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Book Review   |    
Roger Peele; Maryam Razavi
Psychiatric Services 2006; doi:
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by Charles Atkins; New York, St. Martin's Press, 2005, 342 pages, $24.95

Dr. Peele is clinical professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at George Washington University, Washington, D.C. Dr. Razavi is a resident in psychiatry at George Washington University.

Hannibal Lecter, please give some space to Ed Tyson, so he can join you on the stage of evil psychiatrists! Tyson's personality is filled with antisocial traits, fanaticism with attaining a Nobel in medicine, and obsession with revenge for being spurned by a woman at a medical school party, called the Cadaver's Ball. All this makes Dr. Tyson very lethal. Mystery abounds in this thriller, because people have been given an amnesic agent that leaves the reader bewildered as to who did the killings until late in the book.

The Cadaver's Ball is the third novel of Charles Atkins, a psychiatrist in Connecticut and also a writer of short stories, essays, and editorials. In The Cadaver's Ball, Atkins gives readers clinical descriptions of people with borderline personality disorders, schizophrenia, posttraumatic stress disorder, and alcoholism, and he provides descriptions of psychiatric emergency room work, psychiatric wards, and residency training.

The book has a fast pace, and characters often make their conversational point in a single sentence. Even though the story is set in New York City, one or two degrees of separation, not six, gives the key characters interpersonal motives that don't require the author to slow his pace to take time to describe why the three dozen people we meet in this book act the way they do.

The Cadaver's Ball should thrill readers who have a psychiatric background or who expect good to overcome evil.

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