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A Tightly Raveled Mind

Kirkus Reviews
A cunning, elegantly written comedy of manners in the form of a murder mystery in which a psychoanalyst finds her wealthy clientele dropping. Literally… The police believe these deaths to be accidents or coincidences; and since Nora, being a dedicated Freudian, believes in neither, she seeks help from an ex cop–turned–private detective named Mike Ruiz, whose sneering contempt for Freud seems to be shielding his own private demons. You’d think being in a world populated by such tightly wound neurotics would get dreary or annoying, or both. But Lawson, herself a San Antonio–based psychoanalyst making her publishing debut, makes the journey a pleasant one with a witty, assured narrative style that renders both physical and emotional scenery with economical astuteness and grace… Remember how amazed Norman Mailer was after reading George V. Higgins’ first novel that a member of “the fuzz” could write so well? Well, let it likewise be asserted of Lawson: This shrink can really throw it down.
A cunning, elegantly written comedy of manners in the form of a murder mystery in which a psychoanalyst finds her wealthy clientele dropping. Literally.

Freudian analyst Nora Goodman carries a caseload that one presumes is a representative sample of the upper tier of San Antonio society, from a taciturn chemistry instructor unhappily married to an oil heiress to a polymorphously perverse doctor to an embittered divorcée taking out her lifelong resentments on Goodman—who has her own issues, starting with a manipulative, patronizing psychiatrist husband, two rambunctious children and some unresolved feelings toward her dead parents. The last thing Nora needs is more tsoris. But that’s just what she gets as, one by one, the people in her appointment book meet sudden, violent ends. The police believe these deaths to be accidents or coincidences; and since Nora, being a dedicated Freudian, believes in neither, she seeks help from an ex cop–turned–private detective named Mike Ruiz, whose sneering contempt for Freud seems to be shielding his own private demons. You’d think being in a world populated by such tightly wound neurotics would get dreary or annoying, or both. But Lawson, herself a San Antonio–based psychoanalyst making her publishing debut, makes the journey a pleasant one with a witty, assured narrative style that renders both physical and emotional scenery with economical astuteness and grace. The way the story ends makes you think there’s the barest chance Nora and Mike could continue their spiky relationship into another novel. And why not? If San Antonio can support a pro basketball franchise with five championships, it certainly deserves a classy crime-solving tandem staking a claim for the city in the mystery genre.

Remember how amazed Norman Mailer was after reading George V. Higgins’ first novel that a member of “the fuzz” could write so well? Well, let it likewise be asserted of Lawson: This shrink can really throw it down.
- September 15, 2014  Visit Website
“Lawsons’ insight into the mysteries and witchcraft of psychoanalysis─the lying on the couch kind of therapy─combined with her extraordinary writing skills make this a novel I could not put down. A Tightly Raveled Mind is a one-of-a-kind debut.” —Abraham Verghese, Cutting for Stone
Publisher's Weekly
“Lawson puts her professional experience as a psychoanalyst to good use in her engrossing debut, which melds an unusual mystery plot with insights into the inner world of a psychotherapist.”
“Lawson puts her professional experience as a psychoanalyst to good use in her engrossing debut, which melds an unusual mystery plot with insights into the inner world of a psychotherapist. Although psychoanalysis 'is not and has never been the fashion in Texas,' Nora Goodman manages to run a successful San Antonio practice on the grounds of her ex-husband’s childhood home. Early on, Nora warns the readers of what will come: 'The Monday that my patient, Howard Westerman, blew himself to kingdom come started like any other workday.' The circumstances of her patient’s death in an explosion at his chemistry lab cause Nora to wonder whether she bears responsibility for the tragedy if, in fact, Westerman took his own life. When the police refuse to take seriously her suspicion that someone murdered the man, she turns for help to a PI, Miguel Ruiz, who has little use for Freud. Strong characterization and prose more than compensate for an unsatisfying ending.”
- August 18, 2014  Visit Website
“The classic film noir of the 1940s capitalized on the similarities between psychoanalytic sleuthing and the more earthbound work conducted by flatfoot detectives. In this engaging account of a Texas psychoanalyst’s nightmare, Diane Lawson revives this connection as she deftly interweaves crime-solving and psychoanalytic understanding of unconscious mental life in an absorbing read that will keep the reader turning pages long into the night. She is a master storyteller and an astute observer of the human condition. Fasten your seat belts!” —Glen O. Gabbard, MD, Author of The Psychology of the Sopranos
“A wonderful debut, vivid and wry, luminous with detail—and an insider’s knowledge of what transpires on the psychoanalyst's couch.” —Domenic Stansberry, The Confession
A Tightly Raveled Mind is a taut, lively, unconventional, surprising mystery—and it is beautifully written.” —Robert Boswell, Tumbledown
A Tightly Raveled Mind is simultaneously exciting, hilarious and insightful. Diane Lawson combines a smart mystery, insights into psychoanalysis, and an assortment of outrageous, yet strangely sympathetic, characters. This book is a blast.” —David Liss, author of The Day of Atonement
"A gifted writer and consummate psychoanalyst, Diane Lawson provides a unique and exciting insider's view of the contrasting minds, moods, and motives of an anxious clinician and a cynical detective as they join forces to solve a murder mystery. " —Stuart Yudofsky, Author of Fatal Flaws: Navigating Destructive Relationships with People with Disorders of Personality and Character.

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