Jeff Resnick, an out of work insurance investigator, walks home from a pub in New York the night before starting a new job when he gets mugged and beaten very badly in L.L. Bartlett’s Murder on the Mind. Diagnosed with brain damage, Jeff finds himself moving to Buffalo with his older half-brother, Richard, a well-regarded medical researcher who has inherited over $50 million and taken an early retirement from his work in California. But soon he begins to notice changes in his emotional state and has recurring dreams that adjust in their perspective. After Jeff finally gets the courage to tell his brother about these dreams and other experiences that seem unusual, Richard’s longtime partner, Brenda, points out that these dreams resemble a murder from the day before that appears in the day’s newspaper. This leads to Jeff’s chasing after the murder of Matt Sumner, who was shot with an arrow, had his insides ripped out, and was moved to his own garage.
Not allowing Jeff to drive, Richard ends up getting involved in the case too, though skeptically at first. But gradually Richard comes to question whether maybe there is something to Jeff’s claims, finally becoming a true believer when Jeff leads the pair to an open field where the insides are buried beneath a foot of snow. Jeff knows from almost the beginning who committed the murder, but it will take work to find any proof and convince the police.
In the midst of all this, Jeff comes to bond with the much-older brother he hardly knows, and he even meets a woman with whom he goes out three times. The pair become truly a team, and Richard and Brenda are also able to begin to mend the relationship that has suffered ever since their move to Buffalo from California.
This book is very well written. The details of Jeff’s development of his psychic abilities come across realistically, while Bartlett’s depictions of the characters portray them well. One detail in particular that impressed me is the depiction of Jeff’s extreme migraine pain related to his concussion injuries. The way the light serves as a weapon and the description of Jeff’s “hugging the porcelain god” sound exactly like what I myself experience regularly with my migraines, and the terminology used to describe the experience is commonly used by those in the migraine support community. I really commend Bartlett for her excellent portrayals of migraines.
Steven Barnett does a fantastic job of narrating this book. He makes the book enjoyable to listen to and creates believable voices and depictions of the narration. His performance was truly excellent.
I came to Murder on the Mind with fairly low expectations, selecting it because I have really enjoyed the other books by L.L. Bartlett, who also publishes under the names of Lorraine Bartlett and Lorna Barrett. I knew that the book is harder core than her other two series available on audio, which are cozy mysteries, but I hadn’t realized that it was about a man with psychic abilities, a feature I usually most emphatically do not enjoy. However, I got deeply drawn into this book and couldn’t stop it. I give this book four stars!
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