The endearing and unflappable Dr. Annick Boudreau regularly confronts a myriad of mental health issues in her psychology practice at the West Coast Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Clinic in Vancouver, British Columbia. But even Annick is stunned when Sanjay, a young patient who suffers from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, is arrested for the brutal murder of his roommate. While Sanjay is tortured by repeated violent thoughts, everything Annick knows about her patient and his illness has her convinced that he’s innocent. But the police and prosecutor are convinced that they have caught the perpetrator and aren’t interested in looking very hard. Unable to talk to the authorities because of doctor-patient confidentiality, Annick feels compelled to investigate on her own, finding herself drawn into the darker side of her postcard-perfect city in the process.
Primary Obsessions is the first book in a series of mysteries starring Dr. Annick Boudreau and involving themes of mental health. Author (and longtime CBT patient) Charles Demers deftly reveals a particular aspect of psychology practice in each book, illuminating shadowy subject matter with masterful sensitivity and sharp wit. Primary Obsessions is an engrossing page-turner and a refreshing reboot of the sleuth genre.
“In Primary Obsessions, Charles Demers captures the way that the pain of mental illness is made even worse by stigma and ignorance. This is a page-turning mystery that’s ultimately about trying to help our loved ones through their darkest days.”
“Dr. Annick Boudreau is an investigator with intelligence, compassion, and curiosity who never leaps to an early diagnosis. Demers writes sharp, witty dialogue and delivers a nuanced portrayal of the stigmatization of mental illness in collision with crime.”
“Primary Obsessions is a welcome addition to the accidental psychologist/detective genre. Dr. Annick Boudreau is a smart, caffeinated heroine whose reckless but earnest drive to save her patient from a murder charge makes for a fast and exciting read from start to finish … I look forward to her next case!”
“As the first of a projected series of mystery novels featuring Dr. Annick Boudreau, Primary Obsessions is a cracking good start. Boudreau is a likeable protagonist and mental illness is a subject surprisingly under-addressed by current mystery writers ... By writing a novel that revolves around relatively common Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, rather than some rare violent psychopathology, Charles Demers brings freshness to a literary genre that has been in danger of turning as ripe as a week-old murder victim.”