Title: Family Medicine: A Psychological Suspense Thriller Author: Natasha Jeneen Thomas Publisher: Newham Wilcott (October 8, 2021) ASIN: B0992VHVWH Publication date: October 8, 2021 Print length: 340 pages
Family Medicine is a psychological thriller with many twists, turns, and a healthy dose of suspense. With vivid description and detail, we meet Therese Hughes-Baldwin, an aspiring dancer who works at a cafe. She is offered an escape to a beach house mansion by her favorite customer and psychiatrist Dr. Dara Clemens. When she and her best friend Phoebe make it to the house, things start to get weird. First, there are no pictures in the place, and Phoebe is acting strange. The story alternates between Therese and Phoebe’s experiences at the ocean-view getaway (including Therese’s romance with a man named Tomas) and an unbalanced oral surgeon named Victor.
As the story progressed, I wondered how the two threads were connected, as I knew they had to be, and I kept turning the page to see how it would all play out. I was especially drawn to Victor’s thread in an attempt to understand his behavior. What is with this man fantasizing about killing someone and dressing up in women’s clothes as a disguise? Victor even self-abuses himself as punishment for not thinking through a stakeout that ultimately got him questioned in one scene.
The truth of how everything is connected will blow your mind. While I can’t give away much more detail, I will only say that everything you think you know, including the little I’ve told you, you don’t know.
I also felt so bad for character Summer being arrested as she was menstruating. It made me think of how people don’t understand what women have to endure in these situations. I felt humiliated for her and I am sure all of my women readers will understand.
I did think there was a tad bit too much description of minor details throughout the book, but I assume that’s because nothing is as it appears to be! I did find myself going back to the beginning, and as I reread some scenes, I could see the ending.
This is the novel for you if you are looking to read a book full of mystery, suspense, and a psychological thrill that will keep you guessing until the very end. Speaking of the end, I suspect the author is working on another part of this. You’ll understand what I mean when you read the book.
Please help me extend a warm welcome to Natasha Thomas.
Welcome to the PBS Blog!
What is your name and where are you from?
My name is Natasha and I’m from Daytona Beach, Florida. I’ve been living in the metro Atlanta area for the past 11 years.
Cool beans.Are you employed outside of writing?
I am! I have worked as a psychiatrist for eleven years. I treat depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, ADHD, and psychotic disorders. But my specialty areas are posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and peripartum mood and anxiety disorders. Those are disturbances in mood that happen during pregnancy or in the postpartum period.
Over the course of doing this work, I’ve learned the postpartum period is much longer than the six weeks women are usually taught to consider postpartum. I walk with women through their entire pregnancies and at least the first year of their baby’s life to make sure they adjust well and their mental health is supported.
I start treating people at age 15 and have patients in their eighties!
Wow! You are doing such important work.
Now, I just finished binge-watching this (I’m late to the party), so you know I gotta ask, with you being in Atlanta and in the medical space…
…are you a fan of Married to Medicine, and have you met any of the women from the show?
So funny you asked about Married to Medicine! I’ve never met any of the ladies. But being a psychiatrist, I have met and share patients with Dr. Lunceford (Quad’s husband). He works at a local inpatient facility. So at times when patients aren’t doing well and have to be hospitalized, they’ve been under his care. During those times, he typically reaches out to me so we can collaborate on their outpatient treatment after their hospital discharge.
In addition, Dr. Damon Kimes (Dr. Heavenly’s husband) is an absolute joy to share patients with. He is extremely compassionate to the mental health needs of his patients that also have issues with pain management. Having the opportunity to collaborate with local docs is one of my favorite things about building a medical network here!
That is so cool! See, I knew I was watching that show for a reason, lol. And Chile, they fight like real sisters, and the shade!
Any siblings Natasha?
I technically am an only child. I have a very close cousin and very close friend. They have been my “sister” and “brother” since I was two years old. They were both raised as only children, too. So, though I grew up without siblings at my home, I have never really felt alone.
That’s precious. Speaking of growing up, what was your childhood dream?
When I was six years old, I developed a strong interest in biology. And this came from reading the children’s encyclopedia series my parents ordered for me. The last book was a guide for parents to understand their children’s health. It was the most interesting part of the entire series to me. But interestingly, I decided in fourth grade that I would attend Yale Law School. I have no idea where that aspiration came from. That lasted a few years, but science just continued to interest me so much that I began to consider medicine around age twelve if memory serves me correctly. By the time I was getting ready to attend college, I started feeling the pull to write. My mother and father encouraged both – but medicine first!
