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The Altruism Effect (Mastermind Murderers Series Book 1) Kindle Edition
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"The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell" by Robert Dugoni
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From the first page I was overcome with crippling fear as I felt Raine's violation. I finished chapter one with tears in my eyes, thankful the scene had ended and excited to read what happens next! As we learn about Raine's career as a psychologist and her understanding of the psychology of inmates, I wondered if she had ever taken part in "stripping the identity" of inmates in her career. When we found out why she was in the prison, I wondered if she had been framed by someone enacting revenge on her. This thriller will horrify you at times and keep you wanting more. You follow Raine's journey as if you are there with her. I highly recommend this book!
The initial idea for this book was taken from a study of a psychological experiment by Stanford University in 1971. The study can be found on the internet. Raine, the main character, is a psychologist in private practice. The field of psychology is populated by altruistic people. They are men and women who want to help others with psychological distress to heal. Keep this in mind when you read this book.
Does this result in a dry treatise about mental illness? No, it is not dry, but is full of action and carries a tension that stayed with me after I finished the book. I do not like to read spoilers in reviews. For that reason I refuse to write them. This is as close to plot disclosure I get regarding this book.
The book is well-written, a smooth read, error free, and pulled at my emotions all the way through to the last word. Take note of the last sentence in the last chapter!
Ms. Helling has a subtle touch when she presents the people in the story, describes the surrounding in which they interact, handles the tension as a pro and hooks the emotions of the reader within a few pages of the first paragraphs. The story is told in third person, which allows the reader to know all the actions of the people in the varying circumstances in which they find themselves. In addition to a wide view, the reader comes knows to Raine through her thoughts. Helling knows how to tell a story, as well as write it in a compelling and intimate manner.
I enjoyed the writing as much as the story. I was compelled to keep reading and then, thinking about what I read after the book ended. Enjoy is not the right word to describe how I felt after I was done reading. I found it evoked and engaged my emotions, admiration for Helling's skills, and relief at the end, but questioned if there would be a follow-up book. I am glad I read it and it was satisfying on many levels. Part of the title tells the reader it is a part of the Mastermind Murderers Series. It is not a mystery; however, it is a psychological look at the murderer. That is the best term I can give it, plus thriller fits a bit, too.
If you want to read a book with depth, enjoy a tension driven plot and like thrillers, I believe you would find book to be as satisfying as I have. Set aside a bit of time for reading, as you will be loathe to set aside the book. Yes, it is that engrossing and powerful. Without any reservation, I recommend this excellent book.
This is a well written story, full of intrigue and suspense. You know who put her there, until she meets him face-to-face and then suspense begins anew. I hated that the main character didn't use her intellectual resources to resolve her fears so she could function and her constant refusal to give herself a chance to escape.
I have read many books about this exact theme over the years and the author did a good job with the overall plot. The story continues in The Bystander Effect for completion, but it's not a cliffhanger ending.
The Bystander Effect - This book takes place one year after The Altruism Effect ends. Another well written, intrigue filled suspense with the return of several characters from TAE. The plot is interesting and keeps the reader turning the pages, but the ending is totally unrealistic and hurried; although there's a good surprise.
The main character, spineless in TAE, is doing better. She shows stupidity 60% into the story, and while daring, she forgets her paranoia and anxiety that she's followed up to this point; completely out of character. She's even worse with stupidity in the last five percent. No cliffhanger ending, but there's a third book in the series.
I volunteered to review these books through the author's newsletter.
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