Judith D Collins
The Secret Room
By: Sandra Block
Zoe Goldman #3
Publisher: Grand Central
Publication Date: 4/18/2017
My Rating: 4 Stars "I am a forever-fan of the Zoe Goldman series and will read anything Block writes. You should too." -Lisa Scottoline, New York Times bestselling author Her patients are dying. Some are apparent suicides and others possible accidents, but rumors are flying that Dr. Zoe Goldman is an angel of death- intentionally helping hopeless cases go to a "better place"- or, worse yet, a dangerously incompetent doctor.
As a new psychiatry fellow at the local correctional facility, Zoe is still learning the ropes while watching her back to avoid some dangerous prisoners. As the deaths mount up, Zoe is wracked with horror and guilt, feverishly trying to figure out what is going wrong and even questioning her own sanity.
What Zoe doesn't realize is that someone is targeting her patients to get to her. Someone who has access to her deepest secrets and fears. Someone who will stop at nothing to take everything Zoe has, even her life.
Sandra Block returns following: The Girl Without a Name and Little Black Lies, with her latest Zoe Goldman installment THE SECRET ROOM — Psychologically rich full of intrigue, suspense, chills, twists, and action. From strong imaginations, darkness, metaphors, comics, dual personalities, magic pills, obsessions, a secret room, to depersonalization. When a patient thinks they are not real, somehow like fake humans in this world. 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. 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. Zoe becomes immersed in this patient and her life. A world of fear, identity, and facades. Presently with THE SECRET ROOM, this is Zoe’s first year as a psychiatrist in a prison facility. Forensic psychiatry fellowship. A local correctional facility where Zoe is still learning the ropes while watching her back to avoid some dangerous prisoners. Of course, as usual there are plenty of mentally disturbing and dangerous prisoners. From narcissistic and sociopathic behaviors, delusions, hallucinations, schizophrenia, cutting, personality disorders – fighting their devils and demons. (Plus more) The Secret Room
“Wake up. Eat breakfast. Kill time. Eat Lunch. Kill time. Eat dinner. Kill time. Lights out. Repeat. That was my life. That would be my life, for years, too many years to come. Until I met you, Professor, and everything changed. And I knew that I could never go back to my life before you, that half a life, that living death. Never. And I would do anything it took to keep you. Anything. Even kill for you.”
Zoe’s patients are dying. While some are suicides and others possible accidents. Someone is texting and tormenting her. Is Dr. Zoe Goldman an angel of death-intentionally helping hopeless cases go to a "better place" or she is -being set up while targeting her patients? Who is manipulating her patients? When it does not take much to push these mentally disturbed patients over the edge. The mysterious woman in the secret room. Sprinkled throughout we hear weird X-rated thoughts and happenings about a Professor. An unhealthy obsession with her teacher. Then there is the teenage patient, Andre who thinks his father is the devil. However, was his diagnosis correct? Why was he a different person before? In the midst of everything, Zoe has been requested to start a research project on a new behavior technique and the Doctor wants her first patient to be her biological sister, Sofia. Zoe’s birth mother died. She was adopted when she was three years old and Sofia was fourteen (killed their mother). Zoe had completely blocked it out from her memory. The adoptive mother tried to hide the truth from her. Her sister was an ex-patient who also stabbed her in the neck. (Zoe is surrounded by dysfunction and drama). Has her sister really changed? Can a psychopath really ever change? Can she possibly help Zoe this time around? Jack, their brother lost his eye when she stabbed him, who was left to fend for himself in a slew of foster homes until he found heroin and religion. (more about him here as well).
How can this person know about Zoe's deepest secrets and fears? Clever plotting and extensive medical knowledge allow the author to control the story, full of suspense and enough edge to keep you glued to the pages. (with a nice balance of personal life from Zoe). As in Block’s past books, THE SECRET ROOM is full of metaphors in relation to the concept of “rooms.” Both physical, also within our minds.
“Freud might say we have hidden rooms inside our minds that emerge in dreams or unconscious actions.”
In addition, references to dual identities throughout the book with both Zoe and her patients. Before and after. "In truth, none of us are who we seem to be. Many of us wear masks at times for one reason or another. To protect or hide behind." I always enjoy reading the author’s work, which is thought-provoking, compelling, and leaves the reader with a strong takeaway message or question to ponder. Who am I? Highly recommend starting with the first book to really understand the character of Zoe (she always seems to be on leave, at the end of each book) recuperating from a trauma. However, the author provides insight to get you up to speed and rest assured she will be back in full force for the next battle. Fans of psychological and medical thrillers: Tess Gerritsen, Kelly Parsons, Lisa Unger, and Michael (Daniel) Palmer will enjoy. The author is a practicing neurologist and her medical knowledge is reflective throughout. Hope to hear more from Zoe! A special thank you to Grand Central and NetGalley for providing an early reading copy.
"It's absolutely impossible to put down."―Redbookmag.com
"Block's latest is an intriguing mystery with a well-crafted plot and storytelling that is honest, with a little grit. Add steady pacing and a calculating, manipulative villain and readers will not be able to stop turning the pages."―RT Book Reviews
"Sandra Block's heroine is smart, heartbreakingly vulnerable, and laugh-out-loud funny. I am a forever-fan of the Zoe Goldman series and will read anything Block writes. You should too."―Lisa Scottoline, New York Times bestselling author
"What author Sandra Block does best...is the incorporation of real psychiatry and therapy into the story...Between Zoe's own treatment and her work at the hospital, the book sometimes feels like a cross between TV's CSI and House; a compelling, realistic read."―Rifflebooks.com on The Girl Without a Name
"A psychological suspense story smartly narrated... Zoe has a quick wit that emerges in wickedly unexpected ways."―New York Times Book Review on Little Black Lies
"The suspense keeps building throughout until the shocking ending. This is a riveting debut from a promising new author."―Booklist on Little Black Lies
"Little Black Lies is a darkly intriguing mystery with a feisty young doctor as its protagonist. Sandra Block pulls you in deep and doesn't let go."―Meg Gardiner, Edgar Award-winning author
"Little Black Lies is a daring, original debut that explores the dark side of memory. In Zoe, Block has created a character who is complicated, smart, and sympathetic. I can't wait to see what Block has in store for Zoe next."―Heather Gudenkauf, New York Times bestselling author
About the Author
Photo credit: Brian Block
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. The Secret Room comes out in April 2017! Read More