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The Mask of Sanity por Jacob M. Appel
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The Mask of Sanity (edição 2017)

por Jacob M. Appel (Autor)

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14352149,126 (4.43)2
"On the outside, Dr. Jeremy Balint is a pillar of the community: the youngest division chief at his hospital, a model son to his elderly parents, fiercely devoted to his wife and two young daughters. On the inside, Dr. Jeremy Balint is a high-functioning sociopath--a man who truly believes himself to stand above the ethical norms of society. As long as life treats him well, Balint has no cause to harm others. When life treats him poorly, he reveals the depths of his cold-blooded depravity. At a cultural moment when the media bombards us with images of so-called sociopaths who strive for good and criminals redeemed by repentance,The Mask of Sanity offers an antidote to implausible tales of evil gone right. In contrast to fictional predecessors like Dostoyevesky's Raskolnikov and Camus' Mersault, Dr. Balint is a man who already has it all--and will do everything in his power, no matter how immoral, to keep what he has."--Amazon.com.… (mais)
Membro:hazeleyeflgal
Título:The Mask of Sanity
Autores:Jacob M. Appel (Autor)
Informação:Permanent Press (2017), Edition: 1st, 256 pages
Colecções:A sua biblioteca
Avaliação:*****
Etiquetas:Nenhum(a)

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The Mask of Sanity por Jacob M. Appel

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Mostrando 1-5 de 52 (seguinte | mostrar todos)
This is a cunningly crafted novel about your not-so-typical serial murderer, a successful Jewish cardiologist. As the story unfolds, the reader begins to sense and feel dismay at the lack of empathy in Dr. Jeremy Balint, who can best be described as a sociopath. A bizarre part of this novel was when this murderer was asked by his rabbi to do a mitzvah (a good deed). Begrudgingly, the doctor did so. The hypocrisy of this doctor’s life increases as the story moves forward. This serial murderer is continually being lauded for his ethics. Come on!

An unusual novel in a genre I usually either can’t follow or don’t enjoy, this story was unusually engaging to me. However, there was one small part of this book that I felt was a bit cringe-worthy. It was Balint’s reactions to work he was doing on behalf of medical clinics for poor blacks. At one point, he made a black-face joke. Although it was in part of a conversation in the book and nothing I heard aloud, I had a very knee-jerk upset reaction to it. It made me angry, actually. I wish it hadn’t been part of this book although I’m aware I’m reading fiction.

This book was published in 2017. The prologue to this book was spot on. The author had no idea how prescient his words would be. You’ll have to read what he wrote and ponder it before proceeding to read this novel.

A prescient line from this book was “by this time next year, we’ll be sitting in this office, watching that Choker fellow on live television”. As I write these words, live television is presenting (although I’m not watching) the trial of the police officer involved in the death of George Floyd. What a sad coincidence.

In all, I enjoyed the experience of reading this book. The segments were just the right size. The characters were obnoxious enough to be believable. The hypocrisy of the the protagonist’s life was a tale unto itself. The Jewish references either made me cringe or laugh (“Boker tov!”). The story itself was direct and fast-moving, allowing me to proceed through the story without being bored at any point. The story is carefully constructed. All of Jeremy’s detailed plans are laid out in a way that the reader is made to feel a part of the whole plan!

I think my husband would also like this story so I’m saving this book for him to read next. ( )
  SqueakyChu | Mar 30, 2021 |
The Mask of Sanity was the fifth Jacob Appel book I read through the Members Giveaway. As with his other novels and collections of short stories, this book was well-written and interesting. The characters were well-developed and the story kept me engaged throughout. As a fellow medical person, I always enjoy Dr. Appel's references to medical topics. I look forward to reading more of his work in the future. ( )
  gelatocartman | Dec 19, 2019 |
I was provided with a copy of this book by the publisher.

I have enjoyed all the books by Jacob Appel, but this is my favorite so far.
It kept me rapt from start to finish. I don't believe in giving too much information about a book in reviews to prevent spoiling the book for others.

It's a story of a doctor, turned killer, and the extent to which he goes to deter the authorities from himself. As he gets sicker, his life gets better and better. Things keep working out in his favor. It makes you think about when is karma going to strike.

Mr. Appel ends the book in the most ambiguous way, which really makes you wonder what is next for this character.

I loved the book from start to finish. ( )
1 vote hazeleyeflgal | Dec 18, 2019 |
I couldn't finish this... as much as I wanted to... it bothered me a lot. I made it to page 134 and had to stop. Let me start by saying that I absolutely love reading books about serial killers so that is not why I didn't like this book. This doctor trying to be a serial killer was way off the mark so much that it disgusted me to continue reading it. I literally hated the main character. What I don't understand is the method to his madness. FIrst he kills an elderly couple.. that didn't bother me too bad. It got worse when he killed a child (wtf)! Oh and then he was going to kill a priest but couldn't because of the video camera outside the church. A priest?!? The only reason he is killing people is so he can kill the guy who is screwing his wife. I had to stop when he was looking for his next victim in the obituaries... meaning killing someone who literally just lost someone. Nope nada. Oh and on a side note a girl drowns in his pool and he don't care and when the father of the girl beats him up... he is mad they didn't arrest the father... REALLY? I'll go back to reading his short stories to get over this book. No stars.
  booklover3258 | Nov 15, 2019 |
*I received a copy of The Mask of Sanity from the Members Giveaway program in exchange for an unbiased review. Be cautioned, plot spoilers may follow.*

