Friday, November 15, 2019

#

The Ninth Session by Deborah Serani - Book Tour & Review


THE NINTH SESSION

Deborah Serani

* Psychological Suspense *


Title: THE NINTH SESSION: A PSYCHOLOGICAL SUSPENSE NOVEL

Author: Deborah Serani

Publisher: TouchPoint Press

Pages: 190

Genre: Psychological Suspense/Thriller





Dr. Alicia Reese, a recent widow and a CODA – a child of Deaf Adults,
takes on a new patient. Lucas Ferro reveals the reason for his
consultation is that he wasn’t really open with his previous therapist.
After gaining Reese’s trust, he shares aspects of his life that are
clearly disturbing – experiences that create anxiety and panic, but also
reveal horrifying psychopathology. Instead of referring Ferro
elsewhere, Reese chooses to continue working with him, feeling
reinvigorated by the challenge of his case.

As sessions progress, and Ferro’s disclosures become more menacing,
Reese finds herself wedged between the cold hard frame of professional
ethics and the integrity of personal truth – and learns just how far
she’s willing to go, willing to risk and willing to lose to do the right
thing.

★★★★★ORDER YOUR COPY★★★★★

Amazon → https://tinyurl.com/y6qz2sto

______________________




______________________





First Chapter
Session One
Monday, June 5



The light


slowly filtered in from the other room as I opened the door. This was the last

moment of the unknown, where two strangers meet and a life story begins.

Most


times, I've no idea which seat in the waiting room a new patient will choose.

Sometimes, though, I can make a good guess from the initial phone call.

Usually, the depressed patient, feeling weak with fatigue, sits in the first

seat available, whereas the anxious person, eager to feel relief, selects the

seat closest to the consultation room.

Not that


it really matters. There are only six chairs in my waiting room.

 “Mr. Ferro?” I rolled my neck around the


waiting room. Then checked my watch. Eight o'clock on the dot. Seeing no

one, I pressed my lips together. Did I make the appointment for eight or eight fifteen?

I left


the door ajar, walked to my desk, and re-checked my schedule. I slid my finger

down the Monday, June 5th grid in my appointment book to the eight o’clock hour, and there was his name: Lucas Ferro. He’d be my last

appointment of the night.
Okay, it’s for eight o’clock.
Maybe he’s running late.       

While I


waited, I reviewed my notes from my telephone conversation with Ferro. I opened

the crisp manila file and heard a shuffling, then a sputtering hiss of air in

the waiting room. I turned toward the sound, unsure of what it was.         A magazine falling on the floor?                                                                                                The

air conditioning shutting off?                                                                I

listened for another moment or two and, hearing nothing more, went back to my

desk.    My

office suite was a beautiful setting and one I didn’t mind spending so many

hours in. The waiting room, a spacious rectangle, was lined with several Ficus

trees and exotic plants, paintings from local artists, and burled wood

furniture contemporary in design. The thickly upholstered leather chairs were

caramel in color, and the teal-flecked carpet stretched from wall to wall. The

vaulted ceiling housed three skylights, flooding the room with an abundance of

natural light.   My consultation office was just as large, and there was ample

room for my desk, two chairs, and the proverbial psychoanalyst's couch–and of

course, an etched nameplate on the door: Alicia Reese, Ph.D. Psychologist.                                           Across

from the built-in bookcase was a long picture window overlooking Oyster Bay.

At this time of night, the evening sunset gleamed across the water, layering

the inlet with a silvery orange hue.   I

turned my attention back to the Ferro file, and I heard it again.

Thumping


movements.

Hissing


sounds of air.

Then


silence.

“What is that?” I asked aloud with growing


curiosity.

I'd been working in this building fifteen years and knew


all its creaks, thuds, and mechanical whirrs. But I couldn’t decipher these

sounds. They weren’t familiar.

I tapped


my pocket, confirming the presence of my panic remote. In all the years I’d

been in practice, I never found a need to use it.

I got up


from my desk and moved toward the door that led to the waiting room. An

emerging sense of uneasiness took hold. I heard a hollow voice say something I

couldn’t catch and then trail off.

I jolted


forward, took out the panic alarm, and held my thumb on the button, ready to

send the signal. I entered the waiting room but saw no one.
Again it happened.
The bang of something hitting the ground.
Then a rush of air.

I focused


my vision on the sounds, turning my gaze toward the far right corner of the

reception room.
The darkened bathroom.

I walked


in willed steps toward the nearly closed door. Drawing in a deep breath, I

opened it all the way with a poke of my index finger.

There,


standing against the corner wall, was the shadow of Lucas Ferro having a panic

attack.

“The


tile...it’s cool,” Ferro said, breathing raggedly like a drowning swimmer.

Hissing


sounds of air.

“It’s


okay, Mr. Ferro.” I followed his frenzied movements with my eyes. “I’m gonna

step away and give you some room.”

