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Kill Switch by N. Baer and J. Greene

Kill Switch


ORDER A COPY: Kill Switch

Publisher:   Kensington Books
Publishing Date:  December 13, 2011
Paperback:  289 pages

Rating:  4 stars


A heart-pounding glimpse into the world of forensic psychiatry, Kill Switch marks the powerful fiction debut of Neal Baer and Jonathan Greene—former executive producers of television’s acclaimed Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Filled with breakneck suspense, vivid characters, and riveting detail, it is a mindbending thriller you’ll never forget… Meet Claire Waters, a young, dedicated forensic psychiatrist with unnervingly personal insights into the criminal mind. Haunted by a disturbing childhood incident—and driven by her demons—Claire has always been drawn to those rare “untreatable” patients who seem to have no conscience or fear. She has a natural ability to put people at ease, to help them face their darkest secrets. But one shocking case could make or break her career—and it’s waiting for her in the psychiatric wing of New York City’s Rikers Island. His name is Quimby. A deranged inmate whose boyish good looks hide a sordid history of dysfunction and abuse, Quimby triggers something in Claire she’d rather not face. As she tries to unlock Quimby’s past, she unwittingly reveals her own painful secrets—leaving herself dangerously vulnerable. For Claire, the patient’s obsessions are just the beginning. When the case propels her into the mind of another killer—a homicidal maniac who’s watching her every move—it could only end in madness, or murder, or both…


Claire Waters is still working through her childhood trauma. When she was only 8, her best friend was grabbed out of her driveway while they were playing. She can’t forget those life changing minutes and is haunted by her friend’s last moments of life. She is now a forensic psychiatrist and hopes to help understand the criminal mind.

She is sent in to assess Todd Quimby before his release from prison so see if he is ready for release and to be his counselor in the outside world. Is Quimby just misunderstood and suffering from a childhood trauma, or is he a serial killer who is now focused on his pretty new doctor?

Det. Nick Lawler is finally cleared of any charges in his wife’s death, and just in time since his first case is almost identical to the last murder he was investing a year ago. Same m.o., same pretty blonde. Is this random or a serial killer? If so, where has this killer been for the last year?

This was a very interesting thriller. Really held your interest in the story. There are a lot of things going on in this story and a lot of it involves past traumas suffered by the main characters.

Only thing I didn’t understand is that with all the things in the story and with everyone’s different behind the scenes traumas, was it really necessary that Nick Lawler was also going blind? It just seemed odd to throw that in and really didn’t seem necessary to the point it was almost distracting. If this is a first of a series, he won’t be around for more cases and if this is a stand alone book, his future blindness really didn’t add anything to the story.

Received ARC from Kensington Books. Thank you.


Favorite Scene:

Nick’s head turned toward the voice just as Savarese pointed him out to Dr. Claire Waters. “Detective Lawler’s handling that case,” Savarese said to her.

“That’s me,” Nick shouted, crossing the room quickly at the sight of a woman who looked too much like his dead victims. He held out his hand. “Nick Lawler.”

“Claire Waters,” she replied, shaking hands with him.

“Why don’t you come back to my desk, Ms. Waters. Did you know Ms. Mills?” he asked her as they walked.

“No,” replied Claire, “but I may know the person who killed her.”

“Please, have a seat,” Nick said, indicating the chair beside his desk as he sat down.

Claire couldn’t help but notice that Nick’s desk was clean in contrast with the others, which were piled with frayed files and stacks of papers. “Did someone tell you he murdered Ms. Mills?”

“Not in so many words,” Claire offered, relieved to get this off her chest. “He told me he paid her to have sex with him last night. In the Theatre District.”

Nick was hopeful. This was good information, if it was accurate. “Not to be rude, but why would he confess that to you?”

“I’m sorry. I should have told you,” Claire said. “I’m his doctor.”

Nick was thrown. “If I murdered someone, I wouldn’t confess to my doctor.”

“I’m really sorry, but I had a bad morning,” Claire said. “I’m a psychiatrist.”

The word psychiatrist set Nick off. “You’re a shrink and he’s one of your patients,” he said with open hostility.

Claire didn’t know what to make of this, but it came pouring out of her like a flash flood. “He called me in the middle of the night, and I met him in the emergency room at Manhattan City Hospital. He told me he’d done something bad. He described Ms. Mills perfectly. When I got home this morning, I saw a photo of her on the news. Then I made myself look like your victim and went back and confronted him, and…”

Claire was showing all the signs of having been victimized herself. But Nick felt only anger toward her. “And?” he asked.

“And…he freaked out.”

“Freaked out,” Nick uttered in disgust. “Is that what shrinks call it?”

Claire couldn’t understand why this cop was being so nasty. “I was scared. He tried to kill me.”

“Thanks. Why don’t you go downstairs and see the desk sergeant. He’ll have someone take a report.”

Now Claire was getting angry. “Don’t you believe me?”

“Sure I do, lady, but I have two dead bodies I need to investigate,” Nick said.

“Look, Detective, I know when I’m being blown off. You have a madman out there, and I know a lot about him—”

“And I’m telling you to take your story downstairs,” Nick interrupted.

“Do you have a problem with me?”

“And everyone like you,” snapped Nick. “I don’t like shrinks.”

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