Thursday, February 2, 2012

Review of Lovesick by Spencer Seidel

Publisher: PublishingWorks, Inc.
Release Date: June 21, 2012
Buying Links: (Ebook only) Amazon    Barnes & Noble     PublishingWorks, Inc.


Book Blurb (from goodreads):

“‘He’s got a knife!’ Jimmy said after seeing the glint of a blade in the kid’s hand. Jimmy brought his gun up and squared it at the kid.”

A murder rocks Portland, Maine after police discover an incoherent teen sitting in a pool of blood late one night. Paul Ducharme is found with a murder weapon in one hand, the dead body of his best friend in the other, and no clue how he got to the Eastern Promenade Trail. 
 
A teenage love triangle gone wrong brings Spencer Seidel back with a vengeance in LOVESICK, the follow up to his breakout novel Dead of Wynter. Seidel deftly illustrates the trying relationship amid a friend and love interest – each with their own desires, issues and shocking agendas. 

Wendy, the girl of Paul’s dreams, has been missing for weeks. Her boyfriend Lee has been murdered–apparently by Paul. It’s an open and shut case–or so most of Portland thinks.

When forensic psychologist Dr. Lisa Boyers is asked to interview Paul, who claims to forget the events leading up to the murder, she reluctantly agrees. In her jailhouse interviews, Lisa helps Paul to recover his memories, but the murder’s circumstances force her to recall her own troubled past. 

Media attention mounts. Reporters stream into Portland. All eyes turn to Lisa. She seems intent on exonerating the “brutal teen killer” but quickly finds herself the focus of an over-zealous reporter with a knack for digging up dirty secrets.  But the killer who has Lisa in the crosshairs already knows them all.


My Thoughts:

This is a gripping, complex story. On the surface, it seems like a story we might hear in the news. Unlike the news shows or many news web sites, the novel format allows us to go behind the headline to the truth of the story. Seidel actually tells two stories: one about Paul, the murder suspect, and one about Lisa, the psychologist examining him, and weaves them together. There are parallels between Lisa's life and the life of Paul's friend Wendy. Those parallels are painfully obvious to Lisa as she works with Paul and they open up a part of her life that she's tried to push aside and forget about.

Both stories, Lisa's and Paul's, are told in the third person. Paul is talking to Lisa, relaying events from his life leading up to his friend Lee's death, but it's told in third person. That allows for a bit more detail than we might get otherwise, but it actually lessens Paul's voice. Although he's the one relaying his story, it often sounds like an adult talking and not a troubled teenage boy. Still, we see that Paul is naive, a loner, and somewhat idealistic. While he seems to have a good grasp of Lee's behavioral problems, he is clueless about both Lee and Wendy's motivations and emotions, and he places Wendy on a pedestal. As their lives collide and events begin to spiral, Paul struggles with doing what's right and trying to reconcile the inconsistencies in people's behavior and their words.

Lisa has her own psychology practice, working with adolescents.  She's contacted by a former co-worker of her late husband, who is Paul's defense lawyer. She agrees to meet with Paul, a decision she comes to question, especially when the media puts her under their microscope and begins spreading false stories about her. She comes close several times to walking away from the case but convinces herself to stay every time. Additionally, she's dealing with her feelings for Rudy, Paul's lawyer; her painful past; and the person stalking her. She's emotionally closed off in some respects but also compassionate, smart, and occasionally impulsive.

I figured out Wendy's secret early on but it took me longer to see who killed Lee and why. I also figured out who was after Lisa, but there were some twists along the way. I started this book, and could hardly put it down. I read most of it in one sitting and stayed up until 2:30AM reading it. I was sucked in from the beginning. Seidel's style is spare, he delivers just enough detail to fill in the blanks and trusts the reader to fill in the rest. The story moved at an even pace, the characters were fleshed out felt real, and there's even a happy ending. Seidel's tone is unsentimental and clear eyed, his characters are flawed but not unrealistically so and he knows how to hold your attention. The story is not only a murder mystery but a psychological look at the story's main characters. It's not a light read, but it is a good one.

To read excerpts from the book, and follow Spencer's blog tour, go here: http://booktrib.com/?page_id=152303&preview=true


I received an ARC for review.

2 comments:

  1. WOW first off That COVER is... just WOW I love it! Great review. I think this sounds like an interesting, and gripping story. Def. adding it to the TBR pile :)

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  2. Great review! I agree with Heather... awesome cover!

    I love mysteries and this sounds like one I would enjoy. The way you describe his writing style reminds me of Dennis Lehane's, and I love his works. I had never heard of this author, but am adding him to my list. Thanks for the new read!

    Louise @ Between the Covers

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