I flicked


on the bathroom light as I moved away. As the room brightened, I saw Ferro's

face. It was sweaty and chalk white. His black hair flopped in wet patches

across his forehead, and his eyes were narrow slits of blue. His body moved in

spasms, halting and then starting again.

Ferro


tugged at his shirt collar as he drew in rapid breaths. Watching him, I felt

the anxiety leave my body and the return of my clinical posture. This was a

crisis, and I went into crisis mode.

“I want


you to listen to my voice as you take in a deep, slow breath.”

 Ferro lifted his shoulders, straightening


himself from the stooped position against the wall. His knees bent several

times as if unable to bear his own weight. Then, all at once, his body buckled

toward the sink, but he anchored his two hands on the porcelain base to steady

himself. As he drew in a series of deep breaths and huffed them coarsely

through his mouth, his feet wobbled and slapped the tiled floor.

Thumping


movements.

“You’re


doing great,” I said. “You're gonna be just fine.”

Soon,


color began to return to his face.

“I want


you to slow your breathing even more. Like this.” I modeled the technique for

him.

Ferro


followed my instructions and formed a slower breathing pattern, ending the

hyperventilation that gripped him. Bit by bit, he raised himself to a solid

standing posture. A self-conscious impulse took over as he saw his reflection

in the mirror. Ferro slicked back his hair with his fingers, smoothed his

clothing, and blotted the sweat from his face with a swipe of his arm. Then he

smiled at me weakly.

The


crisis was over.

As he


found his way back from this acute attack, I realized there was no longer a

need for me to be holding the panic alarm. I tucked it back into my pocket. I

waited for what I thought was a good moment to ask my very first question.

“Can you


move out of the bathroom?”

Ferro


nodded his head and walked toward the reception area. Upon moving into the

waiting room, his eyes sought my approval to sit down.

“Yes, of


course,” I said.

He


slumped into the chair and tilted his head back against the wall. I moved a few

seats away and waited for him to find a sense of balance.

In the


long stretch of silence that followed, I studied him in sidelong glances,

trying not to be obvious. He was young, probably mid-to-late twenties, and his

dark blue eyes glowed with intensity. He was dressed in a green and white

Abercrombie & Fitch shirt. There was a moose logo on the left chest pocket.

His slacks were washed in a dark tan hue, and he wore no socks with his deck

shoes. On his wrist, a flash of gold—a watch with chunky links. He was

vulnerable right now, but as the panic faded, I noticed he was muscular in

build. And tall. Six feet or more.

We


remained quiet in the room for a while. I was always good with silence. It was

a comfortable experience.

“I’m


worried you won’t be able to help me,” Ferro said finally. His voice was dry,

cracking slightly.

“What


makes you say that?”

He was


silent as he regarded me. I wasn’t sure if he was trying to find the right

words or still seized by panic. The silence stretched as he continued looking

at the ceiling, occasionally rubbing his hands over his eyes and face. He

cleared his throat several times, fighting the dryness.

“Let me


get you some water,” I said, getting up. I filled a paper cup with cold tap

water in the bathroom.

Ferro


drank it down in one large gulp. He crumpled the cup and rolled the shapeless

form between his hand and fingers.

“Been in


therapy before. Nothing’s helped,” he spoke again.

“But


you’re here tonight. Something made you feel hopeful.”

Ferro


said nothing but shifted restlessly in his seat. I gave him a few moments

before leaning forward to talk again. Just then, he stopped moving altogether

and turned his gaze toward me. It was a searching look, and at that instant, it

was as if he was seeing me for the first time.

"I


guess... I’m hoping you can help me.”

“How


about we move into my office?”

A beat


later, Ferro nodded.

Wanting


him to find a level of comfort, I avoided unnecessary words or actions as he

made his way into the consultation room. He walked and sat in a nearby chair.

He drew in a few deep breaths trying to get comfortable, but it felt like he

could take flight at any moment—leaving the session altogether.                          “I’m

not exactly sure where to begin.”                                                              “Why

don’t you tell me how long you’ve had these attacks?” It seemed a good starting

point.

“About


two years.”

My eyes


widened. “A long time.”

“Yeah,”


Ferro replied.

“Any idea


why they happen?” 

“It’s


–uh—it's complicated.”

“Complications


are my specialty.”        

Ferro


laughed and sat back a little further in his chair.

"Tell


me about your work with Dr. Karne," I asked, giving him another place to

start. Dr. Paula Karne was a well-regarded psychologist who practiced cognitive

behavior therapy in Great Neck.

“Saw her


for a few months, y'know, trying to stop the anxiety."

"What


kinds of things did you work on?"

"Changing


how I think, replacing bad habits with better ones. Stuff like that."

"I


see."

Cognitive


behavior therapy focuses on in-the-moment issues and how to change them to find

greater well-being. Though I worked differently than Dr. Karne, my goal would

be the same: to help the patient feel better.

Ferro


cleared his throat and spoke again. "I wasn’t always totally honest with

her, though.”

“How do


you mean?”

