Ballantine, Feb 2002, 25.00, 576 pp.
Though kind of frightening in content, widowed New York psychotherapist Dr. Frederick “Ricky” Starks does not think anything will happen when he receives the threatening anonymous letter of revenge for medical neglect. That is until Rumplestiltskin takes his first victim. Rumplestiltskin simply gives Ricky an ultimatum. Over the next two weeks till his fifty-third birthday Ricky can try and guess the identity of the avenging angel while one by one fifty-two people close to the doctor will be destroyed or Ricky can end the game with a suicide.
Because he feels in control and to add to his amusement, Rumplestiltskin provides clues to his identity and answers yes or no questions about himself. Ricky tries to solve the case, but his dilemma turns worse because Rumpelstiltskin has taken control of his finances and insured a sexual abuse charge is filed. Then there is his adversary's employees, Merlin the lawyer and Virgil the female guide to Hell to attack Ricky's mental stability. Faced with the impossible, Ricky flees to gather himself together for a final effort to turn the tables on his deadly foe or die trying.
Though needing a stretch of acceptance with how the characters play out their roles, readers will be hooked from the bottom of page six when Ricky opens the letter. Fans will enjoy observing the triad destroy Ricky's ordinary life and how he fights back to regain some balance of a normal life. THE ANALYST is simply a fun thriller that though predictable demonstrates John Katzenbach's ability to entertain his audience.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner