Grace Mae knows madness. She keeps it locked away, along with her voice, trapped deep inside a brilliant mind that cannot forget horrific family secrets. Those secrets, along with the bulge in her belly, land her in a Boston insane asylum. When her voice returns in a burst of violence, Grace is banished to the dark cellars where her mind is discovered by a visiting doctor who dabbles in the new study of criminal psychology. With her keen eyes and sharp memory, Grace will make the perfect assistant at crime scenes. Escaping from Boston to the safety of an ethical Ohio asylum, Grace finds friendship and hope, hints of a life she should have had. But gruesome nights bring Grace and the doctor into the circle of a killer who stalks young women. Grace, continuing to operate under the cloak of madness, must hunt a murderer while she confronts the demons in her own past. In this beautifully twisted historical thriller, Mindy McGinnis, acclaimed author of NOT A DROP TO DRINK and IN A HANDFUL OF DUST, explores the fine line between sanity and insanity, good and evil—and the madness that exists in all of us.
A Madness so DiscreetFeatured
A Madness So Discreet explores the emerging science of profiling. Dr. Thornhollow and Grace study crime scenes in order to create a picture of the murderer and narrow down the pool of suspects until they are able to locate their prey. This meant Grace received regular "lessons" in which Dr. Thornhollow taught about profiling. If this is new information for the reader, it would be interesting. However, I feel like profiling has become such a big plot point for so many movies and TV shows now that all of this information seems like something everyone knows already; that murderers like to revisit the crime scene, that they are often impotent, that they have overbearing mothers etc. Since I was pretty familiar with all of this, these scenes were a little tedious and slowed down the plot.
The plot can really be broken into three parts: the Boston Asylum, Grace's Instruction, and Grace's Revenge. The first section is a great read, but is full of triggers. The treatment of patients in the asylum is deplorable and, as a mother, I found certain scenes very difficult to get through. However, this sets the tone for a very creepy novel about madness and the treatment of the insane, but the story then takes a change. Once she escapes, the tone changes completely and the plot slows as Dr. Thornhollow teaches Grace the basics of profiling and she acclimates to her new hospital. Things become interesting again in the final part as we start to see a whole new side of Grace. By this point, she has received enough instruction to be able to operate capably on her own and has finally begun to take control of her own life. This makes her a much more interesting character. At this point, the plot moves much more quickly and we get to see just how devious, and forward thinking, Grace can be.
The novel was hit and miss when it came to the characters. Some, like Grace, were interesting and well developed while others, like Dr. Thornhollow and his sister fell a little flat. Thankfully, there were no romantic elements as would often be expected in this type of novel and I was quite glad that the only part of Grace's body that the doctor seemed interested in was her mind. There are also characters that, while enjoyable, did deplorable things that were applauded. Overall, there was a theme of women gaining revenge against the men who wronged them, however they often did it in ways that I simply couldn't stomach.
While this novel wasn't quite a 5 star for me, it was quite enjoyable and could fit quite well with McGinnis' newer novel - The Female of the Species - as a series about females seeking revenge. A book that I recommend even more highly.
A MADNESS SO DISCREET has a unique style of writing and page-turning suspense; you won't be able to put it down. Discover the hidden secrets of Grace's past and present, and follow the plot's dark and twisted turns alongside a strangely appealing criminal psychologist. Not for the faint of heart, MADNESS takes readers into the darkest depths of asylum life, violent crime, and domestic abuse. Highly recommended for those looking for thrilling historical fiction.
The only concern one should have with this title is the cover and what they might think they are getting. If you are looking for a psychological thriller, look elsewhere. If you are hoping for a deep study on the thin line between madness and reality, then this book isn't for you. If you enjoy reading about crime, then you might find a place here. If serial killers interest you, then this title features one. This novel is more of a crime thriller than the cover might lead you to believe.
I highly recommend this book to people that enjoy: historical fiction, crime thrillers, and Sherlock Holmes.
I really liked Not A Drop to Drink so I was really excited for this one. It sounded gritty and dark and interesting and it was a historical setting. As a huge fan of Criminal Minds, the criminal psychology aspect really appealed to me as well.
Right from the beginning, I felt for Grace. She found herself in such a horrible situation through no fault of her own. She was smart, compassionate, and loyal but she had a dark side to her. She was very resourceful and I loved how much she wanted to learn about criminal psychology because she seemed genuinely interested, not just to keep up the appearance of being the doctor’s assistant. She had to learn just how capable she was now that she was away from her family.
The relationships and interactions Grace had with the other characters in the book were interesting. There was a different dynamic to them, depending on what the other person believed Grace to be. The relationship between her and the doctor, Thornhollow, was the most explored and it was really interesting. They had a great dynamic between them that I really liked. I also really liked the developing friendship between Grace and Lizzie. It gave Grace a female friend and also added some lighter moments to all the darkness.
The psychology aspect of the book was really interesting. The observations Thornhollow would make about the killer reminded me a lot of Criminal Minds and it was interesting to see it written in a way where a lot of people weren’t believers because it was so new. It was a little slow to start but once the doctor came into the story and Grace got out of the asylum, things really picked up. The darker the story got and the more that was revealed, the more I wanted to read and know what was going to happen.
I had very high expectations for this book. It sounded completely creepy and I was excited to dive in! While I did like this book, it was definitely not what I expected and it didn't blow me away.
Grace has been through horrific things, one of which gave her the bulge in her belly. Now, Grace is in a mental asylum to hide the family secret. Grace has kept her voice locked away until one moment when she breaks, and is sent to the cellars. A visiting doctor discovers her, seeing the intelligence in her mind, the doctor takes her with him. She's to help him study crime scenes and find killers, with a serial killer possibly on the rise.
I admit that I go into books without rereading synopsis of the book, so I was thrown when the book changed setting. I was expecting the asylum to be the major setting. That's not a big deal, really. I found the crime studies interesting and I thought this book handled madness very well! Mindy McGinnis is a wonderful writer and I also thought that the historical setting was not only interesting, but well written.
Now, to get into what I wasn't expecting. The madness in this book carried throughout this book, but the plot was surprising to me. It felt like the plot kept changing. I can't really get into the changes, less there be spoilers, but it's hard for me to get into a book when my expectations keep changing.
The characters were great and I loved Grace's character growth, but I had a hard time connecting with the characters for some reason. This book was in third person, which I always have difficulty with (with the exception of fantasy books), so that's probably why.
As for romance, THERE IS NONE! A fact that I actually liked!
Overall, I liked this book, but it wasn't quite what I was expecting. Still, this is a great historical thriller and a very interesting read.