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Denial Mass Market Paperback – April, 2002


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press (April 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312983883
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312983888
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 4.1 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (59 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,068,222 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

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. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Written in a fluent narrative style.
Bobby W. Miller
The plot is not too complex, however within the first few pages you get sort of 'sucked in' into the story and it's very hard to stop reading.
Luke D.
For me the problem with the book is that virtually all of the characters have major unresolved psych issues - too many in the book.
Donna

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By John E. Zawada on October 23, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I decided to read this book because reading about the main character, Frank Clevenger, I knew he was not going to be your average character. It was as if they took Frank right out of the Sin City world. Even when the book gets a little boring, Frank's interesting personality will get you by.

The story itself is decent. People are being murdered, and Frank must figure out if an insane man did it. Of course, things get a little deeper than that and a good ol 'Whodunit' breaks out.

Between Frank's wife, his buddy at the morgue, multiple strippers, cops who hate him, transexuals, a religious police captain, and Frank himself, you have a lot of unique characters to read about. The dialogue between some of these people is very entertaining, as you could probably imagine.

I give it 3 stars, because the ending left more to be desired, but is that intentional due to it being a series? I'll find out more when I read the other books, which I do plan on doing.

This is the author's first book, and you can tell that at times. However, with the other books almost being guaranteed to be better, this is a very good begining of a series.
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17 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Susan O'Neill on January 12, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Ten pages into Denial, I hastily emailed a friend of mine who's a big fan of Hardboiled mysteries and told him, "Have I got an author for you!" This is believably seamy stuff, quickly paced, smart and scary, filled with deliciously flawed characters. Ablow doesn't even place his protagonist above the fray: Frank Clevenger is a forensic psychiatrist with severe addiction issues--including coke, women other than his partner, and twisted psyches. There is not a character in this book who is free of quirks and tics, and it is from this pallette of dark human vagary that the story draws its power and its very plot.
As one who lives in Eastern Massachusetts, I was taken by Ablow's adept use of local geography. Clevenger lives in one of those big houses in coastal Marblehead that require two doctors to support a mortgage; he works and plays, if such a word can cover his particular recreations, in his rag-tag hometown of "Lynn, Lynn, City of Sin," and in equally gritty Chelsea. The duality fits the man, an abused blue-collar boy beneath a professional veneer.
With its sex, blood and lines of white powder, this book is not for everyone. But for those who like their mystery dark and their humanity imperfect, it's a real find.
Susan O'Neill
Author: Don't Mean Nothing: Short Stories of Viet Nam
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13 of 17 people found the following review helpful By sweetmolly on December 4, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is a fine debut smartly paced with all the twists and turns anyone could wish. Unusual for a debut, "Denial" is not plot heavy nor does it have a cast of thousands for us to keep track of.
Dr. Frank Clevenger is about as anti-hero as I have ever read; he is an all around addict: coke, sex, alcohol, and gambling. Plus, he plays the blame game on himself for every misstep in his life. I always feel when reading a mystery that the protagonist is my pilot, constant companion and must see us both successfully to the finish. After Dr. Clevenger, my next trip will be with someone more like McDonald's Travis McGee, who I can depend upon to not fold on me until the last villain is vanquished. With Frank, I was exhausted trying to get us both to the end without cracking up.
Frank is given a mercy job by an ambitious sheriff to sign off on whether an accused murderer's confession is admissible. The accused insists he is General William Westmoreland among other visions and ramblings. This murder sends Frank on a quest to find the guilty party who is viciously slaughtering his victims. The story is replete with abused and emotionally crippled victims, Frank included. The author's empathy and expertise are shown in representing these people. I admired the level of professionalism Dr. Ablow displayed in his understanding of state hospitals bureaucracy and the patients treated there.
"Denial" has a high level of eroticism that is in keeping with Frank's character; however, it may be too steamy for some readers. The book shows talent and promise. I will look for more works by this author.
-sweetmolly- Amazon Reviewer
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 3, 1998
Format: Hardcover
This book literally jumped off the shelf and I had to buy it. I was initially put off by the coke-snorting doctor, who didn't seem to have his life together. But, I was hooked by page 19. Ablow's writing is real, not the stuff of Hollywood or those writer's who crank out a book every six months. There were definitely parts that made me reel and squirm. However, his insights into the human psyche are phenomenal. I've had enough therapy to know that the comments he makes about individuals and pain are well researched.
In fact, some of his comments helped me with some work I am currently doing on my own childhood.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and can't wait for the next one! Thanks, Mr. Ablow.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Debra Morse on October 11, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
If a character exists in Denial that is NOT a psychological quagmire, I didn't see him. The hero, the villain, and all supporting characters each have twisted lives of pain, despair, and antisocial behavior. Dr. Keith Ablow, in life a noted forensic psychiatrist, writes from the first person, and it is oddly refreshing to read a flawed, yet functioning main character navigate life's difficulties in spite of it all. Or perhaps because of it all. Frank Clevenger is established as a cocaine snorting, sex-addicted outlaw of the psychiatric profession, yet his calling is sublime: to heal the spirit of his patients.

The imagery is raw, detailed, and spot on accurate. I've worked in medicine and the law, and only someone well acquainted with the real deal could write in such a convincing, accurate manner. Some of the characterizations and plot were a tad trite. Ablow tends to embrace the mythical archetypes and stereotypes (the good whore, the doughnut eating cop). On the whole, though this book is easy to read, and hard to put down. I finished it in one long night, and recommend it to anyone who wants a gritty, grimy, crime novel that will carry you well to the finish.
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