3 out of 4 stars
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Double Blind Double Cross by Robert M. Reece, M.D. is a novel that has it all! It’s full of action and adventure while also incorporating meaningful character development. This book is a wonderful balance of thrills, heartfelt relationships, and thought-provoking discussion about the effects of emotional trauma.
This is not your typical crime novel with a villain who does evil deeds and needs to be caught. Instead, it’s a story about the nuances and struggles of the human experience. The first half of the book follows Dr. Tom Barrett, a highly skilled trauma surgeon in Boston. When Tom is unexpectedly sent to the Middle East by the Army, his whole life changes forever. Tom had spent his entire career dealing with traumatic injuries but was still woefully unprepared for the horrors he witnessed in the middle of a war zone. After watching his entire medical unit (including his best friend) get blown to pieces, something changed inside of Tom. He was no longer able to effectively function as a doctor. The Army was forced to send him home.
Unfortunately, things don’t get any easier for Tom once he returns to Boston. He suffers from intense symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Tom is barely able to get through the day without explosions of anger and depression. At night, he is haunted by graphic nightmares replaying the terrible things he witnessed during the war. When Tom is at the brink of insanity, he runs into an old colleague who invites him to participate in a study for a new drug treatment for PTSD. At first, the study seems like a dream come true for Tom. However, he soon begins to realize that something isn’t right at the treatment center. Tom tries to get to the bottom of the issue, but only manages to get himself into serious danger. Before he knows it, his life depends on him being able to find the culprits and figuring out how far the conspiracy goes.
This book is very fun and entertaining. It has a bold and intriguing start that pulls you in right away. The plot has an excellent flow and pace for the first two-thirds of the book. The author is very descriptive in his writing about the war and PTSD. He paints a grim and realistic picture of how war veterans adjust to civilian life. The grief and guilt felt by Tom are palpable in every sentence. In our society, there is still a lot of confusion and misconception about PTSD. This book does an excellent job of demonstrating how it impacts the daily lives of soldiers.
About halfway through the novel, the focus shifts from Tom’s inner turmoil to a spy story. I really enjoyed this change of pace. It kept things exciting. However, things escalated a little too quickly towards the end. Up until that point, everything in the plot line was very realistic. The last third of the book was disappointing for me. Plot and character development were substituted for simple exposition. The dialogue also became stiff.
The editing was also sloppier towards the end of the book. I didn’t notice any grammatical errors or typos in the first two thirds of the book. However, in the last 50 pages I noticed several grammatical mistakes. It seems like the end of the book was rushed by both the author and the editor. There was no final paragraph or sentence that wrapped things up. The ending was very abrupt. I actually kept trying to scroll to the next page on my Kindle because I hadn’t realized the book was over.
Overall, this was an exciting and interesting book. I really enjoyed reading it. Due to the few issues I mentioned, I must give this book 3 out of 4 stars. I would highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys action and books about character development. I also think this book would be really beneficial to anyone who has a loved one dealing with PTSD.
Double Blind Double Cross
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