"Analyst’ plays with the mind | SummitDaily.com

"Analyst’ plays with the mind

Kimberly Nicoletti

What happens when a madman beats a psychoanalyst at his own game?

John Katzenbach spins a psychologically thrilling story with “The Analyst.”

Dr. Frederick Starks, on his 53rd birthday, discovers he has two weeks to unveil the identity of a man who calls himself Rumplestiltskin. If he fails, he must kill himself or watch his family members die one by one.

At first, the rigid doctor dismisses the letter as idle venting. But, suddenly he’s plunged into a deadly game.

One of his patients dies mysteriously. His records disappear. A sexy – but deadly – woman begins paying him visits. Then, his situation worsens.

As he searches to discover Rumplestiltskin’s true identity and recall how he may have “ruined” this man’s life by practicing psychiatry, the doctor’s state of mind unravels.

At the end of two weeks, he faces the ultimate decision: kill himself or watch Rumplestiltskin – who has proven his far-reaching power – kill his family members one by one.

Though there’s nothing exceptional or poetic about Katzenbach’s language, he has an amazing ability to captivate readers with his mysterious story. He drives the plot quickly, making the 424-page book a quick read.

Watching an otherwise collected doctor – who’s supposed to be an expert in human behavior and motives – unravel is fascinating, as is watching Rumplestiltskin’s meticulously planned revenge.

“The Analyst” touches upon the vulnerability of everyone’s identity by showing how easily people can obtain personal information.

Katzenbach doesn’t give either main character an easy way out, which makes his story even more compelling.

Frank Darabont, the director of “The Shawshank Redemption” and “The Green Mile,” optioned “The Analyst” for film. Katzenbach’s last best-selling book, “Hart’s War” transformed into a feature film starring Bruce Willis and Colin Farrell.

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