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The Reach / Nate Kenyon

Leisure / November 2008
Reviewed by: Martel Sardina

It’s not often that a Professor comes to a student for help. Jess Chambers, a grad student majoring in Psychology, is honored by the opportunity Professor Jean Shelley has offered her. It’s a chance to get some hands-on training in a complex case. And depending on whether or not Chamber’s agrees with the current diagnosis, it could mean a different life for the patient, Sarah, a ten-year-old girl.

Upon arriving at the Wasserman Children’s Psychiatric Facility, Jess is shocked to learn that Sarah has been heavily sedated and isolated from the other patients for much of the time she has been in Dr. Wasserman’s care. While Dr. Wasserman insists that his prescribed practices are necessary not only for Sarah’s safety, but also for the safety of the staff and other patients, Jess is skeptical. How much damage can one young girl possibly cause?

Jess grows increasingly frustrated with Professor Shelley and Dr. Wasserman when she discovers that significant chunks of information have been removed from Sarah’s files. How is she supposed to assess the girl’s condition without a proper medical history? Shelley and Wasserman are coy, stating they don’t want to taint Jess’s view of the case. They’re withholding information in order to help Jess give them an unbiased opinion.

As Jess gets to know Sarah better, she begins to disbelieve Wasserman’s theory that the girl is dangerous. During a visit, Jess decides to remove the girl’s restraints to try and build trust, to prove to Sarah that she isn’t just another one of ‘them.’ Jess soon finds out that Wasserman was right. Bearing witness to Sarah’s unbelievable power sends Jess on a mission to learn all she can about the girl’s family and the circumstances that led to her being placed under Wasserman’s care.

At this point, Nate Kenyon shifts his paranormal thriller into high gear sending Jess in search of the truth in order to save Sarah’s life.

The Reach is rich with detail about life in Boston and its surrounding suburbs. Kenyon’s descriptions of the architecture and the colorful neighborhoods bring the setting to life. Many times setting is not integral to plot, but in this case, Kenyon makes it clear that this story couldn’t have happened anywhere else.

Legal and medical thrillers can be so steeped in the technical details that the reader often finds himself lost in pages of exposition wondering if the author is writing a research paper or a work of fiction. Kenyon’s writing style is conversational and provides readers with the right amount of technical jargon and explanation, revealing details without hindering the story’s pacing.

The Reach is Nate Kenyon’s second novel. Unfamiliar with his first book, this reviewer was so impressed with his sophomore effort that she will be adding Bloodstone to her Christmas wish-list. Here’s hoping that Santa will bring both books to readers everywhere this year.

Purchase Nate Kenyon’s The Reach.

Posted on Wednesday, November 26, 2008 at 01:56PM by Registered CommenterDark Scribe Magazine in | Comments Off

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