What's the Name of That Book??? discussion

POSSIBLY SOLVED > Adult mystery/suspense: southern psychiatrist/psychologist w/ drug conviction investigates strange happenings in town he practices in

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Amy (Other Amy) | 167 comments I half read, half skimmed this book sometime in high school, so it would have been 1992 or after, but the book could have been published in the 80s. The MC is a counselor (psychiatrist/psychologist) who has just gotten back to his practice in a small southern town/city after serving a light sentence for some sort of drug related infraction (prescribing himself drugs he was abusing? Something of that nature). He begins to notice people of the town presenting a flattened affect, less nuanced emotional reactions than would be normal. (For instance, early in the book, he greets the black janitor of the clinic and spends several pages comparing an earlier exchange where the janitor implied the shrink got off easy on his drug charges just with a few words to the new, flat, 'hello' with none of those underlying race and class issues that characterized the earlier conversation.)

He partners up with a woman who has noticed evidence of child abuse at a daycare center (the details on this are very fuzzy in my mind, but I think she was some sort of doctor or nurse - she performed a salmonella examination at the center and noticed the children expected to be stripped for examination in the bathroom). Ultimately, I think they found a group that (view spoiler)

Anyway, I don't think I want to read it again, but you know me - if I read it, I want to know the title. Any help is appreciated.

message 2: by Kris (new)

Kris | 33451 comments Mod
The Thanatos Syndrome by Walker Percy seems to match your description.

"When [Tom] More on parole from federal prison where he did time for selling drugs returns to his Louisiana hometown, he immediately notices bizarre personality changes in many people, including his wife Ellen. All exhibit suppressed cortical function, manifested in strange speech patterns and sexual behavior. With the help of his cousin, epidemiologist Lucy Lipscomb, More discovers the source of this syndrome: the town's drinking water has been laced with heavy sodium from the area's nuclear facility... This book is as timely as its concerns with child abuse and ultraconservative zealotry..."

Amy (Other Amy) | 167 comments That title does sound familiar, Kris, but the snippet from the Look Inside on Amazon is wholly unfamiliar. I think that might be it though. I will see if I can get ahold of a copy to check. Thanks much.

message 4: by Kris (last edited Aug 08, 2017 02:35PM) (new)

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