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Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Group by Lynne Turner - Book Tour & Review

  


An insider’s look at what goes on in the mind of a psychotherapist and in the secret lives of his clients…



By Lynne Turner

Title: GROUP
Author: Lynne Turner
Publisher: Friesen Press
Pages: 101
Genre: Mystery / Crime Thriller



Dr. William Osgood, a Beverly Hills psychologist, must make a quick decision. Seventeen-year-old Loretta, his most troubled patient, has just fainted on his couch, and his Thursday night group is about to arrive. Knowing that allowing Loretta to stay is ethically murky and potentially perilous to the group’s dynamic, Dr. Osgood begins to consider what might happen once Loretta opens her eyes. He feels that Loretta will be safe – but even the good doctor can’t possibly predict the results of his decision.

Loretta, as it happens, has come to be Dr. Osgood’s patient under somewhat mysterious circumstances. Her story rivets the six members of Dr. Osgood’s weekly group, who themselves struggle with inner demons and life conflicts; when a bigtime talent agent is shot, the doctor recognizes that each of the group’s members may have had a motive. These psychological twists and turns – as well as Dr. Osgood’s own as he copes with a bitter divorce and downsized

lifestyle – pave the way for the captivating story told in the debut mystery GROUP, by Lynne Turner. The thriller’s author knows her subjects well: she herself is a psychotherapist in Beverly Hills, and deftly weaves the lives and maladies of her characters with elements of mystery and surprise, set against the backdrop of the fringes of Hollywood and Beverly Hills.

“None of the characters in the book are based on my actual clients. However, the many compelling cases in my work, along with my deep love for Los Angeles, inspired me to write GROUP,” explains Turner, a lifelong fan of mystery writers. “My years of practicing psychotherapy have enhanced my ability to create characters that readers experience as real people, as opposed to caricatures.

“What is underscored in GROUP is the discrepancy between outward appearance and the actual genesis of one’s dynamics and one’s pain. In writing it, I wanted to give readers a ringside seat inside a therapist’s office and allow them to ‘hear’ the intimate details of each group member’s life, as well as to give them the rare opportunity to hear a therapist’s internal dialogue and witness his private life.”

Equally authentic is the geographic setting Turner provides, in part because another of her passions, Los Angeles street photography, gives her a literal close-up view of the city and its denizens.

“The many cultural references drawn from life in Southern California are, on the surface, funny and absurd,” Turner notes. “However, they also reveal a great deal about the values and aspirations of many Americans. The social injustices are gently exposed with humor and compassion. I’d like to think readers will be entertained, especially in these troubled times.”

By book’s end, not only is the mystery solved, but the characters – psychologist and patients alike — have grown and begun to heal, and a romance has bloomed. “GROUP is indeed a story about a particular group,” Turner says. “However, the word ‘group’ accrues meaning as the story develops. It demonstrates what can be accomplished with group effort, strength and understanding.”






After the group had left, there was an eerie quiet. Even the wheezing of the cleaning crew’s vacuum cleaner had ceased. The doctor opened one of his desk’s secret compartments, which was empty save a single glass and a bottle of Johnnie Walker Black. He poured himself a generous double. His lips surprised him. They trembled as he took his first horrid swallow; the second one went down easier. He could see the Hollywood sign from his office window tonight. The Santa Ana winds had cleaned up the city. It was now flooded by an amber wash that was so devastatingly beautiful his throat tightened unexpectedly. 

— GROUP (p. 54)















MY REVIEW
Group is a short read that seems relatively simple, but in all honesty is so much more than that. I have to say, I rather enjoyed how this was written, and how it all played out. 
The story follows Dr. William Osgood as he comes to terms with the fact that his life is no longer as lavish as it once was. Stuck in a tiny, cramped apartment after a divorce, Dr. Osgood and his three-legged cat Batman have to make the most of their new normal. Add in the doc's teenage patient Loretta, and his Thursday night therapy group filled with adults who have their own issues, and things get a bit interesting. 
When Loretta passes out on William's couch right before his group shows up for their Thursday night session, William has to make a choice: does he let her stay or not?
Even though the story itself is pretty short, it packs a punch. Each character from the group has a little bit of backstory about why they're there, and this sets the precedence for uncovering the "whodunit" mystery involving another character who ties a few group members together. 
And that ending... so good! While I can't say I was too surprised by the reveal, I was thrilled that William was able to hold his own and not cave/give in. He's tougher than he seems.
If you're looking for an intriguing mystery novel with some terribly flawed characters, check out Group.
4 stars!



Lynne Turner is a psychotherapist in practice in Beverly Hills, California, where she has practiced for over 30 years. She grew up on the East Coast, in the aptly named seaside town of Point Pleasant, New Jersey. After earning her Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature from Montclair State University, she moved to Los Angeles, where she earned her Master of Science degree in psychology at California State University, Los Angeles. In addition to her practice and her writing, she is a Los Angeles-focused street photographer, which has afforded her the opportunity to take a closer look at the human condition from yet another perspective. She lives with her daughter and two dogs in the Hollywood Hills. Visit her WEBSITE or connect with her on INSTAGRAM.







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