The Ninth Session

Deborah Serani

Rating: 4 out of 5.

When psychologist Alicia Reese first meets her new patient, he is suffering a crippling panic attack in the bathroom of her office. Something about Lucas Ferro troubles her, but she takes him on regardless, sensing that assisting this man will in turn help her manage her own anxieties over the death of her husband.

In subsequent sessions, Lucas begins to reveal the reasons behind his panic attacks, leading to wave upon wave of increasingly worse revelations. Can Alicia balance her growing dread of her client with his need for treatment and her own professional ethics?

The Ninth Session is, quite literally, a psychological thriller and, despite being short at only 199 pages, Serani delivers a blinder. It appears to be her first novel, but the characters are fully developed and the story barrels along at a pace, apart from the parts where she describes being a Coda (Child of deaf parents) and American Sign Language, where it becomes more of a mini lecture.

My only bugbear with the novel was that the ending seemed rushed, as though maybe she had to keep it below 200 pages and was running out of space. Other than that, I thoroughly enjoyed the book, and will definitely be watching for more in the future.

I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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