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  • Writer's pictureJudith D Collins

Little Black Lies

By: Sandra Block ASIN: B00SRRIMWG Publisher: Hachette Audio Publication Date: 2/17/2015 Format: Audio My Rating: 3 Stars

She helps people conquer their demons. But she has a few of her own... In the halls of the psychiatric ward, Dr. Zoe Goldman is a resident in training, dedicated to helping troubled patients. However, she has plenty of baggage of her own. When her newest patient arrives - a beautiful sociopath who murdered her mother - Zoe becomes obsessed with questions about her own mother's death. But the truth remains tauntingly out of reach, locked away within her nightmares of an uncontrollable fire. And as her adoptive mother loses her memory to dementia, the time to find the answers is running out. As Zoe digs deeper, she realizes that the danger is not just in her dreams but is now close at hand. And she has no choice but to face what terrifies her the most. Because what she can't remember just might kill her. Little Black Lies is about madness and memory - and the dangerous, little lies we tell ourselves just to survive.

My Review

Sandra Block introduces an intriguing new complex character, Dr. Zoe Goldman, with her debut, LITTLE BLACK LIES -- A gripping psychological suspense of a tragic past, suppressed memories, family, dark secrets, and lies. Black lies involve an underlying secret that is hidden with lies, deception and secrecy. Dr. Zoe Goldman, a psychiatry resident at a Buffalo, N.Y., hospital, suffers from ADHD, with a number of personal issues. She is haunted by her past. Her biological mother, died in a fire, a trauma that still gives her nightmares. She constantly wonders about her mother and the events surrounding her death. Suffering from recurring dreams, she tries desperately to make sense of her dreams, memories, reality, and her own madness. A blank slate with broken memories. She also has other problems, dealing with her adoptive mother's (a former social worker) descent into dementia in a nursing home. She is of little help with answers about her biological mother. Her mother is not even sure who she is now, much less who she was. Zoe, becomes more obsessed with uncovering the mysteries and truth about her past. If this is not enough to drive someone over the edge, she now has a patient, Sofia, a sociopath, who has been institutionalized for more than two decades for having murdered her mother, and the attempted homicide of her brother. As Zoe comes closer to learning the secrets behind the lies, can she come to terms with the real truth? A fan of legal, medical, and psycho-thrillers, I enjoy the intensity, research, and suspense surrounding the environment, patients, and of course the professional’s personal/work interactions. My negative with LITTLE BLACK LIES was the narrator,Kara Bartell; found her voice annoying while listening to the audio, with the ongoing need to fast forward. I would also have preferred more focus of Zoe’s past, which I found intriguing, versus her present relationships. Overall, a good mix of medical (mind), family, humor, sarcasm, deception/lies, and an array of secondary characters for a slow paced psychological suspense. While currently reading an ARC of Block’s second novel, upcoming, Sept 8, THE GIRL WITHOUT A NAME, wanted to read/listen to the first book, to explore a little more about Zoe, the main protagonist. I think fans will enjoy the second installment featuring Zoe, and another patient with a mysterious past, and her obsession to find answers. With Block’s own professional career, she definitely adds inside expertise which further enhances the overall reading experience. “Black lies are about simple and callous selfishness. We tell black lies when others gain nothing and the sole purpose is either to get ourselves out of trouble (reducing harm against ourselves) or to gain something we desire (increasing benefits for ourselves).” Like malevolent spiders, liars of black lies often draw others into their web of deceit. "Are we all a little crazy?"

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About the Author

Sandra A. 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 proud Sabres fan, and lives at home with her husband, two children, and impetuous yellow lab Delilah. She has been published in both medical and poetry journals. "Little Black Lies" is her debut, and "The Girl Without a Name" in the next novel in the series. Website Twitter

The Girl Without A Name

By: Sandra Block ISBN: 9781455583775 Publisher: Grand Central Publication Date: 9/8/2015 Format: Paperback My Rating: 4 Stars

Buy the Book Another gripping pageturner featuring psychiatrist Zoe Goldman, the protagonist from Little Black Lies.

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