Disgruntled Detective William Hael had prayed for an interesting case which would bring him out of the depression he had been in since a drunk driver killed his wife and son. He wasn’t sure getting the case of a brutally crucified bisexual school teacher was the answer to his prayer.
Was it a hate crime? Does his friend, the psychologist who has treated all the suspects, really know who the killer is? Will the psychologist be killed next? Is the killer the paranoid schizophrenic? Is he the patient with the antisocial personality disorder? Is the killer the one concealing multiple personalities?
In Strictest Confidence blends a thriller with the psychological study of abused children. In this taut detective tale, the backstories of the suspects and the revelation of Hael’s own difficult childhood elucidate the horrors of child abuse. This novel examines the evolution of emotional disorders in adults who were abused children. Importantly, it discloses how attempts to handle those problems can lead to constructive resolution or to self-destruction.
This psychological thriller brings to mind David Pelzer’s A Child Called “It”, extending that narrative showing abused children as adults with deeply disturbing emotional disorders. While all the characters in this story are fictitious, it is a sad truth that abused children grow into adulthood with a greater likelihood of having mental health disorders. They are more apt to become alcoholics and drug addicts, more at risk for intimate partner violence and, because they are frequently depressed, more disposed to make suicide attempts. All these issues are seen in the characters who enliven this drama.
Reading In Strictest Confidence may evoke the author’s quandary: should being able to understand why someone acts in evil ways make their actions excusable?