Monday, 11 October 2021

Book review : Primary Obsessions - Charles Demers

Primary Obsessions is a great new read by Charles Demers that combines two intriguing elements - mental health issues and a quest for the truth. The opening premise seems quite believable. Sanjay is a young patient, suffering from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, who is arrested for the brutal murder of his roommate. At first sight, this is logical. Sanjay is subject to repeated thoughts of a violent nature so he is the prime suspect for the crime. The police are happy to have solved the case so quickly and all is well and good.

Except for Dr Annick Boudreau, the doctor that deals with Sanjay and other tortured souls in her psychiatric practice at the West Coast Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Clinic. She is shocked by the arrest and doesn't believe that Sanjay is capable of the crime. He is horrified by his violent thoughts and she is convinced that he would be incapable of acting them out in real life. The police and prosecutor are unwilling to help and Dr Boudreau is reined in by the doctor-patient confidentiality rules that prevent her from speaking out on his behalf. She can't get let it go though and sets out to investigate the case under her own steam.

The author, Charles Demers, is one of Canada’s top stand-up comics and, all importantly, a longtime Cognitive Behavioural Therapy patient and his insight into the largely unknown (to me, at least) work of psychiatric practises is fascinating. I also enjoyed learning more about the intriguing city of Vancouver (even if this novel principally reveals its darker, seedier side) and the enchanting mix of cultures and heritage - Dr Boudreau is Acadian, her boyfriend is Chinese, her patient Indian and her partner at work  "one hundred percent of the Jamaican-Canadian Zen Buddhist community in Vancouver". Is that even a thing ?!

This book is the first in a series of mysteries, with each new title uncovering a different aspect of psychiatric care. The next book, Suicidal Thoughts, will be released by Legend Press in 2022. I'm looking forward to following the further adventures of the witty, feisty and unrelenting Dr Boudreau.

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Legend Press (15 Sept. 2021)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 288 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1800310013
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1800310018

Disclosure : I received a review copy of the book.

1 comment:

  1. Intriguing premises! Sounds like a gripping new series. And an insight into CBT.
    My DH went to high school in Vancouver, maybe I should get this book for him. I only visited Canada once, when we checked out Toronto for the possible move when he was offered a job there. That was before E. was born.


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