Vibrations in the Field

Fiction - Thriller - Psychological
351 Pages
Reviewed on 04/19/2023
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Jamie Michele for Readers' Favorite

Vibrations in the Field by Daniel Burke is a metaphysical medical thriller that revolves around three characters. Jane Carter is an academically accomplished young woman who was diagnosed with a series of mental health conditions in the form of schizophrenia, psychosis, and Dissociative Identity Disorder. She is joined by a decorated war veteran on a path to the priesthood named Joe Carroll and Dr. Barry Lieberman, a physician who runs a private practice. The latter uses hypnosis in a manner that gives him unfettered physical and psychological access to his most vulnerable patients. One of Barry's patients is Jane, who is of particular interest to him because she views each of her personalities as separate visible beings. This includes “Sweet Jane”, an alter ego created by Barry to counter the triggers in Jane that hamper her academic pursuits. Barry is a sexual predator and the combination of his unregulated drugs and a hypnosis method called Disassociated Observer Exploration Therapy (DOET) make his patients not only submissive to his advances but active participants in them. When Jane is found with a bloody poker and the unthinkable has happened, Joe is bent on helping Jane/Sweet Jane, who has spent years in psychiatric facilities, while Barry is willing to do everything necessary to stop her.

Vibrations in the Field by Daniel Burke is an exceptionally well-written thriller due to the character development achieved through multiple points of view. Although Jane seems to be the main protagonist, it is the almost-there priest Joe who is the most visible and compelling. Barry also takes up a decent percentage of page real estate, and the two men with polar opposite ideologies duke it out without fully understanding exactly who or what they are up against. To say that Jane is rough around the edges is akin to comparing a goldfish to a whale. She is painfully raw with the tongue of a viper. She is unreliable as a point of view character and she was most unlikeable initially. Burke is methodical in revealing who the characters are, their backstories, and their motives. He uses the restraint of a seasoned writer to set the perfect pace for the story. Quantum physics aficionados will appreciate the theoretical explanations that would likely be way over the heads of casual readers. This is a tightly written, entertaining, and layered novel that was an absolute pleasure to read. Highly recommended.

K.C. Finn

Vibrations In The Field by author Daniel Burke is a work of fiction in the psychological thriller and interpersonal drama subgenres. It is best suited to the general adult reading audience owing to themes surrounding trauma and PTSD. In this highly engrossing and engagingly complex tale, we encounter Ph.D. hopeful Jane Carter when she seems to have a very bright future ahead of her in quantum physics. But when a bizarre otherworldly experience leaves her searching for answers, a psychologist with a sinister ulterior motive throws her whole life off the rails. Recovering with the help of a trauma-fuelled veteran turning to the priesthood, Jane wants justice, and the man who harmed the deepest parts of her mind needs to be put behind bars for good.

Author Daniel Burke has a wonderful knack for subverting stereotypes and expectations of genre and storytelling, because every time you think you know where this novel might lead you, a more exciting and inventive path suddenly rears its head. The novel has some very dark moments that tap into the worst urges of humanity, but the shifting perspectives of different narrators help to change the mood so that the story never feels too heavy to handle at any one time. The themes are well used to further the plot, and the deeper one reads into the work, the more the emotional development and trauma recovery elements come into their own in an accomplished and compassionate style. Overall, I would certainly recommend Vibrations In The Field to readers seeking a unique thriller with an inventive and exciting narrative style.

Susan van der Walt

Jane is a genius at math but also schizophrenic. Joe is a war hero working to become a priest. Barry is the evil psychiatrist who must stop Jane before she reveals his secrets. In Vibrations in the Field, Daniel Burke has created a nail-biting psychological thriller with compelling characters, each facing unique challenges. Joe buried the horrors of the war in his subconscious; it was the only way to overcome his alcoholism and give him a shot at becoming a priest. Jane is battling her demons: not only The Others that appear to her but the persona planted in her subconscious by her psychiatrist, Dr. Barry Lieberman. Lieberman is a sociopath - a murderer with no feelings or conscience - and a master actor and manipulator, enabling him to conceal his dark and evil side from the world.

The title Vibrations in the Field draws from quantum physics and plays on the belief that we all exist simultaneously in different realities. It is also how Jane explains The Others, who regularly appear to her. I was fascinated by Daniel Burke's parallels between quantum theory and the Catholic faith, followed by Jane and Joe, respectively. Despite Lieberman lurking in the background and manipulating Jane's treatments, Burke also created a nagging doubt about Jane's guilt or innocence in her mother’s murder. However, I always rooted for Jane: a troubled genius fighting for a regular life. I love the moodiness of the book cover, with the woman in a straitjacket and the two ghosts appearing on the sides. Vibrations in the Field is a brilliant thriller that will keep you turning the pages, always hoping that good will win over evil.

Vincent Dublado

Vibrations in the Field by Daniel Burke is a remarkable psychological thriller, reflecting the brilliant narrative skills of a consummate writer. It intrigues and provokes. Jane Carter is the main protagonist, a beautiful woman close to earning her Ph.D. in quantum physics when she became plagued with visions. Her auditory and visual hallucinations are the most well-formed that Dr. Barry Lieberman has ever treated. Jane sees versions of herself which she calls Other Janes or simply the Others, and she has created an elaborate delusion to explain her hallucinations, based on her extensive knowledge of quantum physics. The big gun in Barry’s therapeutic arsenal is not medication or antipsychotics, but a technique he developed called Disassociated Observer Exploration Therapy. It made him famous, but will it be too late for Jane to discover that Barry cannot be trusted?

Vibrations in the Field will grip you from start to finish. It is a nerve-twisting and tension-filled exercise in its exploration of psychiatric maladies. It is bound to become one of Daniel Burke’s most important works of fiction. You get a tormented protagonist, an intriguing mental case, and a famous yet shady hypnotherapist. It all amounts to a plot with a sense of doom where your expectations of something sinister intensify with every turn of the page. Burke is in full control of the eerie and foreboding panorama he has created. Every lesson that a writer has learned reflects in the elements of his story. It’s a pleasure to read for the unique path that it treads and for setting the bar high in a psychological thriller. Highly recommended.

Sherri Fulmer Moorer

All Jane Carter wanted was to resume her path toward her Ph.D. in quantum physics. Instead, she got hallucinations of herself from “The Others,” which were alternate versions of herself from other realities. Desperate to restore her sanity, she turns to Dr. Barry Lieberman’s controversial hypnotic treatment that causes a split in her personality to “observe” herself objectively. Unlike his other patients, Jane broke free, only to have Dr. Lieberman commit her to a mental hospital. But Jane is smart, and getting better. She soon gets discharged to a lower security facility, one that she escapes from to resume her studies. When she crosses paths with Joe, a combat veteran recovering from PTSD and on a long road to priesthood, she discovers that she must also find her true self to make the breakthroughs personally and professionally. Unfortunately, Dr. Lieberman is on her trail, and he won’t stop until he locks her back up and resumes control of her psyche. Can Joe keep Jane safe and help her to break free? Can Jane unravel the mystery of her mind and find the truth? Find out in Vibrations in the Field, by Daniel Burke.

I enjoyed Vibrations in the Field because it isn’t a typical psychological thriller. The characters come alive with their conflicting purposes to create a dramatic story of the truth of mental illness, the strength of will, and the human spirit, faith, hope, and truth. The story moves at a fast pace and, much to my delight, trusts the reader to understand the complex science of theoretical physics, reality, and the nature of the universe. The physics, psychological science, and suspense of this story mix together to create an intriguing tale. I highly recommend it!