Almost Dead

A Midnight Shrink Novel

Fiction - Crime
192 Pages
Reviewed on 10/15/2020
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Viga Boland for Readers' Favorite

When is crime fiction more than just crime fiction? When it’s written by Edward A Dreyfus and its protagonist is Almost Dead in the first chapter! Just picture yourself sipping your morning coffee and surfing your laptop when a bullet buzzes across the top of your head. What an opening! Now the big question becomes who would want to kill the socially conscious and generous-with-his-time Dr. David Edminson, a clinical and forensic psychologist who counsels Skid Row residents for free during the midnight hours? The first thing to check, of course, is his patient list, past and present. But there’s that little obstruction to this approach called “patient confidentiality”.

So while David leaves the shooting to his two police buddies to figure out, he proceeds to share with us stories of several of his regular patients: a wife battling her suddenly-turned violent husband; a college professor accused of sexual advances on his students; a guy who could do so much more with his college degree than be a pimp; and a transgender former military soldier...just to name a few.
Their stories, and how David guides them toward finding acceptable solutions to their unhappiness, are interesting reading and comprise much of Almost Dead’s content. So is the detailed relationship between David and three of his high school friends whom he sees regularly but realizes he no longer really knows as all of them have secrets they are afraid to share.

The bottom line, Almost Dead is closer to literary fiction than it is to crime fiction in that its focus is less on the plot and more on the characters and what they learn about themselves. For readers who are more interested in gaining insight into human motivation than visualizing movie-style violent crime...and there certainly is enough of that in this novel too...Almost Dead is an absorbing read. As for the “midnight shrink’s” idea suggested toward the end for offering to counsel those who can’t afford it? Very cool indeed. Check it out!

Jack Magnus

Almost Dead: A Midnight Shrink Novel is a crime novel written by Edward A. Dreyfus. One might think that few are up and awake at 3:00 a.m. aside from bakers getting an early start and garbagemen out on their rounds, but, in reality, there are so many men and women out there who live nocturnal lives. Dr. David Edminson, a clinical and forensic psychologist, is one of them; so is his live-in girlfriend, Max, a graduate student supporting herself by stripping. David was working on his laptop in an all-night diner at the time in question when he was almost killed -- literally. Had he not bent over to retrieve a fallen spoon from the floor, the bullet that passed overhead would have ended his life. There had only been one other customer in the coffee shop, and the staff at this hour was limited to a cook and server. Neither of them witnessed the shooting, though Joe, the cook, had seen the masked man in the doorway before he left. David’s friends, Detective Lieutenant Sal Catena and his partner, Sergeant Paul Burns, had gotten the call to investigate. Sal asked for a list of patients to help him assess who would have a grudge against or other cause to kill David. The doctor was, of course, adamant in protecting the identities of his clients, but he would provide whatever information he could. The movement of that bullet passing through his hair still resonated within him.

Edward A. Dreyfus’s Almost Dead: A Midnight Shrink Novel is a well-written and thought-provoking look at an investigation into attempted murder. While fleshing out the mystery, Dreyfus explores the lives and motivations of each of the characters in his story: David and his two friends, as well as Henry, the fourth of the quartet and a medical doctor, as well as Max, David’s fiercely independent girlfriend and partner. The author’s story is well-plotted and gives the armchair detective a number of red herrings to consider, and his characters are fully fleshed and authentic. Almost Dead: A Midnight Shrink Novel is highly recommended.

Christopher Anderson

In his book Almost Dead: A Midnight Shrink Novel, author Edward A Dreyfus starts the story in a 24-hour coffee shop off Broadway in the Skid Row area of downtown Los Angeles. The midnight shrink, a 36-year-old clinical and forensic psychologist Dr. David Edminson has popped in for a coffee. David drops his spoon and bends down to pick it up at the instant a shot rings out and a bullet enters his laptop screen. David does some of his work for the LAPD so he reports the incident and two of his childhood friends, LAPD’s lieutenant Sal Catena and his partner Paul Burns, arrive at the scene. All three start to look into who and why someone would want to kill Dr. David Edminson. The story analyses friendships, families, and the secrets that they try to keep hidden. While part of David’s job is to try to bring these secrets out into the open, in doing this he discovers that some of his patients have ties with the Mafia. Could that be the reason for the shot being fired?

Edward A Dreyfus explores the connections between Dr. David Edminson and his patients, friends, and family to see who could possibly be behind the attack, making you, the reader, form opinions of who the potential killer might be. Edward takes you into the minds of the different characters and how they think and how Dr. Edminson helps them to find out why they think that way. The author's style of writing gives you an insight into the different types of people that have connections with the homeless in downtown Los Angeles. His first-hand understanding of psychology is very evident in the writing of this book. A great effort was taken to make the key characters stand out as well as their relationships with each other. Almost Dead is an enjoyable psychological thriller with twists and turns that keep you wanting to read more.