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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Publisher: Three Things Publishing Company (January 29, 2017)
Publication Date: January 29, 2017
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
Affliction surrounds twenty-six-year old Seanna Burges, a paramedic who wakes up during a Zombie invasion. In a scene similar to your favorite Zombie movie, people are trying to get away from their now mindless neighbors who have been infected. Unsure of what’s going on, Seanna’s partner Rodney “Ronnie” Bowen arrives to explain to her what’s going on and the danger of going outside. Seanna isn’t trying to hear it. The phone lines are down and she has not heard from her boyfriend Graham. After going back and forth, the two eventually leave the apartment and fight off zombies on their way to Seanna’s car in true Walking Dead fashion.
I was excited to read this book. The amazing cover and professional production had me digging in. I enjoyed the beginning of this novel. It took off in true Zombie fashion, that is, right in the middle of the action. I like the way the author infuses her medical experience into the narrative. With the main character being a paramedic, it makes it believable and all the medic parts are on point and makes sense. My heart also sank for the elderly woman Ruthie who is 83 and have been bit by a zombie. If you are familiar with any Zombie movie / TV show, you know what that means. There is only a matter of time. Eventually, Seanna is bitten as well, rescued by SWAT and taken to a research facility but Seanna doesn’t die. This plays into the mysterious feel of the book as we anticipate why Seanna is different.
At this point, the novel slows down for me. Maybe it was meant to be suspenseful but the ambiguity wasn’t working for me personally. I was anxious to understand what was going on and why Seanna’s case was different from everyone else. The author spends a lot of time drip feeding us details and while I enjoyed the medical terminology, insight, and eventual revelations, Seanna’s time spent in the facility is uneventful, not completely but in the beginning. It made me feel like I was in the hospital with her and we really needed to get out and get on with our lives. There’s a lot of telling. I would have loved to know how Seanna felt (instead of being told) as she was experiencing these zombie-like feelings. As she battled the effects of being bitten. How did it feel to have undigested food, blood in the eye, and a dropping blood pressure?
Still, Affliction is an enjoyable read and recommended for fans of Horror and books with apocalyptic themes.
Byron brushed the lint from his uniform as he approached the home of his last client of the day. Walking up the steps he noticed the beautiful brick home in the well-groomed neighborhood. Must be HOA, he thought. Homeowners Associations had these rich white neighborhoods looking like no one lived in the houses and whoever lived in them certainly had no children. The grass is always a vibrant green and cuts in perfect lines, there is no trash on the sidewalks and although he saw dogs and cats, even their poop wasn’t visible. Damn. Byron knocked on the door and looked down at his paperwork.
The door swung open and a woman smiled back at him.
“Good afternoon ma’am my name…”
Byron paused, mesmerized. The woman’s skin was dark chocolate, her hair so silky black it looked fake, her lips thick and plush with a coat of the reddest lipstick he’d ever seen, and she wore those childbearing hips well. But none of that had anything on her eyes. The woman had the most beautiful blue eyes he’d ever seen. Strange against such cocoa butter skin. They had to be a contact lens. He could look right through them. He cleared his throat. A woman had never had him so caught off guard.
“My name is Byron Fisher with Guaranteed Insurance Co. We have you listed here as requesting a return visit.” Byron held up a hand. “I know. I’m not the guy from last time but you were on my route, so I thought I’d stop by and see which plan might interest you,” he smiled.
“Oh yes,” said the woman, her voice soft and delicate.
Damn, thought Byron, his manhood growing. He’d better get it together quick. The Khaki pants he wore today wouldn’t do much to hide the excitement. He cursed himself for not deciding on jeans.
She could hear his thoughts and smiled despite herself. She could see in more than one direction as she read Byron’s energy. Her eyes were cameras quickly processing the environment. They zoomed in on the car coming up the street, the lady walking her dog on the corner and the mailman who was late again. Even the candy wrapper in the cracks of the concrete. If she concentrated harder, she could make out the image of the child who left it there while waiting for the school bus to arrive.
Byron’s biography flashed against the screens that were her eyes. It told her he was single with no children and plenty of money to spend. He was also an orphan as a child and moved around a lot before enlisting in the military. After the army, Byron got into the Insurance business. Life never looked better. Well, almost never. The woman smiled. She saw his weakness too, his hurt.
He was in love once. Some detective woman he couldn’t have because she dated his friend. The woman’s eyes flashed. She was digging. The chief warned of digging. It required the use of too much energy, but she had to know. So, she dug, and her eyes were claws that pierced his skin for secrets. It was safe. At least now. He couldn’t feel anything. At least not yet.
Byron wiped at his brow, frowning at the sudden wave of heat on his face.
The woman smiled, the flashing red dots on the screen of her eyes signaling the passion emanating from the man in front of her. He wanted her. This would be easy. She stopped digging before he fainted in broad daylight. The chief wouldn’t have that again.
“So very nice to meet you,” said the woman. “I am sure we can find something that I like. Please, come in.”
Byron smiled as he walked into the home of the beautiful blue-eyed woman. He couldn’t believe his luck. Some women were easy. Maybe he’ll get her to sign off on more than just papers. He smiled and her blue eyes flashed, a smirk on her face as she closed the door behind him.
“SICK” is a psychological suspense novella surrounding a woman with a very sick husband who lives in a constant vacuum of life-threatening illnesses. The offspring of wealthy parents, John and Susan Branch married and settled into an affluent life that eventually dwindled after John took over his family business upon the death of his father. Soon, the family business plummeted and so did John’s health. Diagnosed with Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura, a complicated blood disorder, Susan is forced to take care of her ailing husband while trying to maintain a livelihood of basic necessity as a full-time medical clerk of a podiatrist. Immediately it is apparent that John’s illness is taking its toll on Susan who from the onset appears to neglect part of herself to be his full-time nurse.
