By: Cole Baxter
Publisher: Inkubator Books
Publication Date: 10/08/2023
My Rating: 4 Stars (ARC)
The things he fears the most are the ones inside his head.
Ten years ago, James Owens was convicted of a murder he couldn’t remember committing. Now, finally released from the mental institution where he’s served his time, he is placed under house arrest in the sprawling family home he has inherited from his father.
Living in isolation, visited only by his therapist, parole officer, and supportive but controlling twin Janet, he at least has something resembling peace. But he is still haunted by hallucinations, nightmares, and bizarre memories which may or may not be real.
Strange sounds in the house, and objects which disappear or are mysteriously damaged all add to his fear that he is sliding into uncontrolled insanity again.
But is he? Or is his fragile mental state being manipulated by someone with a sinister agenda of their own?
When tragedy strikes, James must go on a journey that will force him to confront the past – and the haunted depths of his own tortured soul.
The Patient – the terrifying psychological thriller perfect for fans of Freida McFadden, Daniel Hurst, and K L Slater.
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Cole Baxter's THE PATIENT is a twisty, chilling psychological suspense thriller about a man convicted of a murder he did not remember. Is he guilty or innocent?
Mind-bending, the author keeps you glued to the pages to the end with manipulation, gaslighting, and highly charged topics of mental health, trauma, and unreliable narrators.
James Owens is being released from a mental institution where he has served his time for the supposed murder of Terri, his girlfriend as a teen ten years earlier found near the river, and the autopsy confirmed she had been strangled. She was the love of his life. He cannot comprehend how he could have killed her.
He was deemed unstable, did not attend the trial, and was kept in a secure hospital rather than prison. How could someone have stumbled upon them at the river? There was a lack of witnesses. He found her. He remained in a catatonic stage for two days in the hospital and remembered nothing since.
James is now placed under house arrest (ankle monitor) in the large family home and estate he inherited from his cruel and abusive father.
He has a therapist, Dr. Anthony Jenkins, and a parole officer, Brianna Caldwell. He has to follow the rules; if he does not, he will be incarcerated again. They think his schizophrenia is under control. If he reoffends, he could be taken to prison.
However, since he is outside the hospital, he has been referred to a new therapist, Dr. Andrew Sellers. He still does not remember the crime they say he committed.
James also has an evil twin sister, Janet. But James has been left the house, not his sister. Why did the father leave him the house and not to Janet? James would happily give it to her if he had anywhere else to go. She says she has his back, but does she?
Nick was his best friend and is an author. They had spent years together in the hospital, and he had helped him get through more challenging times.
His father was cruel and mean. He still haunts him. James is a 30-year-old man. He was finally free of his father. Free of abuse. He was free of incarceration, but he did not feel free.
He felt trapped by the holes in the memories, the things they said he did, but he could not remember. He still has panic attacks and does not like to take the meds that make him sleep all day and groggy.
Now Janet is coming home from New York to take care of him. That is the last thing he wants! What are her motives? Janet was the favorite.
From James' Journal entries after his release and his mother's journal, as well as his internal thoughts and the search from his childhood, old letters, etc., he must remember the past to face the present.
When Janet arrives, she wants to control his meds, his finances, and everything in his life. As James struggles with mental health, sinister things happen around the house. Is someone trying to drive him insane? He does not trust her.
What was Janet (pretends to be Bible-loving) hiding, or is James paranoia making him doubt her motives? Janet is pushing James to go back to the hospital. She does not have his best interest at heart.
What happened to the mom? She was never reported missing or dead. The last James saw her, he was eleven. His mom would never have left him with the monster. Did the dad kill her?
But as he battles his demons, mysterious events unfold in his inherited family home. Is it madness or a sinister plot at play? Who is messing with his medicine? Can he trust his instincts?
Will Brianna be able to help him before it is too late? Did Brianna believe James was innocent and not a psychopath or cold-blooded killer? She said she was looking into his case and had become a good friend.
There were no witnesses and none of his DNA. Could he just have found her? It was easy for the DA to blame the mentally ill kid who cannot remember. He has tried regression therapy. His memories are locked away.
Now, his visitors at home, where he remains with the ankle monitor, are Janet, Nick, Brianna, and Dr. Sellers. Then Janet brought in her pastor, Anne, to eliminate the evil spirits. (This part was both fun and scary).
From past to present, the author takes us back to James' life as a child. Has he been blamed for something someone else has done? Was he a scapegoat, and why? Is someone making him believe the house is haunted?
If he didn't kill Terri, someone is still out there, mocking him and the system. He and Brianna might be the only ones to stop them. He has no evidence. He must remember. Someone is playing mind games with him. Are they trying to drive him mad?
Then the cops show up, and Brianna is missing. She was last at his house. Now he is on his own! She was his friend and probation officer. Will they blame her disappearance on him, too? His meds are missing again.
Then, the mysterious tunnels! James finds himself in danger once again!
THE PATIENT was my favorite book by the author. It is a twisty popcorn thriller for fans of authors—Daniel Hurst, KL Slater, and Freida McFadden.
I loved James, Brianna, and Anne. Janet was one piece of nasty- EVIL! I felt so bad for James as he was vulnerable and unable to take up for himself.
I stayed until I finished it as I could not put it down!
If you enjoy twisty psychological thrillers with relatable good and evil characters, you will enjoy this one! The author explores mental health, childhood abuse, and trauma with compassion and sensitivity.
PS I would still like to learn why James inherited the house and the estate, not the twin sister, from the abusive father.
Thanks to Inkubator Books and NetGalley for a gifted advance reading review copy. #CoverLove
@JudithDCollins | #JDCMustReadBooks
Pub Date: Oct 8, 2023
My Rating: 4 Stars
About the Author
Cole Baxter loves writing psychological suspense thrillers. It’s all about that last reveal that he loves shocking readers with.
He grew up in New York, where there was crime all around. He decided to turn that into something positive with his fiction.
His stories will have you reading through the night—they are very addictive!