Neurologist Sandra Block has a winner in her debut novel Little Black Lies.
Block has created a sassy protagonist in Zoe Goldman, a resident in a psychiatric ward in Buffalo, New York. Zoe cares about her patients, but her own life is a little complicated--the mother who adopted her at four-years-old has dementia, and Zoe and her brother are deeply saddened as their mother loses more and more of her memory. Zoe's former lover has moved, and their relationship may or may not survive, and Zoe's childhood nightmares have returned with a vengeance.
Then a sociopath, who as a teenager murdered her mother, arrives on her ward, and Zoe finds herself more curious about her own birth murder and what the confusing nightmares about a fire might mean. Her adoptive mother, however, either can't remember or refuses to relate much information. The love between Zoe and her adoptive mother is obvious, but the lack of information and/or misinformation about Zoe's birth mother eats at her. Are Zoe's nightmares a result of her mind trying to give her a warning?
I received Little Black Lies from NetGalley, and wasn't sure what to expect. It was such a pleasant surprise to find myself immersed in characters and narrative. I look forward to more from Sandra Block.
NetGalley/Grand Central Publishing/Hachette
Mystery/Psychological. Feb. 17, 2015. Print version: 352 pages.