Book Review: Hello Again

HELLO AGAIN | Brenda Novak
10.03.2017 | St. Martin’s Press
Rating: 4/5 stars

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Hilltop, Alaska is home to the maximum-security prison known as Hanover House, which is the destination for some of the United States’ most deplorable criminals. Dr. Evelyn Talbot is the head psychiatrist working there and one of the founders of the institution. She works exclusively with the psychopaths housed in the facility. HELLO AGAIN brings Evelyn her most elusive patient yet, Dr. Lyman Bishop, better known as the Zombie Maker. Bishop is a recent arrival to the facility. He has gained his nickname of the Zombie Maker for his fondness of performing ice pick lobotomies on his victims. Immediately Bishop does not strike Evelyn as a psychopath. He is a man known for his cancer research and taking care of his mentally disabled sister. Has Bishop been wrongly convicted?

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So many psychopaths she studied pretended to be more than they were. Most weren’t smart enough to pull of the charade. Even those who’d gone years before being caught and punished for their crimes hadn’t done so because of any great intelligence. Often it was sheer luck, basic survival instinct or a lack of solid police work that got in the way. Or they looked completely benign – like Jeffrey Dahmer or Ted Bundy.

At the same time Evelyn works to better understand Bishop and the charges brought against him, she is forced to remember her past and what drew her to her profession. When Evelyn was sixteen her high school boyfriend, Jasper, kidnapped her, tortured her, murdered her friends, and left her for dead. Jasper was never caught thanks to the aid of his parents who tirelessly fought that he was innocent. Eighteen months ago Evelyn believes Jasper tried and failed to abduct her once again. Now another of her high school friends has turned up dead. Is Jasper back or is this some copycat killer?

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The men who commit murder for the sake of enjoyment are typically much more mundane. Even though I’ve met many dangerous men over the years, men who have committed stomach-turning atrocities, none has ever reminded me of Thomas Harris’s character. Until Lyman. He’s the only killer intelligent enough to elicit the association.

With such a complicated plot of multiple stories being unravel simultaneously one could easily worry that Novak’s novel would be hard to follow, however, this is not the case. HELLO AGAIN allows the reader a look into multiple character’s minds, all while effortlessly tying the stories surrounding Evelyn together. I loved Novak’s glimpses into Jasper and Bishop’s minds. They both gave me chills reading through the way they were thinking.

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He made me feel there is nothing I can do to stop him and others like him, which plays into my worst fear, she added to her notes. That what I’ve been through will be for naught. That what I’m doing, sacrificing Boston and the association of the family and friends I have there to live in this frozen wilderness, will, in the end, mean nothing.

The novel mainly focuses on Evelyn who is portrayed as a strong female lead who has been working to overcome an unthinkable past experience that continues to haunt her today. At times I questioned some of Evelyn’s actions or thoughts, but in the end I was happy with the way Novak evolved her novel’s star. HELLO AGAIN does have gory moments that may turn off some readers, but I don’t think it was anything over the top that you wouldn’t see on a TV show like Criminal Minds. Overall, I absolutely loved HELLO AGAIN and have already picked up book one in the series, as well the prequel. I look forward to learning more about Dr. Evelyn Talbot and the creation of Hanover House. Definitely add this book to your TBR when it comes out next month!

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Evil. Once again, Evelyn was reminded of Richard Ramirez’s words and the question that drove her: What made some people more evil than others? And why did those people enjoy inflicting pain on the innocent?

Thank you to Brenda Novak, St. Martin’s Press, and NetGalley for providing me a free digital copy of this book in exchange for my honest and unbiased review.

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