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Schizo: Hidden in Plain Sight (The Schizo Series) Paperback – September 15, 2016
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
A laudable mystery that starts tangled and slowly unravels—with not one but two twists at the end.
Kirkus Book Reviews
Highly recommended not just for thriller readers; but any who wanted One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest to take the next step.
Diane Donovan, Editor California Bookwatch
I loved Schizo: Hidden in Plain Sight. Loved. It. How's that for a review? Author Ilene B. Benator has done a fantastic job in creating a suspenseful and thrilling story that will keep readers on the edge of their seats from the beginning to the end.
Tracy Slowiak for Readers' Favorite
From the very first page, the reader is immediately drawn into narrative...keeps you on your toes as the plot peaks. It continues to satisfy the longing of your soul for justice for the hero. And then wows you with its surprising ending. Baited and hooked, I am looking forward to the next book in the series.
Cheryl E. Rodriguez for Readers' Favorite
A realistically thrilling story of the hunter becoming the hunted. Ilene B. Benator cleverly mixes the clinical disciplines of medicine and psychology with the gripping emotional torture of schizophrenia.
Television producer and Audiobook narrator
A story where curiosity kills.... As a physician, I found the storyline is believable and fascinating. I was in suspense the whole time. I am not-so-patiently waiting for the next book in the series!
Dr. Cynthia Stephenson
Dr Benator skillfully interweaves medical and computer technology to make this novel a riveting read from first page to last. An exciting thriller that takes me back to the difficult days of medical school, and reminds me of how fine the line is between our patients and ourselves.
Dr. Sharon Frankel Emergency Physician
Schizo: Hidden in Plain Sight is one of those books that will become the author's signature in crime fiction and thrillers. The writing is powerful and crisp, and the author's voice comes across with undeniable authority, cutting like a scalpel...Benator's unique style will be welcomed by fans of thrillers who are looking for a fresh element in the genre.
From the Author
Imagine losing your grip on reality; your only place to turn is the local hospital. Once there, you give up your personal effects, your clothes, and often, your right to leave. You wear paper scrubs in a sparse room, lay on an uncomfortable bed, and have a guard nearby preventing your escape. In seeking help, you have become a prisoner. This is done for your and for the hospital personnel's protection, but nevertheless, it is a distinct loss of freedom. But it is all for a greater good, to get you, the patient, transferred to a psychiatric facility where you can get the help you need. Except the wait can be excruciatingly long; from a few hours to multiple days. This is not a humane way to help those in greatest need of immediate intervention. But it is our present reality.
There is a mental health crisis in America. As an Emergency Physician, nearly every day I see a patient declaring they are suicidal or are psychotic and in need of legally required treatment and evaluation by a psychiatrist. But they are waiting longer and longer to find a psychiatric bed at a psych hospital. Waits of six to sixteen hours have become the norm. Already crowded Emergency Departments get more crowded when patients wait an unconscionable length of time taking up space, time, and resources just to sit there without any real treatment.
This is not just anecdotal. There is clear and incontrovertible evidence of the erosion of psychiatric beds with 524,878 in 1970 to 211,199 in 2002, and the beds in State Mental Health hospitals had an even steeper decline. These are the critical access beds for those without insurance and funds to seek private care. Those beds have been reduced from 340 per 100,000 in 1955 to 14 per 100,000 in 2010. This is a 96% decline, despite recommendations by experts that there be 50 beds per 100,000 civilians.
Where did everybody go? Is there less mental health disease? Of course not. They have been displaced to the streets and to the prisons. Approximately two-thirds of the homeless are mentally ill. In 2012, there were 350,000 mentally ill inmates in American jails and prisons, but only 45,000 mental health patients in public psychiatric hospitals due to the bed shortage. And when people who are in the most acute distress go to seek help, they are pushed through a revolving door, with many returning again and again.
As an Emergency Physician who has a degree in psychology, I am frustrated by my inability to truly help a significant portion of my patient population. This desire to help those most disenfranchised in the healthcare system is mimicked by my main character and med student Dan Greenberg in my soon to be published novel Schizo: Hidden in Plain Sight. His compassion towards his schizophrenic patient drove him to listen and respond to her plight as no other student or physician had before, and of course, no good deed goes unpunished, and it puts him in grave peril.
Schizophrenia is a very difficult disease to treat and is a chronic and severe mental disorder that affects how a person thinks, feels and behaves. People with schizophrenia may seem like they have lost touch with reality. There are antipsychotics that can help calm the voices and the disconnected thoughts, but they can be poorly tolerated both physically and mentally. Schizophrenics usually have above average intelligence, and so, the more the medication works, the more insight the patient gets into their disease and the more they wish to feel normal. They recognize the Catch-22 that they are left with--take the medicine and function sluggishly and realize the strain you put on yourself and others, or do not take the medicines and be blissfully unaware of your own psychosis. Those on meds often become depressed and suicidal, and frequently discontinue their medicines to avoid those feelings.
