The Syndrome

by John Case

Ballantine Books, May, 2001.
Hardcover, 455 pages.
ISBN: 0345433084

The Syndrome by John Case Attorney Adrienne Cope blames psychologist Dr. Jeff Duran for the death of her sister, Nico. Cope's unstable sister killed herself, and Cope accuses Duran of filling her sister's head with untrue and harmful stories about her childhood. To make things worse, Duran himself may be quite ill; he truly believes that he is a psychologist, even when a licensed investigator presents him with hard evidence that his name and medical diplomas are fakes. Eventually, Duran begins to doubt his own background, and he invites Cope and Eddie over to see the files he kept on Nico. But all Duran has to show them are empty files, which he cannot explain. Suddenly, two thugs arrive at the apartment posing as police and soon shots are exchanged between Eddie and the thugs. Eddie is killed and so is one of the thugs. Cope and Duran go to the police, but when the apartment is checked out by the police it is empty with no evidence of bodies or even blood stains. Forced to go on the run to avoid more potential killers, Duran and Cope are determined to find Duran's true identity and why someone was trying to kill them.

The Syndrome is a wonderful suspense novel from author John Case -- whose identity is no longer keeping readers in suspese. Case is actually husband and wife team Jim and Carolyn Hougan. The Hougans are known for crafting cunning suspense novels intertwined with scientific knowledge and technologic breakthroughs (See, The Genesis Code and The First Horseman). In The Syndrome we get a look at psychology, mind-control experiments and methods for measuring and studying the brain. The two main characters, Adrienne Cope and Jeff Duran are both appealing. Duran, the man who sincerely believes he is a psychologist, (although he isn't even aware of his own real name) is especially interesting. Cope, the determined lawyer, torn away on an exciting adventure is also just as appealing. Another fact-paced, exciting thriller from the Hougans (John Case).

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This review was published in the June, 2001 of The Internet Writing Journal.

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