I have read a few of this author's books now, and each book I read seems to have more meat, more substance to it, than the last. This one, however, might be a difficult one to top. Psychological hangover is the best way I can describe this book. lol I requested the book because I was interested in seeing exactly how the sociopath rose to the surface in such a prominent figure, but I ended up getting in over my head. While it was obvious our main character was definitely a sociopath at best and toeing the line of narcissistic psychopath at worst, it was so much more subtle, so much more gradual than I expected it to be, that when I was done I was left questioning myself. lol I was so deep into the unfolding of the plot and seeing how it all came together that I didn't even immediately notice the effect it was having on me. I read the term 'psychological hangover' somewhere online shortly after finishing Mask of Sanity; somebody was trying to describe the emotion in having to unplug after reading disturbing or psychologically dark material, and that describes this book perfectly. It was a dark one, but almost deceptively so and in that, the book shone...despite my mental health deteriorating for a short period afterward. lol

As Balint descended further into his sociopathic ways, more of his true nature became revealed through his thoughts and actions, but balancing them with the mundane things kind of worked as a salve for those darker moments....until the murders started. That is actually what I think caused the unraveling, not the discovery that his wife was being less than honest. Making the jump from 'maybe someday could be a killer' to 'definitely a killer' was probably where the veil came off, for both Balint and the reader, and as he leaned more into the latter description it felt more genuine, as though we were finally seeing the real Balint. But strangely, even as I grew more disgusted with him, I grew equally intrigued by how far he was willing to take things, what he was actually willing to do. One thing I enjoyed was that I kept waiting for that breakthrough moment, that moment that Balint rediscovers his humanity, and in a way it seemed like Balint was waiting for the same thing and surprised himself by coming to the realization that he didn't really have any. As that mask fell off for himself, you could see it through the change in his thoughts, the quick ease with which he thought things that previously he hadn't entertained. The biggest reason I thought that breakthrough moment would come was because of the amount of time it even took Balint to get his revenge on the person who'd set off the entire chain of events. I thought somewhere in there he'd grow indifferent, bored with the plot he'd crafted, and go on with Delilah. I think in making that underestimation of Balint's character, it revealed the true depths of Balint's sociopathy and allowed everything else to transpire, which I really enjoyed. Despite that though, there were still moments that, if you're on the more moral side of the story, you end up siding a bit with Balint. I actively hated him by the end of the book, but I still felt a moment of comeuppance on his behalf when he moves on from his rather cold wife. The irony, huh? I like when a book makes me question my loyalties and identify with characters who, even for a moment, make me sympathize with them just a little and Mask of Sanity did that a few times.

I'm usually irritated by books that end on cliffhangers for a number of reasons but the primary one is that they're usually books in a series and the cliffhanger ending is always done to entice the reader into purchasing the next book. It feels a little disingenuous to me, especially in books that can be read as standalones. The Mask of Sanity is a standalone that also ends on a cliffhanger, but I think I preferred this type of ending for the book rather than one that wraps everything up in a neat little bow. Just as the reader and Balint descend into the depths of sociopathy and quiet madness together, nobody really knowing where the bottom of the hole is, Balint and the reader are also both are left wondering, "Who knows?" And I'm okay with not knowing, with not having the book completely wrapped up. While I think a sequel could possibly be pulled off, I actually think the meat of the story was told in Mask and works better by leaving the reader with questions and their own imaginative endings for Balint. I don't have any large complaints with the book. It was told extremely well, the characters were fleshed out enough and there was really nobody (save for Delilah) to really root for; the main characters ran a short gamut from morally ambiguous to completely depraved and that was a nice change. The story unfolded at a pace that made sense for the events that took place and to give the reader a good look at Balint's changing state of mind, and it ended in a way that avoided a stereotypical ending by leaving it rather open-ended. I say rather because once you read it, only one name really comes to mind as to who could have possibly put everything together. There are a couple of others who could possibly know something, but one main name popped up for me. But nothing is ever confirmed, so we're left with our suspicions. I enjoyed The Mask of Sanity a lot...clearly. lol

Thank you to the author for allowing me to read and review a copy of this book! ( )
1 vote mandygirl.10 | Oct 29, 2019 |
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Killing, Balint discovered, was the easy part.
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Too often, literature encourages us to
imagine these amoral villains as dwelling along the margins of society, clinging to the lowest rungs of the economic ladder...Only recently...has the public become aware that many amoral individuals lurk in the highest echelons of power, be it business, law, and even in medicine. They are all around us, smiling and perpetrating evil.
“You’re among friends.”
That was rich.  One of these “friends” was sleeping with the woman’s ex-husband and the other was planning to kill him.
Even if Gloria Picardo hadn't looked like she’d hired the Ghost of Christmas past for an image consultant, the pickings were slim among eligible bachelors at the hospital.
...Bonnie Kruger...wore an odd, kimono-style robe and a bright crimson hat. Her outfit looked a bit like casual wear for the Pope—-if the Pope had been Japanese.
That was the cruel reality that lurked beneath life’s surface: everyone was expendable.
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"On the outside, Dr. Jeremy Balint is a pillar of the community: the youngest division chief at his hospital, a model son to his elderly parents, fiercely devoted to his wife and two young daughters. On the inside, Dr. Jeremy Balint is a high-functioning sociopath--a man who truly believes himself to stand above the ethical norms of society. As long as life treats him well, Balint has no cause to harm others. When life treats him poorly, he reveals the depths of his cold-blooded depravity. At a cultural moment when the media bombards us with images of so-called sociopaths who strive for good and criminals redeemed by repentance,The Mask of Sanity offers an antidote to implausible tales of evil gone right. In contrast to fictional predecessors like Dostoyevesky's Raskolnikov and Camus' Mersault, Dr. Balint is a man who already has it all--and will do everything in his power, no matter how immoral, to keep what he has."--Amazon.com.

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