I was a very daydreamy and quirky child. So, from that angle, I had dreamt of doing everything from finding Smurfs in the tree in my backyard to oddly wanting to become a maternity model in the JC Penney’s catalog. That’s the most bizarre realization I’ve ever had about my childhood dreams! Oh goodness.
Lol. That’s what we want to hear! We want you to dig deep. What’s your favorite color?
Green. Kelly green to be exact!
Nice! Favorite food?
I am a true seafood lover. Fish, shrimp, scallops, lobster, crab – I mean, I could just go on and on. My favorite meal, altogether, would be white rice, with fish and collard greens. Interestingly, I was told that was the exact favorite meal of my grandfather, who passed away before I had the chance to meet him.
I love that about genetics. How we could inherit a trait from family outside of our mothers and fathers.
You mentioned the pull to write, so let’s go there. What genre do you write and why?
I write psychological suspense. I guess, with what I do for a living, it’s not all that mysterious why I have chosen that genre. I’m fascinated by the human mind. Absolutely. What happens to the psyche through one’s life story is incredible, and nothing intrigues me as much. Whether I’m reading, writing, or watching movies or TV, suspense and thrillers with a psychological component are always my favorites. I think we learn a lot about ourselves that we may not want to express when we consume thrillers and suspense. They give us an opportunity to look at our moral compasses and question what, if any, absolute truths we hold.
I love the education your are giving us right now. Do you blog? Does blogging help with writing?
I actually feel like it’s the reverse for me; writing helps me blog. I started a mental health blog called Hope Grove in 2018. It was inspired by the cool work I get to do with my patients, and many of the questions they ask me. I figured if they had these questions, others would as well. That’s especially true for those who, for whatever reason, do not have access to mental health care. And even though the questions drive my blog postings, sometimes I would feel it required a real push to finish a topic.
I have found that writing a post has flowed much easier since I’ve been working on my novel. I think that’s because I’ve been working with a different part of my brain, my imagination, and that tends to mobilize me in general. I also am an intermediate level Haitian Kreyol speaker. I have found my use of the language drastically improved since I’ve been writing my novel. It makes sense but I wasn’t expecting that to happen!
Why is writing important to you?
Oh, that’s a big question. Writing is my outlet. But it is also the way that I take all my life’s experiences and distill them down into bite-sized pieces that I can process and understand. Just like everyone else, I have pain, regrets, doubt, successes, joy – so many emotions to turn over and over in my head. Writing helps me do that in a healthy way. And to turn some of my life lessons into a story that benefits myself and my readers is a gift. The writing of others is also massively important to me. Through the work of greats like Toni Morrison, Maya Angelou, Edwidge Danticat, and Nikki Giovanni, I started to see writing as a window and a healer. Can you imagine a world without it? I’d certainly rather not!
I love it.
In your own words, what is love?
Love is honesty – honesty that allows you to see yourself and grow into your highest potential.
Thank you, Natasha, for spending this time with us.We enjoyed you!
Natasha Jeneen Thomas is a Florida-born psychiatrist and psychological suspense writer. She has spent the past eleven years in private psychiatric practice exploring the individual and collective story and the power of perception. Witnessing life from the vantage point of the human psyche’s inner workings, Natasha sees the state of the world as a reflection of the stories we tell ourselves – and allow ourselves to believe.
Natasha earned a Bachelor of Science from Spelman College, studied medicine at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, and completed residency training in psychiatry at the University of Maryland and Sheppard & Enoch Pratt hospitals. In 2010, she moved to Metro Atlanta to work as an outpatient psychiatrist and has the continued honor of providing clinical care as owner & CEO of Hope Grove Psychiatry, PC. When she is not doctoring or writing, she enjoys her family, home, or corner of the couch.
Therese Hughes-Baldwin arrives in Boca Raton with hopes of joining the most prestigious dance company in South Florida. But instead of finding ballet success, she suffers an embarrassing heartbreak and takes a boring barista job. She also inadvertently gains the attention of the woman who stalks her on every train ride she takes.
When Therese’s favorite café customer, Dr. Dara Clemens, offers an escape to her beachside mansion, Therese can hardly say “yes” quickly enough. With her suitcase in hand and best friend Phoebe by her side, she heads to the Clemens’ oceanfront getaway. The home is gorgeous. The beach is, too. So is the stranger Therese gives her number to at the bar.
But there are voices in the vents. And there are people who stare. And Therese faces a sinking feeling that something is hauntingly off about Phoebe’s behavior. As Therese questions the motivations of those around her, she opens the door to a reality she never thought she’d find.
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