Friday 5 March 2021

BLOG TOUR: The Double - Ann Gosslin

Following a violent outburst at an awards ceremony, Vidor Kiraly, a prize-winning neuroscientist and Cambridge don, is sent to an isolated psychiatric clinic in the Swiss Alps.

When the clinic’s director, Anton Gessen, tries in vain to unearth the missing pieces of Vidor’s life, he suspects his reluctant patient is not who he appears to be. After one of the patients at the clinic goes missing, Gessen has reason to doubt Vidor’s self-proclaimed innocence. But what is he hiding, and who might be next?

What did I think?

The Double is a very unusual psychological thriller, focussing more on the psychological aspect of the workings of the brain rather than fast-paced thrills.  Although the pacing is rather slow it was nice to just to relax in the stunning virtual environment of the Swiss Alps and immerse myself in the soothing and mesmeric writing of Ann Gosslin.  

Vidor Kiraly is a very interesting main character and I suspected from the very first chapter that there was more to him than meets the eye.  He may seem confident but underneath he is clearly insecure and seeking validation; and that's not all that is lurking beneath the surface.  After having some kind of psychotic break, Vidor is sent to a psychiatric clinic in the Swiss Alps to be assessed by Dr Anton Gessen.

I really enjoyed Dr Gessen's sessions with Vidor.  Dr Gessen is like a detective wearing kid gloves, gently probing Vidor's mind to try to ascertain whether diminished responsibility is a valid claim for Vidor's violence.  I found the use of aroma to evoke memories really interesting; it's so true that a smell from your past can transport you through time and space to a forgotten place.

Dr Gessen and Vidor prove worthy adversaries as one tries to uncover the truth and the other tries to remain one step ahead.  Tension and suspense mounts like snow falling flake by flake on the Alps and an ominous feeling descended over me in the latter half of the book as the pacing picked up speed.  

Atmospheric and mesmerising, The Double is a literary study of the mind and all its foibles.  It may be a slow burner but it constantly simmers and boils with the underlying threat of explosion.  I enjoyed it but it's perhaps a book that will appeal more to the discerning reader who likes to explore the intricate workings of the human mind.  

Many thanks to Legend Press for sending me an ARC to read and review for the blog tour; this is my honest and unbiased opinion.

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