Rating: 5 stars
Fresh out of school, Dr. Crane takes on a new patient who both intrigues and unnerves him. Charming, manipulative, and amoral, Max has exactly the sort of mind Crane finds himself drawn to with fictional characters.
As Max weaves himself into Crane’s life, Crane realizes that while fiction might be safe, Max certainly is not.
When the professional line between them thins, who gets to define where one man ends and the other begins?
This work contains certain potential triggers including, but not limited to: mental health issues, substance abuse, sociopath/psychopath tendencies, violence, patient/therapist confidentiality issues, infidelity, extreme sexual acts between consenting adults, fatal attraction, manipulation, torture, murder.
When I saw that Bey Deckard had a new work out I giddily started to read it, not sure in which direction he was going with this, what with his previous works of Better The Devil You Know, and Sarge, and Murphy, and all of his other brilliant works, in my humble opinion, I wasn’t sure what I was in for, but it definitely wasn’t going to be a ‘palate cleanser’ book. No, I would need a palate cleanser after reading Max.
Max, for me personally, took me down the rabbit hole, figuratively, literally, and mentally. This book had so many triggers for me and it was so incredibly intense that I found myself reading it in bits, whilst alternating with two other books and an audiobook, just so I could get back into this work and do it the justice it truly deserves. This is brilliant writing, no two ways about it. Intense, twisted, depraved, and oh so brilliant! What a spectacular finish. I most definitely did not see that coming. Bravo, Mr. Deckard!
“The last tic in Max’s cycle showed itself as he scratched at the back of his neck and then lifted the peak of his battered old army cap high enough to show his squashed brown curls beneath it. Crane made another small dash in his notebook, feeling like he’d accomplished something by discovering the repetitive pattern of Max’s nervous tics. …
Reaching for the doorknob, Max threw a look over his shoulder. “I’ll do them all in reverse next week, just for fun,” he said with a wink. Then he was gone. Crane looked down at the page where he’d been keeping track of Max’s tics. He slowly tore it out of his notebook, crumpled it up, and threw it in the garbage. Looking out at the bright sun, he was struck with the urge to cancel his next appointment and bike home…”
Manipulative, handsome, highly intelligent Max is the personification of the textbook example of an extreme psychopath.
With a wealthy, connected stepfather and his enabling mother Max really has no wants in life. His only want seems to be how to get his next ‘kick’, regardless of who, or what, he destroys in the process. Sure, why not? It’s all part of life’s big game.
Dr. Dennis ‘Doc’ Crane:
“…you told me watching Silence of the Lambs was what inspired you. You told me that darkness and depravity drew you like a moth to a flame. You said you wanted to study evil and see if it held up to your expectations. Do you remember that?”…
“…Are you afraid of me, Dennis? You shouldn’t be. I’m trying my very best to make you understand that I like you. And I’m offering you the very thing you desire the most: me. You know I’m a fine specimen of amorality. I’m giving you the opportunity to look behind the curtain. No holding back.”
Dr. Crane, handsome Anglo-Canadian Dennis Crane, moves to Montreal upon graduating from university with his wife, Mary, who is a successful nurse on her own and starts working at a mental health clinic when he meets Max, one of his very first patients.
Doc is literally drawn to Max as a moth to a flame, circling, circling, ever closer to the burning inferno that is Max.
Max is a psycho-thriller tour de force that grabbed me by the throat, squeezing ever so slowly, pressuring and constricting my throat in that tantalizingly slow way until I saw those wonderful pinpricks of light and felt that delicious surge of sweet darkness start to envelop me. This is masterful, brilliant writing that drew me in and I couldn’t let go.
Doc Crane is drawn down the rabbit hole by Max, just like he secretly wanted to, and is taken into Max’s depraved existence where people are mere objects of pleasure to be used and discarded at will after Max has satiated himself with his mental orgasm. What Max does to/with Doc Crane and the way it is written is nothing short of a psycho-thriller masterpiece.
If you’re looking for a powerful, masterful, dark and twisted read then congratulations. It really doesn’t get much better than this. Few authors can evoke this level emotions and passions – and not necessarily ‘sexual’ passions, either.
I have but one word to say about the writing: flawless. The editing? Magnificent.
I don’t give many five star ratings and this is most definitely one of them. The characters are so well developed it’s incredible. Max took some serious research. Either that or there’s something about Mr. Deckard that we don’t know. Possibly both.
Max is the epitome of a psychopath/sociopath/user/enabler/abuser and Doc Crane is the embodiment of someone who is so completely drawn in he tells himself that he doesn’t realize where it’s all going, yet deep down inside he really does know. He feels it. Every. Single. Time. Yet, like the addict that he is, he keeps on for more.
The ending of this book is simply, deliciously spectacular. I didn’t see it coming to this ending. Brilliant. Taka a bow, Mr. Deckard.
I would like to thank Bey Deckard with providing OJ He Say! with a free advance review copy of his work in exchange for my honest opinion.
Artist, Writer, Dog Lover.
Born and raised in a small coastal town in northern Québec, Bey spent his early summers on his uncle’s boat and running wild on the beaches of the surrounding islands, lighting fires and building huts out of driftwood and fishermen’s nets. As an adult, he eventually made his way to university and earned a degree in Art History with a strong focus on Anthropology. Primarily a portrait painter and graphic artist, Bey sat down one day and decided to write about the two things that he felt most passionate about: sex and the sea. Bey currently lives in the wilds of Montréal with his best buddy, a spotty pit bull named Murphy.
MAX, THE SOUNDTRACK: