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  • Writer's pictureJudith D Collins

The Girl Without a Name

ISBN: 9781455583775

Publisher: Grand Central

Publication Date: 9/8/2015

Format: Paperback My Rating: 4 Stars

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

My Review

A special thank you to Grand Central and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Sandra Block returns following her gripping debut, Little Black Lies, with THE GIRL WITHOUT A NAME — a mysterious patient, a Jane Doe with no name, and the intriguing suspense behind the silence for a psychological suspense thriller— keeping you glued to the pages, packed with intrigue, mystery and dark secrets. In Little Black Lies, we met Dr. Zoe Goldman, a Yale graduate, and a psychiatry resident at a Buffalo, N.Y., hospital, where she suffers from ADHD, with a number of personal issues. She likes repairing her patients-while on probation, and continuing to struggle with the control, of her own thoughts. Zoe was haunted by her past and discovered dark secrets and lies behind her biological mother’s death, while her adoptive mother suffered from dementia. Her last patient, was connected with her past and she is still struggling with the aftermath. Z In THE GIRL WITHOUT A NAME, a Jane Doe shows up at the hospital. An African American girl approximately thirteen years of age; no past, no name, no history—landing at the Children’s Hospital of Buffalo, NY. She is in a catatonic state, and appears the drugs offered little little assistance to her progress. In addition, she is getting no answers from the local police. oe is obsessed with exploring the patient’s mysterious past. What led her here and why is she unresponsive? Also, what about good looking Dr. Tad Berringer who is overseeing her care? She decides she will investigate on her own, and begins going through medical reports, to see if there is anything she has missed, or possibly lead her to answers in order to solve the puzzle. Jane does seem to have artistic talents . . . Zoe relates to Jane, with her own identity crises. In her first year of psychiatry she discovered the truth about her birth mother and her adopted mother. Her poor mom in the final throes of dementia, in a nursing home. Her mom lost her own identity before she died. She is frustrated with the plan of treatment from Dr. Tad Berringer, and even though Zoe is on probation, (still taking the Adderall), she has to walk a fine line. As we learned from the first book, Zoe is tenacious, and will stop at nothing to solve a mystery, with investigative skills taking her into dangerous territory. Could Jane be a runaway? If so, what is she escaping from, and does she have a family? Zoe puts her information on a missing person website. Could Zoe’s investigation, put Jane Doe in danger? The ongoing theme is focused on identities of each person. What lies beneath outward appearances, the facade? What abuse has occurred, been experienced, flawing them. Can they survive? In the process of following Jane Doe’s progress we meet a variety of mental health patients, and characters, clues, and hidden meanings----very engaging and absorbing, adding to the storyline. We also re-visit with a number of characters we met inLittle Black Lies, so nice to catch up with some (some not). Since I typically am reading two or three books at the same time, had to smile when reading The Girl Without a Name while reading R. K. Jackson’s The Girl in the Maze. Even though unique to their own respective stories, (highly recommend both); astounding similarities with the mental illness, the dark secrets, and the labyrinth of hidden meanings, and the strong urge to save, between the patient/professional, with both. Each book features the complexities of the mind and the desperate need to uncover the truth, in order to heal. A maze of smoke and mirrors. Block skillfully takes us on a thought-provoking journey of life’s tragedies; cracks, detours, and dead-ends. A world of fear, identity, facades; with clues, the number six, a priest, drugs, and a labyrinth of art projects. A devastating cruel world of rape, a pedophilia, S & M, drugs, abuse---flawed characters—twisting their minds and actions--with innocent victims crossing their paths. I enjoyed reading the author’s inspiration behind the book—the explanation of cracks which run through every façade, as no one seems to be as they appear.

“The world is veined with cracks, not always bad. That’s how the light gets in.” – Leonard Cohen. Rifts which are natural parts of life. Sometimes the gap can swallow you whole. Are there some beyond repair? Not all cracks can be mended.

A riveting and intriguing psychological literary suspense. Highly Recommend! Fans of Lisa Unger, Jenny Milchman, Colette McBeth, and Laura Lippman will enjoy this one. Possibly Zoe will be crossing over into Forensic psychiatry for the installment?

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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


Narrator: Kara Bartell (Narrator)


Publisher: Hachette Audio

Publication Date: 2/15/2015

Format: Audio

My Rating: 3 Stars

She helps people conquer their demons. But she has a few of her own..






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