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372 pages, Paperback
First published July 7, 2015
“Yeah, I know how certain thoughts can be scary for people in positions of power. It’s a form of censorship. Everyone hears voices in their head, but some are considered crazy, others sane. Depends on what the voices are saying, it seems.”
“There’s something liberating about the idea of losing it. About just letting go and giving in to our natural inhibitions. It’s too stressful trying to be perfect all the time.”
“It’s official. The Apocalypse has come to Sugar Hill.”Alex, Eli and Angela work together in the forensics ward of Sugar Hill, which houses and treats the criminally insane. Angela is a social worker who is described by a friend as “Dr. Do Good by day and Little Miss Devil by night”. Alex Drexler is a psychiatrist whose views on treatment are diametrically opposed to those of his boss and mentor, Dr Eli Alpert, Sugar Hill’s Chief Medical Director. Eli’s approach is humanistic, with a focus on treating patients with dignity and respect. Meanwhile, Alex is in the process of trialling an experimental drug to cure schizophrenia.
Why did the mind have the capacity to create delusions? To hallucinate? To perceive the unreal? And why, so often, did such altered states appear to the perceiver as the actual reality? A world more real than this one.When the funding for his trials is withdrawn, Alex winds up continuing his experiment. His latest subject is Sugar Hill’s newest patient, Crosby Nelson, the Apocalypse Killer. Because what could possibly go wrong when you use a mentally ill, traumatised serial killer as your guinea pig?!
Either she is insane, or I am. Or nobody is. Or we all are. Either way, who am I to say?
The only character I really liked was Eli. I think I would have liked Crosby as well but I didn’t get much of a sense of who he was outside of his mental health and trauma histories. Fortunately it’s not necessary to love horror book characters. I enjoyed hoping Alex would get a taste of his own medicine and I couldn’t wait for a couple of other nasties to get their comeuppance.
He was now unsure which reality had been a dream and which one was real.If I’d encountered this sense of unease, not being able to easily discern reality, in another book I’d probably tell you it was a reason I didn’t like it. This book, though? It was like I was being given a glimpse into what life must be like all the time for some of the residents of Sugar Hill and it was scary to even contemplate living in their worlds.
“What’s wrong with this world if a normal, sane person can be plucked out of it and placed in this pocket of insanity?”
“He said he could no longer hold it at bay. That he was forced to let it in. And he couldn’t control what it wanted him to do.”