On his way to jail to certify the sanity of a homeless man accused of murder, Dr. Frank Klevenger listens to a B-52's CD and snorts cocaine as he drives from the handsome seaside town of Marblehead to the urban decay of Lynn, Massachusetts. So much for mental health. But Keith R. Ablow, a practicing psychiatrist himself, quickly shows us why Dr. Klevenger is so good at his job: his own personal demons give him an unusual understanding of troubled minds, which lifts this debut thriller to an insightful and exciting level.
Frank Clevenger is a forensic psychiatrist who hates authority, fears intimacy, uses sex as an aesthetic, is tortured by his professional mistakes, and can't free himself from the shadows of a brutal, alcoholic father and an absent, unfeeling mother. But it is precisely this injured psyche that allows him to understand the deranged behavior of the mental and emotional outcasts who cross his professional path.
As Denial opens, all of Clevenger's understanding and expertise are put to the test: He has been asked to rubber-stamp the mental competence of a homeless schizophrenic who has confessed to a particularly grisly murder. As evidence of a shocking series of murders begins to mount, Clevenger will be forced to confront his own most terrifying and powerful demons.