Danger To Others by Martha Crites

Danger To Others by Martha Crites
Publisher: Northwest Corner Books
Genre: Mystery/Suspense/Thriller, Contemporary
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Snowdrop

Late October in the Pacific Northwest foothills brings more than a change of season. Psychiatric evaluator Grace Vaccaro is on edge. A field evaluation gone wrong leads to a shooting, Grace’s mother has died and ghosts from her family past are everywhere.

When Laurel, a young psychiatric patient, says she killed her therapist, Grace suspects it’s a delusion and sets out to prove her innocent. Then Laurel escapes from a locked unit and suspicions abound. Her parents have secrets too. Laurel is reuniting with her father, a recovering heroin addict. Just how much does he oppose mental health treatment and why? Laurel’s mother doesn’t trust him. The mother may have a disturbing past of her own-someone is following her.

Grace’s work partner disappears next. Is it related to the case? Grace’s search leads to the Seattle music scene, an abandoned mental hospital in the North Cascades and a group of cloistered nuns on a remote island. Whenever Grace believes she’s identified the killer, new information points to someone else. As Grace digs deeper, she must face both the hope and inadequacies of medical treatment of mental health in the last sixty years.

Working in the mental health field can most likely be satisfying and frustrating. I imagine there are many times that it is difficult to know whether your client is telling the truth or not. Sometimes we have seen things so horrid that we begin to wonder if it was real or not. Trying to help people with these problems is not something I have personal experience with. In this story, Grace Vaccaro has plenty of experience as an evaluator, and it is with this type of character that the author weaves a good story.

There is a very good picture of the Pacific Northwest here. I think the author’s descriptive writing only helps to make the scene even more real. However, it was not descriptive writing nor characters that drew me into the story. It was the suspense. The taut “sit on the edge of your seat” bits were my favorite. This is the kind of book that will keep you reading long into the night.