reviewed by Pam Guynn
The Clinic by Cate Quinn is a psychological thriller that tackles tough issues along with a mystery. Meg works for a Los Angeles casino catching cheaters. However, after an injured shoulder during a frightening event last year, she is now hooked on pain pills and drinking too much alcohol.
Her sister Haley enters a remote rehab clinic on the coast of Oregon and reports say she has died there. Meg decides to go undercover and checks herself into the facility so she can investigate what really happened. With her own addictions, learning the truth isn’t straightforward.
Meg believes emotions cloud your judgment. She doesn’t have a frame of reference for normal so she looks to others for clues on how to act normal. Childhood trauma and nightmares have affected her as well. She often uses humor to divert attention and is impulsive and guarded. She isn’t tactful and gets angry easily, but she’s a fantastic poker player. Cara is the administrative manager at the clinic. She’s organized, uptight, rule-oriented, and doesn’t trust others. Max is the psychologist for the clients. He has a calming and reassuring effect on others. He seems stern and somewhat aloof, but committed to his patients. Dr. Lutz owns the clinic, is unorthodox, is the clinical manager, and he has a derogatory attitude toward the local police.
This story switches points of view between Meg and Cara. There are only a few clients so the character list is manageable and readers get a feel for each. The author does a great job of bringing the main and secondary characters to life. Relationships, childhood trauma, betrayal, lies, power, money, addiction, mental health, paranoia, and the manipulation of others play varying roles in the story. The world-building was fantastic giving readers the ability to easily visualize the people and places in the novel, with the clinic almost being another character itself.
The story grabbed my attention immediately and didn’t let up as I rapidly turned the pages. The plot is twisty and riveting and there is a feeling of deep anxiety. I felt concerned for Meg as she tries to make sense of what has happened and what is happening to her. There are some exciting and frightening scenes that have a terrifying realism to them. Both the inner and outer conflicts faced by Meg move the story forward and through some unexpected turns.
Overall, this engrossing and unsettling thriller has great characterization and world-building and pulls on the heart strings. I’m looking forward to reading my next book by this author.
SOURCEBOOKS Landmark and Cate Quinn provided a complimentary digital ARC of this novel via NetGalley. All opinions expressed in this review are my own. Publication date is currently set for January 23, 2024.
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