by Mindy McGinnis
Hardcover: 384 pages
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books (October 6, 2015)
Goodreads | Amazon
Mindy McGinnis, the acclaimed author of Not a Drop to Drink and In a Handful of Dust, combines murder, madness, and mystery in a beautifully twisted gothic historical thriller perfect for fans of novels such as Asylum and The Diviners as well as television's True Detective and American Horror Story.Grace Mae is pregnant and locked up in an insane asylum. When she thinks all hope is lost, she attracts the attention of a doctor turned criminal psychologist. As she becomes the Watson to his Holmes, Grace learns that her brilliant yet twisted mind gives her an advantage in the world of crime.
Grace Mae is already familiar with madness when family secrets and the bulge in her belly send her to an insane asylum—but it is in the darkness that she finds a new lease on life. When a visiting doctor interested in criminal psychology recognizes Grace's brilliant mind beneath her rage, he recruits her as his assistant. Continuing to operate under the cloak of madness at crime scenes allows her to gather clues from bystanders who believe her less than human. Now comfortable in an ethical asylum, Grace finds friends—and hope. But gruesome nights bring Grace and the doctor into the circle of a killer who will bring her shaky sanity and the demons in her past dangerously close to the surface.
I really loved that this novel tackles tough issues. You'll find rape, pregnancy, mental illness, and the like here. Many of these issue are difficult to read and they're present throughout but I appreciate an author that doesn't hold anything back. Even though everything is handled pretty well, you might want to stay away if you find any of this triggering. Another highlight for me was the writing. Mindy McGinnis captured the essence of the time period and gave the novel a dark tone that worked very well with the storyline. She also included some fantastic supporting characters that I learned to love as the story developed.
While the novel is dark and clever, I couldn't get over certain elements that made it a three stars read. Unfortunately, most of the novel was rather slow. Even though the plot was intriguing, I struggled through it because everything sort of dragged on forever. Then, a lot of ground was covered in the last few pages so it made me feel like everything was a little off. The end also left me slightly disappointed. I didn't care for the last few chapters because the story unraveled in a very strange way. A strong conclusion is pivotal to make everything worthwhile since this has a murder-mystery vibe to it. I felt like the story had a lot of potential so the end was a major letdown.
A Madness So Discreet is basically an interesting premise wrapped in an okay packaging. Even though I classify it as a very forgettable novel, I would recommend it to anyone looking for a Historical Fiction novel with a dash of darkness and mystery.