Saturday, July 7, 2007

When She Was Bad-Jonathan Nasaw

When She Was Bad
Jonathan Nasaw
Atria, Sept 2007, $25.00, 304 pp.
ISBN: 9781416534167

As a very young child Lily De Vries was abused sexually by both her parents so was given to her grandparents who loved and raised her. She developed disassociate identity disorder (DID) once known as multiple personality disorder. She is being treated by psychiatrist Dr. Irene Cogan who was kidnapped by another DID Ulysses Maxwell; he tortured her, but she was fortunate to escape because he raped and killed her as he did with most of his victims, strawberry blondes who looked like his sexual abuser his former elementary school teacher who got custody of him.

When Lily learns her grandparents were killed in an automobile accident she becomes a new alter: biker chick Lilith. Dr. Cogan and her friend Pen track her down and bring her to Alan Corder’s Institute where Ulysses is being confined. When he sees Lilly he falls in love but his alter Max comes out and is interested in Lily now Lilith. Both are deemed non-violent and are invited to Dr. Corder’s home for a party in honor of Ulysses’ birthday. The doctor thinks he is dealing with Lily and Ulysses instead of Max and Lilith; Max takes advantage of that misconception to get even with the doctor and to wipe out the two psych attendants before they go on the run. Irene and Pen hope to find them before Lily does something that will have her end up in prison.

Jonathan Nasaw provides a terrific psychological thriller with quite a spin in his latest, perhaps best work to date. Readers will feel sorry for the abuse the two protagonists suffered even though the audience condemns Ulysses’ actions. Readers and her doctor have hope for Lily because except for Lilith her egos are passive and don’t want to hurt anyone. Mr. Nasaw takes his fans to the max with the tense WHEN SHE WAS BAD

Harriet Klausner

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