“Didn’t


exactly tell her what was really bothering me. Thought I’d just go there and

learn how to control things. That’s all I really wanted anyway.”

“To control


the panic on your own,” I said, reframing his thoughts.

“Yeah.


But I know I gotta be more open. That’s why I decided to try again.”

“Being


honest is important in therapy.”

Silence


came down like a curtain, and we lingered in its folds for a while.

"Why


do you think it was hard to be more open with Dr. Karne?" I asked him.

"Well,


she doesn't really work like that."

"True,"


I eased back in my seat. "She works just with the behaviors you have. She

doesn't get into the nitty gritty things like emotions, memories."           

Ferro


nodded in agreement.

“Well,


what’s honesty mean to you?” I asked when it was clear he wasn’t going to speak

again.

“Showing


all the cards, I guess. Talking about things I don’t wanna share.”

“And


feeling things."

Ferro


nodded. "Makes me feel weak.”
“How so?”

“I really


don’t like needing other people.”

“Dependency


makes you feel weak?”
“Yeah.”

"Have


there been times in the past where needing others wasn’t easy?” This was a

gentle probe to move him deeper into his thoughts. Ferro said nothing, shutting

down by looking away. Sensing I might be moving too quickly, I shifted my

approach. “We can talk about those kinds of things at a later time.”                                           “It’s hard to just open up to someone you

meet.”

“I get


that.”

Keeping


track of time, I checked the clock on the end table where Ferro sat. The

session was nearing its end. So much occurred and yet so little was done to

obtain a formal clinical interview. 

“We have


just a few more minutes. How about scheduling another appointment?”

“Uh,


okay,” he said, handing me the shapeless cup.

I took it


from him, wondering why he hadn’t placed it in the trashcan himself.

“How


about seeing me on Wednesday?”

“Twice a


week?” 

“Actually,


I was thinking three times a week.”

            Ferro glanced out the window and then raised his eyes to


mine. As he did this, he shrugged his shoulders. "All right."                                                                        We’ll look at why you're feeling anxiety, explore your

early childhood, your connections to others.”                                                                                      Ferro nodded.                                                                                                  “Do you know much about Psychoanalysis?”                                                     A little. Dr. Karne talked about it.”                                                                        “We’re going to explore your thoughts, feelings, and

behaviors, but in a deeper way.”                                                                                                                            The

unconscious.”                                                                                                       Yes,” I said, pleased he was familiar with the term. “These

techniques will help us kick your anxiety to the curb."                                                                         I'd like that.”                                                                                                   How does seven o’clock

work for you?”                                                                         Ferro nodded. I picked up a pen and filled in the Wednesday, June 7th slot. Taking an

appointment card from the holder on my desk, I completed his name, the time,

and the date. His eyes seemed glued to my every movement.                             Here you go,” I said as I held out the card.We have to stop.”   That’s it, then?”                                                                                                           For now.”       &nbspThe arc of the

session went from one extreme to the other. Lucas

Ferro walked into my office at his worst and left seemingly in control.                                 See you Wednesday, Dr. Reese.” Ferro paused, looked at me,

and extended his hand.  nbsp; Many

classical analysts hold back from any form of touch in sessions. I was a modern analyst, and incidental touch wasn’t

something taboo to me.                   See you Wednesday,” I said and met his hand with my own.                                   His grip was firm and tight.



 


My Review
The Ninth Session is a pretty interesting psychological thriller that will keep readers on their toes.
The story is written in "sessions" as the main character, Dr. Alicia Reese, takes on a new patient and starts to uncover his secrets and earn his trust. After each session, Dr. Reese details her thoughts about her new patient and how she plans to proceed. There are also chapters that detail her life outside of work, including visiting her deaf sister, interacting with her neighbors and their foster children, and remembering her husband who passed away.
As the title suggests, everything comes to a head in the ninth session, and boy, oh boy, it's a doozy. I won't spoil anything about what happens, but it definitely is intense.
There are quite a few twists within the pages of The Ninth Session, and that one close to the end...
I can honestly say that even though this book seems like a straightforward sort of thriller, it goes in a direction I wasn't quite expecting, and that's what made it enjoyable and exciting. I found myself second-guessing things as I read on, and then I started second-guessing my second-guesses.
It's an entertaining read, to be sure, so if you're a fan of suspense novels and/or psychological thrillers, you'll want to give The Ninth Session a whirl.
4.5 stars!


______________________









Deborah Serani is an award-winning author and psychologist who has
been in practice for thirty years. She is also a professor at Adelphi
University and is a go-to media expert for psychological issues. Her
interviews can be found in Newsday, Psychology Today, The Chicago Tribune, The New York Times, The Associated Press,
and affiliate radio programs at CBS and NPR, among others. Dr. Serani
has also been a technical advisor for the NBC television show, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. The recurring character, Judge D. Serani, was named after her.

★WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS★


http://www.pumpupyourbook.com

No comments:

Post a Comment