Many thanks to Sarah Hardy and Bloodhound Books for allowing me a spot on the blog tour for this unusual and very thought provoking book.
Can you really tell the difference between madness and sanity?
Mark Randall goes to great lengths to get himself admitted to an acute psychiatric ward and, despite being mute, convinces professionals that he is psychotic. But who is he and why is he so keen to spend time in a psychiatric hospital?
When Mark is admitted, silent and naked, the staff are suspicious about his motives.
Dealing with this, as well as the patients on the ward, Mark’s troubles really begin once he is Sectioned under the Mental Health Act. When decisions about his future are handed to Consultant Psychiatrist, Dr Giles Sharman, Mark’s life is about to go from bad to worse.
Drugged, abused and in danger, Mark looks for a way out of this nightmare. But he’s about to learn, proving that you are sane might not be easy as it seems…
It is 1994, a man resembling Jesus has just stepped off a train, he is naked, apart from a pair of sandals! Hours later he is admitted to a psychiatric ward and will not speak. He has achieved the first part of his plan and is exactly where he wants to be. From here on in the story weaves it,s way around the ward, the other patients and the staff.
The story is told from the viewpoint of Staff Nurse Monica and the man referred to as Jesus Trainman (he looks like Jesus, he is a man, he came off a train, it makes perfect sense). It is not until you start to get mid-way through this story that you are told the reason for his incarceration, up until this point the scene is being set, other characters are introduced and the dynamis within the ward is described. But do not for a moment think that this is a slow burner just ambling along, it isn’t, there are various things afoot in the hospital and the plot has more than warmed up by the time you start to realise what the point of the story from Jesus’s perspective is. When he is sectioned his time on the ward takes a very severe turn, and to make matters worse those in charge will not or are unable to listen to or help him, they have already made up their minds about him.
There are quite a few characters in this book, and for a little while it took me a moment to remember who was who, but it didn’t take too long for them to sink in. The characters tell of their experiences in hospital as well as how differrent members of staff are perceived by patients and other staff. Not all staff are liked.
This book seems to play on some of our worst fears, While under the care of professionals the vulnerable are supposed to be safe, in this story that is not the case, to make matters worse, some members of staff are completely powerless to have their concerns listened to. As I said at the beginning, this book is thought-provoking, and makes for a great discussion, as I found when talking to a colleague at work about the story. I had to keep reminding myself that it is set in the 1990’s and the Mental Health Act has changed a lot since then. But I am also aware that not all institutions follow protocols set as the media inform us, this adds to the a chilling aspect to the story
This is definitely a book that will appeal to readers who like Institutionalised Psychological Thriller/ Crime genres. I think it would be a great book for Reading Groups to discuss as there are various interesting concepts and themes.
A B Morgan: (The tartan is Welsh: Morgan)
Married to an overgrown child with a beard and too many motorbikes, Alison Morgan lives in a corner of a field in North Bedfordshire and is making the most of a mid-life crisis. The Morgans are determined not to grow old gracefully or to be seen wearing beige and can be found exploring life through a love of live music, anything with an engine, the sea, mountains, rugby, proper pubs and fascinating people.
Alison has worked for the NHS for nearly thirty years, twenty of those within mental health services, at the front line, where she eventually became the manager of a countywide community service for people experiencing their first episode of psychosis. Much to her frustration, her heart decided to develop an electrical fault, which forced her to sit down for more than five minutes, and her career temporarily juddered to a halt. Not one for thumb twiddling, she took up position in front of a computer with a plan to write a set of clinical guidelines for assessment of psychosis, but instead a story, which had been lurking in her mind for several years, came tumbling out.
With her health steadily improving thanks to the staff at Papworth Hospital, Alison hopes to return to nursing part-time, but is determined to keep writing fiction. Her debut novel A Justifiable Madness is inspired by her life and career as a psychiatric nurse, and her fascination with the extremes of human behaviour. Her second novel, Divine Poison, also published by Bloodhound books is due for release in January 2018.
Buy on Amazon UK
Many thanks for reading my post.