THE PUZZLE OF PATIENT 815A. A beautiful young woman with amnesia lies in Ward 8 of Ellis Hospital, remembering nothing about where she was driving when her car plunged over a cliff - or of the identity of the dead child in the backseat. Naming the anonymous patient Mathilde, Nurse Adele Monsarrat calls on her psychiatrist ex-lover to help the crash victim recover her shadowed past. Yet someone is determined to keep Mathilde silenced as a threatening presence infiltrates the dark hospital halls. Outside in the community, four people are brutally murdered in what apppears to be professional hits. The police uncover disturbing connections between the victims and Mathilde, forcing Adele into a hot zone of terror, where ruthless violence spreads like a disease no doctor can cure.
EXCERPT FROM PARADOX:
"...'Mathilde?' Adele took a step closer to the bed and froze. It suddenly occurred to her that Mathilde was not there and that she had left - climbed out the window and escaped by the fire escape. She wouldn't be the first Ward 8 patient to depart using that route.
'Mathilde!' She raised her voice in a sharp command. Her hand came in contact with the bed, her eyes focusing on the rumpled, haphazard sheets and blanket. Behind her was a scraping sound and a breath. The hair on the back of her neck stood up as she crouched and swung around at the same time.
In the shadow of the bathroom, Mathilde's body was dangling, feet off the floor, her neck wedged at an odd angle in the crook of a muscular arm. The man's hand was so tightly pushed against her mouth and nose that her eyes were forced almost shut.
Seeing Adele, Mathilde kicked backward, slamming her bare foot into his knee joint. There was a sound and then a stifled cry. The man flung Mathilde aside as if she were a rag doll and sprang forward, head-butting Adele in the center of her chest.
The force of his hit knocked the wind out of her and paralyzed her throat. Falling back against the side table, she grabbed at the patient call light, pulling it out of the wall. Alarms went off loud enough to wake the dead..."
"...It was the same for Nelson's doggie shrink, Dr. Nutt with whom Nelson had a standing quarterly appointment. After all, animals went postal, too: one day little Rex is a sweet cuddly doggie, and the next -boom! - he's bringing home somebody's face between his teeth.
This visit, Dr. Nutt probed Nelson's 'unhealthy' attachment to his Mickey Mouse rug. For the first fifteen minutes they played in the sandbox with the rug, then they took a hot tub together - with the rug, and then, still dripping, Dr. Nutt gave the labrador a massage, moving the rug, inch by inch, out from under him.
Nelson was no fool. He let the man massage and knead right up to the last quarter inch of rug when he growled and showed his teeth as a warning.
No fool himself, Dr. Nutt backed off and left Mickey rug alone.
The advice was always the same: doggie Prozac. Meat. Twenty-four-hour-a-day companionship. They were, Dr. Nutt swore, the only cures for Nelson's various personality idiosyncrasies..."