“A marriage made in medicine, John’s and mine. He was the victim, and I, the slave to his diseases”. – SICK, Christa W.
As the story moves along, I started to notice something very unusual about John. His wife reads him books as he drifts off to sleep, feeds him baby food, sings him lullabies, and says that he’s a “Good boy”. If that’s not weird enough, John pouts, throws temper tantrums and whines like a three-year-old. I became annoyed at Susan’s inability to see the signs and felt sympathy for her sense of low self-worth. Eventually, I began to associate John’s behavior and his speech with that of mental retardation; surely this man couldn’t be serious. And as Suzie slaved to be his mother, wife, and nurse, I could not be prepared for the story’s ending. John, the progeny of old money, an Ivy League education, and a keen intelligence behind his eyes was far from a learning disorder. John Branch, the world’s most sick man, would turn out to be far sicker than I could have anticipated.
“The wealth, the disease: they were part of him.” – SICK
As I read this book I knew I wanted to give the author a four-star rating, but then I got to the end and it blew my mind so I had to upgrade her! I love the psychology of the story. How the persona and personal background of Susan and John helped me as a reader and as a person understand the outcome of this sad situation. There are people in this world who grow up with silver spoons in their mouths and yet they have no love. Whether that is self-love or love that wasn’t given to them as children, a lack of love can transform a mentally stable individual into a monster.
At the conclusion of the read, the author provides some very informative and educational information about one of the world’s least talked about conditions which I won’t mention here as I think that will give away the story. In any event, SICK is a must read.
Plot Movement / Strength: 5/5
Entertainment Factor: 4/5
Authenticity / Believable: 5/5
Thought Provoking: 5/5
Overall Rating: 5 / 5 stars
Be sure to grab your copy of SICK from Amazon today.
I have a treat for you! It’s been awhile since I’ve participated in #BeWoW and I am elated to discover that Ron has deemed BeWoW to be an acronym, not just for Be Wonderful on Wednesday, but also Be Writing on Wednesday! Whoop. He has also teamed up with my girl Colleen’s Writer’s Quote Wednesday. So, for this reason, today’s post is a two part Special where I combined both together. I hope my post is sufficient for both. Here’s a basic overview:
‘And that means “Be Writing on Wednesday to Be Wonderful on Wednesday and make the world a better place to visit.” You do this by sharing your inspirational and positive posts, books, poetry, even favorite get you movin’ music videos. You use #BeWoW as a hashtag on Twitter and as tag, if you like, on your post so people can find all of the offerings in the WP Reader if they want to go that route.’
That said, my positive blog share has to do with my finished book cover to the second edition of my novel.
In part two, I am revealing the cover to a novel I wrote three years ago. In 2012, I wrote my first novel, The Aftermath, a Sci-Fi Thriller. I have since taken it off market and have not added it to my website. I have taken it down because I am revising it and will be re-adding it to my collection under a new edition very soon. The cover design is by Clarrisa Yeo of Yocla Designs. Her work is amazing and I highly recommend her for your next project. (She is not accepting any new clients at this time but she has some great pre-mades ready to go) Below is the Book Cover Reveal along with some reviews I received from those who have read the book at its initial launching. (If you would like to receive a free PDF to review this book just send me an email. Please know you will receive an unedited copy as the revision is not finished). I am only revealing the cover at this time and not the entire layout, front and back. (Hey, gotta save something good for when it releases hee hee).
So, without further ado (please click on the image to see it bigger. The larger file wouldn’t show so I had to go medium) here’s what I’m writing this #BeWoW:
“I just finished the book. Excellent EC. When I got to Chapter 29-33, wow….I don’t want to spoil it for the others but you did a great job.”
– Annette, California
“This book holds great suspense! Love it! Excellent read, but this should be a movie! Highly recommended for all readers!”
– Vivian, Shreveport, LA
“Woooow! This book had me gripped from page one lol… I finished reading it a couple days ago… well done!! I thoroughly enjoyed it. …. stay obedient, encouraged, determined, motivated and inspired…”
– Abiyah, UK
“What a wonderful book. From page one I was hooked. Wonderfully written EC, It was an awesome book! For those that do not have it, it is a must read.”
– Constance, Fort Wayne, IN
“When is the movie coming out? The Aftermath is an action packed book, and I am just in the beginning.”
– Leahe, Detroit MI
To the Pearls Before Swine Bloggers website! Please see the “About” tab to get a better understanding of what this book (and blog) is all about.
In the meantime, I need you (and your friends) to SUBSCRIBE to this blog for a chance to win prizes, play games, gain further insight into the book by asking questions, post your reviews, and for a chance to read sneak peek excerpts into Season #2.
Writing is something that brings me joy, and that makes me happy regardless of the gain. But in addition to writing, I also like to have a lot of fun, and to inspire as many brothers and sisters as I can through innovation and creativity. In short, I really enjoy doing what I love, and what I LOVE is to engage my readers in games, activities, and contest whenever I come out with a book (for those that remember The Aftermath blog).
That said, I would really appreciate you SUBSCRIBING to this blog to get a better understanding of what this screenplay series is all about and for the opportunity to engage in open discussions concerning the gift of writing itself.
This blog will feature literature, articles, quotes, and poetry periodically. But for exclusive access to poetry please visit my sister blog @ ahouseofpoetry.wordpress.com.
Alrighty then people that’s it for now. In the meantime however, why don’t you walk on over to our new FACEBOOK PAGE, like it, and then come on back here and take a look around? We’ve worked hard to ensure a comfortable place here while you wait on more post, so take a look around and enjoy yourselves, we’ll be back shortly!