On a lovely fall day, both teacher Ava Stassi and student Jared McCabe will cross paths—fatally—with a young student navigating her first day on campus. The girl suffers a tragic, almost comical death and, indeed the first half of THE CURING ROOM reads very much like the blackest of comedies. But this twisty psychological thriller has much more delicate pleasures to offer than just a well-earned knee slap.
The dual narrative of having us inside the minds of both Ava and Jared grants a fascinating treatise on perception and interpretation. Ava believes she is buffeted by circumstance, whereas Jared feels he is the maker of situations. Both are, in their own way, very damaged narrators and, probably, neither is to be trusted.
Adding layer upon layer is a stellar cast of supporting players; a penguin-like professor who isn’t as he appears, the traumatized sister of the dead girl who is a force to be reckoned with, and the wizened police detective who’s closing in on the circumspect circumstances surrounding the case.
Reader’s loyalties and favoritism volleys back and forth in THE CURING ROOM. The plot unspools almost diabolically and the language is tense and vivid. But don’t worry. All these attributes are well-handled by author Michael Winn, a gifted storyteller. Winn has a jeweler’s eye for the smallest detail, without bogging readers down in minutiae. And the space in which he inhabits both narrators interior lives is so skilled, you would almost think the book was written by two authors, which makes Winn a double pleasure to read.
With violence brimming just below the surface in even the most mundane situations, THE CURING ROOM will keep readers turning the pages, faster and faster, the longer the book speeds along. THE CURING ROOM is a superb thriller that, much like its namesake, offers rich and savory pleasures that any reader with adventurous tastes will enjoy.
THE CURING ROOM is an intelligent psychological thriller expertly crafted and brilliantly told.
~Steven Foster for IndieReader