sox.

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