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In the Dark by J. Scott Matthews
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In the Dark

by J. Scott Matthews

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I received an early reviewer copy of this book.

I had difficulty getting into this book. Any mystery thriller requires setup but the writing style is extremely amateurish. For example, "Before long he realized he was climbing, as the road ascended a long, gradual climb". The redundancy is distracting and there was little chance of this book booking me into reading sufficiently to really give not a chance. ( )
  Benboo | Jul 24, 2016 |
In his novel In the Dark J. Scott Matthews explores the effects of PTSD on the life of soldiers after a war. After an 'accident', the details of which are unclear in the beginning and still somewhat hazy in the end, Nine is discharged from the military. A governmental program officially set up to treat victims of PTSD treats patients with an ominous 'procedure' after which their condition only deteriorates. Many patients start having strong hallucinations and some patients have a stroke and die. While the higher-ranking officials try to cover up what happens in their facility, ex-psychiatrist Grant Engel actually tries to help his patients. He escapes with two patients, only called Nine and Five throughout the novel.

Two plot strands converge in In the Dark. There is the story of Grant Engel, who loses his highly paid job, starts drinking and thereby destroys his family. When he loses his license as a psychiatrist and there seems to be no way but down, he is offered a job by an old acquaintance. He is supposed to interview patients that are treated for PTSD in a governmental program. Glad that his downward spiral finally stops, he jumps at the opportunity only to recognize that something is very wrong with the treatment of the patients. Since he is offered no details by his superiors, he feels he cannot do his job anymore and helps two patients escape before their evident death in the treatment facility.

Then there is the story of Nine, a patient in the PTSD treatment program, who wanders around town trying to make sense of what happened to him after he wakes up in a bar with blood and dead bodies around him. The line between reality and hallucination is often very blurry for Nine and he has trouble deciding what is real and what is not. For me, this is one of the strong suits of the novel. As a reader, you are constantly challenged to decide for yourself what to believe and whom to trust. J. Scott Matthews has done a good job in creating characters that seem very authentic. The pace of the novel is just fine so that you want to keep on reading and follow Nine in solving the mystery of what has happened to him.

I liked this novel a lot and would recommend it to anyone interested in the topic. 4 stars for an aspiring writer. ( )
1 vote OscarWilde87 | Jun 4, 2016 |
A very good psychological sci-fi thriller with a well developed plot and many twists and turns. The story is fast paced and keeps the reader guessing what's coming next. The characters are realistic and well developed. The ending was well done and came as a surprise. I highly recommend this book to all sci-fi thriller readers. ( )
  jimphillips8 | Apr 7, 2016 |
In the Dark by J. Scott Matthews is a thrilling sci-fi novel that keeps you guessing the whole time. Ex-military are put in an experimental program to help with PTSD but things go south fast and the government is trying to cover it up. The subjects are not allowed to give out names, they are given numbers. Nine wakes up in town with dead bodies around him and doesn't remember anything of the program. He doesn't know who to trust, who is after him, and how to find out what is going on. The ride is exciting, full of twists and turns when you least expect them, a great plot and well developed set of characters. I won this book from LibraryThing and I am so glad I did! ( )
  MontzaleeW | Mar 20, 2016 |
Good Read - Is it real or just happening in the soldier's head? This psychological thriller will keep you guessing from beginning to end. The plot and characters are well thought out and believable and you want to keep turning the page to see what happens next.It could use a little editing but other than that a book worthy of purchase and the time spent reading it. I look forward to reading more by Matthews. ( )
  Mrs.Kaiser | Mar 18, 2016 |
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