William Deverell — Novelist

The official website of William Deverell, Winner of the Dashiell Hammett Award for Literary Excellence in North American Crime Writing

Mind Games

mind games cover

This is a novel inspired by my deep interest in forensic psychiatry – indeed, I was on my way to a career in that field, with a major in psychology, before being diverted to the study and practice of criminal law. But my fascination with the mentally disturbed, the neurotic, the psychotic, the psychopathic, never left me, and was heightened by my thirty years of defending or prosecuting those suffering diseases of the mind.

A synopsis: Dr. Timothy Dare is a young forensic psychiatrist who works in Vancouver’s criminal courts. He is acutely neurotic, but has an uncanny ability to read people: their body language, their Freudian slips. He fears crowds, heights, enclosed spaces - he can’t even get into an elevator without falling apart - and he thinks a sociopathic killer is stalking him: a man just released from a mental hospital who has stabbed to death another psychiatrist. But is he just paranoid, as friends claim?

Tim’s life is disintegrating: his wife, the only woman he has loved, has just left him; his mother is being sued for libel over her portrayal of a serial killer in a horror book; he’s being hauled before a disciplinary committee because his practice is in disarray; a stunning but disturbed female patient is attaching herself to him romantically; someone is sending him notes threatening his life - and he himself is seeing a psychiatrist who, in exploring Tim’s inner turmoil, finds its source: his life has become defined by his unavailing search for the father he has never known. Under the guidance of Freudian psychiatrist Dr. Allison Epstein, Tim Dare gradually learns how to face the demons within – and those in the real world that are really out to get him.

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“William Deverell is well known for his erudite legal thrillers… His best novels combine the insider’s knowledge of the strength and foibles of the justice system with dense, complicated plots, great dialogue, and very human protagonists. In Mind Games, Deverell has turned his attention to psychiatry… Mind Games is an exciting story, well told. The characters are engaging, a sense of impending doom penetrates every page. Which threat is imagined, and which one real? Whose version of the “truth” is to be believed? Are characters deluding others, or just themselves? Mind games, indeed!” The Globe & Mail

“William Deverell has a knack for surprising his readers while giving them exactly what they want. Rather than fall into predictability over the course of his dozen novels (a tempting rut that attracts many genre writers), he has experimented with setting and approach, characterization and theme to such a degree that a new Deverell novel is always genuinely unexpected and unique. What’s common to all his writing is storytelling strength and a deft hand with characterization. His latest novel, Mind Games, is no exception. At its heart, this is a novel of character and growth within the context of violence and fear. The gradual dissolution of Dare’s marriage, for example, is as significant as the identity of the murderer.” Vancouver Sun

“When William Deverell is firing on all cylinders, as he is in Mind Games, he’s as good a crime-thriller writer as anyone on the planet.” Winnipeg Free Press

“Mind Games is a romp of a novel. It revs ever faster and faster. All the characters, even secondary ones, are fully realized, and irreverent humour abounds.” Kingston Whig-Standard

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