L.A. Mental by Neil McMahon

An Imprint of HarperCollins Publishers
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To psychologist Tom Crandall it seems Los Angeles in going insane. A distinguished judge goes on a rampage an destroys his own home, a brilliant grad student from CalTech is killed while driving his car wildly through traffic, his own brother, Nick, calls him distressed claiming “his brain is being devoured by worms”.

Sadly as Tom tries to help his brother he can’t stop him from throwing himself off a cliff into the Pacific ocean. Tom rescues him only to learn Nick doesn’t remember a thing.

The Crandalls are a very wealthy family. Tom seeming to be the most normal, Nick has been involved in some shady dealings, their sister Erica has her own problems and younger brother Paul is the business man of the family and is in charge of the family fortune.

As Tom starts to investigate secrets come out and all the insanity seems to lead to a film company Parallax Productions and its director, a former physicist named Gunnar Kelso. Tom delves right into the middle of things to find some answers and what he discovers is absolutely mind boggling.

Dollycas’s Thoughts
I knew this author from his previous work with James Patterson on the book TOYS so I knew he come up with some pretty out there ideas, but it did not prepare me for this.

I wouldn’t actually call it a thriller, it is more of a psychological study of madness. However, it is just as entertaining, but must be read carefully to capture ever nuance in this mind bending story. They are some really technical concepts that take away some of the drama by being too scientific. They are also some confusing elements as to setting and why certain people were affected and others not, but it is fiction, science fiction. Sometimes you need to just let go of reality and let the story take you on a journey. I was waiting for a real ” a ha moment” and that doesn’t happen.

Like Patterson’s quote says on the cover it is “a very cool concept”, but if you pick this book thinking you are going to be reading a true thriller you will be disappointed. If you like sci-fi or futuristic type fiction this book is perfect for you. It is filled with the stuff that you spend nights dreaming about. It is also a book that will leave you contemplating just how much is really fiction. How much of this technology is already out there and can it be used for good and evil. McMahon has now shown me twice that he has quite an imagination, a sometimes scary imagination. What worries me is the actual research he did to come up with this “very cool concept” and how much is true and how much is imagined.
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Harper. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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