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Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The Girl Without a Name by Sandra Block

Hi there!
Welcome back to Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers.

Well, I did it.  I broke down.  I just couldn't TAKE it anymore!  The wait time, the uploads, the slowness even when only ONE window and TWO tabs were open.  I...borrowed Mom's laptop.  (THANKS MOM!) In truth, it was offered from the start but I didn't want to impose considering I bought it for her last Christmas.  It'll work in the mean time...I do have a birthday and Christmas coming up.  (No hints or anything...^-^)  Moving forward at the speed of light...

Today, we're ushering out the month (September is OVER already?!) by exploring a psychological thriller in both story type and the actual story itself.  You see, it takes place in a mental hospital but the circumstances of the latest person's arrival are far more mysterious than their usual check-ins.  Get your thinking caps on because this mystery is going to take less know how and more intuition to get to the darkened heart of.  Ladies and gents, I give you today's book of choice...

Sandra Block

About the book...
In what passes for an ordinary day in a psych ward, Dr. Zoe Goldman is stumped when a highly unusual case arrives. A young African American girl, found wandering the streets of Buffalo in a catatonic state, is brought in by police. No one has come forward to claim her, and all leads have been exhausted, so Zoe's treatment is the last hope to discover the girl's identity. 

When drugs prove ineffective and medical science seems to be failing, Zoe takes matters into her own hands to track down Jane Doe's family and piece together their checkered history. As she unearths their secrets, she finds that monsters hide where they are least expected. And now she must solve the mystery before it is too late. Because someone wants to make sure this young girl never remembers. 

The Girl Without a Name is a powerful novel of memory and forgetting, of unexpected friendship and understanding...and of the secrets we protect no matter the consequences.


Initially I couldn't help feeling like I was missing a bigger piece of the puzzle.  There were all these hints and mentions of previous installments that lacked luster due to my newness to the series.  As my curiosity set in, I looked into it and discovered this was actually only the second release for the author AND the series...imagine my reaction.  It's not often that you get THAT much disconnect between the first and second installments, but trust me when I say it DID in fact pass.  Do I still believe I might have benefited from reading the first, first?  Sure...but after a few more chapters, it mattered not....I was ensnared by the story and there was no turning back.

Zoe is the kind of character that you don't expect. She's witty and wordy and despite her chosen field of study, she has ADHD.  Unexpected, right?  Okay, well it was to me and it posed several issues for her from time to time but with a little extra effort on her part and some carefully prescribed medication, she had it handled.  Way to go Zoe!  Anywho, let's get back to the present.  Zoe is on probation due to not passing her "finals" and working through a child psych rotation.  What fun!  Usually, not too far from the truth, but with the latest Jane Doe addition, things are going to get a little crazy.  You see "Jane" is the title character (mostly, though I also believe Zoe is from time to time), and she's a mystery like no other.  She remembers not her past, barely her present, and has no hold on the future.  Her initial catatonic state doesn't even allow for questioning but even as she's broken out of it, the answers are hard to come by.  It takes a lot of personal interest on Zoe's part to make things start to come together...but are they really?  Or are her own issues getting in the way of truly healing her patient?  I vote for the latter, but with the issues not being her own.  (Chew on that readers...)  Little by little, we gather the pieces of the young lady's puzzle, while uncovering more about our inquisitive leading lady.  As it turns out, there's more than meets the eye in both of their cases as well as someone else that's a key player in everything about to unfold.  Unfold it does and well, I can only'll be left speechless.

The ending blew me right out of the water.  While some of my suspicions were confirmed, others were put on trial and still others were grown from the shadowy places left behind.  I definitely didn't see THAT coming, which added to the book's overall appeal.  Zoe's feelings of guilt are something that will be shared with most readers, including myself, but only just.  I wouldn't change my wardrobe to black at the loss incurred, but I might have an accessory for a short time for having my heart deceived.  Confused?  Well then, you'll just have to read the story now won't you?  

In my mind's eye, the author did a bang up job of creating a character you could care about in both lead and supporting roles, while making the "bad guy" (or girl) someone equally human.  You won't want to be besties by any means (especially when the **it really hits the fan) but you will see their side on some choices made....very few, but some.  Recommended read for older teens through adults due to overall issues dealt with, not language or X-rated scenes.  If you're a fan of Thrillers, Psychological or Mystery driven, this is definitely a book for your must read list.  


About the author...

Sandra Block graduated from college at Harvard, then returned to her native land of Buffalo, New York, for medical training and never left. She is a practicing neurologist and has been published in both medical and poetry journals. The Girl Without a Name is her second novel.



Special thanks to Brianna at Wunderkind PR for the copy for review.  (THANKS!)  For more information on this title, the author, the publisher, or those promotions forthcoming, feel free to click through the links provided above.  This title celebrated its book birthday earlier this month with Grand Central Publishing, an imprint of Hachette Book Group, so be on the lookout for it on a bookstore shelf or virtual retailer of your choosing.

Until next time...happy reading!

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