Book Review: Double Blind: A Novel by Brandilyn Collins

Twenty-nine-year-old Lisa Newberry can barely make it through the day. Suddenly widowed and a survivor of a near-fatal attack, she is wracked with grief and despair. Then she hears of a medical trial for a tiny brain chip that emits electrical pulses to heal severe depression. At rope’s end, Lisa offers herself as a candidate.

When she receives her letter of acceptance for the trial, Lisa is at first hopeful. But—brain surgery. Can she really go through with that? What if she receives only the placebo?

What if something far worse goes wrong?

Written in the relentless style for which Brandilyn Collins is known,
Double Blind is a psychological thriller with mind-bending twists. Lisa faces choices that drive her to the brink, and one wrong move could cost the lives of many.

Release Date: October 15, 2012
Age Group: Adult
Source: NetGalley

I really liked the sound of Double Blind...enough to read a genre that I thought I was through with: mystery and suspense.  I haven't read a thriller in a long time.  I've read so many thrillers (medical, murder, legal) in years past that I just got tired of the genre, and vowed to take a break from it for a while.  But, the summary of Double Blind really drew me in.  I wanted to find out if Lisa gets any relief from her depression.  There are so many misconceptions and a stigma surrounding mental illness, and I don't understand why.  People seem to think that depression is their fault or a sign of their own weakness.  If you had diabetes, you wouldn't question taking insulin, so why do people (or their family members) with mental illness question getting help?  That's something I just don't understand.

Lisa has had several traumatic events leading up to her severe depression.  She has suffered multiple miscarriages, infertility, and the death of her husband.  Not to mention an attack that nearly killed her.  She is left alone, scared, and barely able to function.  Medication does not help her.  At her wit's end, and hoping for a better life, Lisa decides to enter a medical trial for a brain chip which can cure depression.  Her main concern, besides the imminent brain surgery, is whether she will receive the actual chip or a placebo.  Never in a million years does she expect what happens after the surgery.

Lisa wakes up from the surgery to find that her chip works, to her intense joy.  But, and this is a huge but, she begins to experience someone else's memories.  And that someone is a murderer.  Lisa's life is turned upside down as she battles with the company to remove her chip.  She ends up trying to piece together the events surrounding the murder on her own, in an effort to save the woman who she keeps seeing killed.  Lisa's search for justice takes her to the heart of a conspiracy rooted deeper than she could have imagined.

I really liked how Lisa stands up for herself, and tries to save the woman whose murder she keeps seeing.  I liked how she forges a better, healthier relationship with her mother, after years of being under her mother's thumb, she's finally standing up for herself.  I liked the ending, and how Collins weaves everything together.  The pacing was great, and kept me reading late into the night.  I could definitely tell that Collins is not a debut author---this book read like only an experienced author's work can.

Overall, I really liked Double Blind.  I still am not nearly as into the thriller genre as I used to be, but the next time I'm in the mood for a thriller, I will definitely pick up something else from Brandilyn Collins.


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