Managing schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, clinical depression, and substance abuse requires psychological as well as medicinal care. The current dilapidated state of the mental health system does not lend to the intensive outpatient and sometimes inpatient care that is required to function optimally. The solutions will be expensive and require a commitment to a complete overhaul of our legal and mental health systems. Politicians need to support a return to the pre-1980s method of distributing money for mental health and eliminate the block grant as a method of funding. However, it can be done if we all make a choice to do what is right for individuals and society as a whole.
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Top Customer Reviews
As the plot summary indicates, we first meet Dan during his psychiatry rotation, where he is assigned two fascinating patients to study. Catherine is a harmless schizophrenic who seemingly receives “transmissions” giving her minutely-detailed information about endangered individuals which includes their names and hospital room numbers. Jake is considered dangerously psychotic, having murdered several members of his own family, presumably in the throes of a bad drug trip. However, off drugs, he is a brilliant computer hacker. During a subsequent emergency medical rotation, however, Dan discovers information which verifies that Catherine’s “received information” is factual, not delusional. And thus the story is launched.
The narrative is handled by “real-time” episodes beginning with Dan in the same psych hospital where he recently interned, alternating with flashbacks to the circumstances which led to his incarceration there. It seems that while Dan and his girlfriend Melinda were doing some medical sleuthing to check out Catherine’s information, they somehow tipped off the conspirators who were developing a lethal flu vaccine. In order to neutralize these naïve young medical detectives, the conspirators murder Melinda and pin the crime on Dan. To escape prison, Dan takes a page out of Jake’s book and feigns insanity, but this is a catch 22, because the psychotropic drugs he is forced to consume threaten to turn him into a vegetable. Jake comes to the rescue; he has an escape plan all worked out, which involves the help of one of Dan’s med school friends who happens to be on HER psych rotation in their facility.
My main criticism of this story is it appears to stretch the long arm of coincidence a bit too far. Also, there is no real explanation of how the conspirators are tipped off to the snooping of Dan and Melinda. Once Dan and Jake make the break from the psych facility, all sorts of hi-tech chicanery is perpetrated by Jake, as the escapees bounce from Chicago to Atlanta to Dallas, and finally turn the tables on the primo villain (and to tell the truth, I couldn’t find, even with re-reading several sections, where said individual was introduced in the first place).
Since it is clearly stated that this is “Book 1” of the Schizo series, of course an open ending is to be expected, and Benator’s novel certainly does leave her hero, as well as the reader, in a most distressing situation. I’m not sure, though, that I really want to deal with how this story is going to play out.
Dan Greenberg is a third year medical student who is assigned to a six week rotation in a psychiatric unit. One of his patients, Catherine, will repeatingly spout out names of people, what hospital they are in including the room number. She states they are in danger.
Through happenstance, Dan learns that two of the patients actually exist and sets out to find more. He enlists the aid of his girlfriend, Melinda, also a medical student, to track down more. While this would never actually happen, he is able to get over twenty medical files from patients all over Chicago by asking his medical school colleagues to obtain them and give them to him. Dan and Melinda try to find what is in common with these patients and why they could be in danger. They look at various test result, diagnosis, etc. to try and find a common thread. This part of the book is quite interesting.
Unfortunately after this, the story goes off the rails. An "artifact" is discovered and anyone who learns of it is murdered, including Melinda. Dan is set up for it. The author's knowledge of how the legal system works is laughable. Dan is confined to a mental hospital for his crime and partners with one of his other patients from his rotation, Jake, a man who is in for stabbing four members of his family. SPOILER ALERT Dan meets with an friend who is also a medical student on rotation. She helps him and Jake escape from the mental hospital but it is never explained why she would put everything on the line and risk her entire future to do so.
MORE SPOILERS: Dan and Jake escape from the hospital and Jake just happens to be a computer genius, able to create an untraceable hacking scheme to make them millions of dollars. The two set out to find out more about the "artifact" and to prove Dan's innocence.
The narration of the book goes back and forth between before Melinda's murder and afterwards. This would be an interesting technique if the dialogue where not so unrealistic. For example, at one point Jake asks "do you think the perpetrators will follow us?"
If someone liked this book, the end does leave a cliffhanger that would leave one wanting more. I will not be among them.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Deus ex machina.Read more