THRILLER

Book review: Every Fifteen Minutes by Lisa Scottoline - race to the finish

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 25 April, 2015, 7:11pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 25 April, 2015, 7:11pm
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Every Fifteen Minutes
by Lisa Scottoline
St Martin's

Lisa Scottoline, who seems to own permanent spots on bestsellers lists, made her career with engrossing legal thrillers featuring strong characters and hefty plots. That approach earned her the nickname of "the female John Grisham".

Scottoline shows she's just as adept at delving into the complicated world of medicine and psychiatry in the thrilling Every Fifteen Minutes. Her 24th novel excels as a look into the inner workings of psychiatry as well as the motives of a sociopath. It also works well as a gripping look at jealousy, revenge and how quick people are to judge another.

Dr Eric Parrish, chief of the psychiatric unit at Havemeyer General Hospital in Philadelphia, is at the top of his career. His unit has just been named number two in the country and he has assembled a first-class staff of compassionate doctors and nurses he respects and who, in turn, respect him. In his private life, however, he is dealing with a divorce he doesn't want and is even more heartbroken that he can't spend more time with his seven-year-old daughter, Hannah, with whom he is very close.

Eric's life changes when he treats emergency room patient Max Jakubowski, a 17-year-old with obsessive-compulsive disorder who can't cope with the fact that his 90-year-old grandmother is terminally ill. Max also has violent thoughts about a girl he likes. To keep himself calm and his OCD under control, Max has to perform mental rituals every 15 minutes.

Eric's life unravels further when a medical student files a sexual harassment charge against him. The charge is bogus, but the hospital and his staff now view him differently. Then Eric is considered a person of interest when the teenager on whom Max was fixated is murdered and Max disappears. Is Eric the target of a sociopath? Or has he hidden his true personality from everyone?

Scottoline keeps Every Fifteen Minutes on a fast track as the twists and turns race towards the surprising yet believable ending. The clues have been carefully laid throughout, but Scottoline expertly keeps them hidden in plain sight.

Tribune News Service