I have a terrible habit of talking about the characters in a book as if they are people that I know. I met a psychologist on my bike trip to Alaska and talked to her about her profession and patients based on what I had recently read in a novel, Lying on the Couch, by Irvin D. Yalom. She was most gracious.
In my defense, the author is a practicing psychologist, so in theory this novel is based on some facsimile of reality. Luckily, I was restrained enough to not mention to Gayle that I was getting all my insights from a novel!
It's a great read, too. It's a whodunit thriller that spans the exotic worlds of high finance and the mafia, as well as the surreal worlds of manipulative wives and romantic interludes among patients who meet in the waiting room between sessions.
It's the story of Ernest Lash who is a very real man, in addition to being a gifted psychologist. He is single and often distracted by the women near him, as well as constantly analyzing the situations as they unfold. That inner monologue adds luster and dimension to the events of the novel. I found myself cheering for Dr. Lash, even as one of his patient's wives, a very successful litigator, fakes her way onto his coouch in an attempt to seduce him. Once he makes a move on her, she plans to sue, and bring him down. This is her revenge on what she sees as Dr. Lash's role in her abused husband's bold move to finally assert himself and leave her.
It's a great first novel by someoen who clearly has a gift for language. It also shows great empathy for the characters - and the world.
For anyone who loves mystery, as well as fast-paced, modern-setting fiction, I recommend Lying on the Couch, by Irvin D. Yalom.