“In Palumbo’s riveting third Daniel Rinaldi mystery (after 2011’s FEVER DREAM), answers prove elusive as the murders begin to pile up. Palumbo ratchets up the stakes in this psychological thriller, but maintains the emotional complexity…” --- Publisher’s Weekly

Feathered Quill Book Review of Night Terrors

A third book featuring Pittsburgh psychologist, Daniel Rinaldi is headed our way this spring and this reviewer is thrilled to be one of the lucky people to read it first. The title is Night Terrors by Dennis Palumbo. And it is chock full of terror on almost every page.

In the latest installment of this mystery series, Dr. Rinaldi is invited by the FBI, somewhat reluctantly, to treat one of their recently retired profilers. After a stellar career looking inside the heads of serial killers, Special Agent Lyle Barnes is missing a lot of sleep and is having horrible dreams. He dreams about these killers and how they tormented their victims and then wakes up screaming each night. Dr. Rinaldi is trying to get the agent to talk about his years as a profiler and try and remember what he went through in the capture of these criminals. This is not an easy job as the agent is in the cross hairs of an admirer of serial killers who is advertising the fact that he will kill everyone who had a hand in the capture of a recent killer (Judge, Jury and Executioner) and has started to do just that. To make matters worse, Agent Barnes goes on the run and the police and FBI are trying to find him before the killer does.

Dr. Rinaldi is also involved in a case of a young man who is accused of murdering a local businessman. His mother says that he is innocent and, even though the man has confessed, she is adamant about her son being set free. So, Dr. Rinaldi tries to help her prove her son is blameless even though he thinks that the man might be guilty. Dr. Rinaldi is beginning to think that these two cases are linked and both cases are becoming difficult to handle.

As usual, I really liked this book and it was a one-day read. After knowing Dr. Rinaldi for a while, it seems that he is getting a little over confident in the fact that he is good at his job and thinks that he is always right. In his defense, he usually is. Also, this installment is much more gruesome than the previous books.

Quill says: This particular story is lacking some of the humor that the others in the series had, and is also rather grisly in places. It might make an extremely good Quentin Tarrantino movie. As an admirer of Tarrantino, I still have to shut my eyes in some of the scenes in his movies. Good luck with Night Terrors and we will be looking forward to the next installment. 


Things Famous to Pittsburgh: Mister Rogers' Neighborhood

Mister Rogers' real neighborhood is Oakland, home to WQED in Pittsburgh , the first public television in the country and the "Neighborhood of Make Believe."

Fred Rogers with a model of the "neighborhood" of the show that made him famous.

Mister Rogers' Neighborhood began airing in 1968 and ran for 895 episodes; the last set of new episodes was taped in December 2000 and began airing in August 2001. At its peak, in 1985, 8% of U.S households tuned in to the show.[4]

Each episode began the same way: Mister Rogers is seen coming home, singing his theme song "Won't You Be My Neighbor?", and changing into sneakers and a zippered cardigan sweater (he stated in an interview for Emmy TV that all of his sweaters were knitted by his mother).

In a typical episode, Rogers might have an earnest conversation with his television audience, interact with live guests, take a field trip to such places as a bakery or a music store, or watch a short film.

Typical video subjects included demonstrations of how such inanimate objects as bulldozers and crayons work or are manufactured.

Each episode included a trip to Rogers' "Neighborhood of Make-Believe" featuring a trolley with its own chiming theme song, a castle, and the kingdom's citizens, including King Friday XIII. The subjects discussed in the Neighborhood of Make-Believe often allowed further development of themes discussed in Mister Rogers' "real" neighborhood.

Mister Rogers often fed his fish during episodes. They were originally named Fennel and Frieda.

Typically, each week's episode explored a major theme, such as going to school for the first time.

Originally, most episodes ended with a song entitled "Tomorrow", and Friday episodes looked forward to the week ahead with an adapted version of "It's Such a Good Feeling." In later seasons, all episodes ended with "Feeling."

The Girl with the Evil Psychiatrist

Why are male therapists now portrayed as villains in movies and on TV?

Two iconic images, from two classic films: in Now, Voyager, kindly therapist Claude Rains walks in the garden with troubled patient Bette Davis. He's paternal, insightful and obviously knows what's good for her.

In The Three Faces of Eve, psychologist Lee J. Cobb helps Joanne Woodward parse out the three distinct personalities tormenting her. Like Claude Rains before him, he's a model of the patriarchal culture, a clinician of unquestionable motives and unimpeachable authority. One of the good guys.

Now, flash forward 40 or so years, to The Silence of the Lambs, in which Anthony Hopkins plays Dr. Hannibal Lecter, a psychiatrist with an unusually carnivorous interest in his patients. Or anybody else crossing his path, like that poor census taker who once knocked on his door. ("I ate his liver with some fava beans, and a nice Chianti.")

More recently, in Stieg Larsson's "Millennium" trilogy (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played with Fire, and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest), we have evil psychiatrist Peter Teleborian. Not only does he sexually molest adolescent Lisbeth Salander while she's under his care, he's also addicted to Internet kiddie porn.

Which begs the question: How did we get from Claude Rains to Hannibal the Cannibal, from Lee J. Cobb to Peter Teleborian?

Because, with rare exceptions, that's where we are. Look at how male therapists are now depicted in mainstream Hollywood films. Instead of being shown as caretakers, they're portrayed as troubled, sexually predatory, even psychotic: in the past two decades, we've had Bruce Willis in The Color of Night, Richard Gere in Final Analysis, Robert DeNiro in Hide and Seek and Brian Cox in Running with Scissors. And of course, as mentioned above, the wearily omnipresent Dr. Lecter, in The Silence of the Lambs, Hannibal, Red Dragon and, most recently, Hannibal Rising.

Things aren't much better on the small screen. On TV shows like Law and Order: SVU, The Closer and CSI, a male psychologist or psychiatrist is as likely to be the bad guy as any garden-variety contract killer or spurned lover.

Of course, as a former screenwriter myself (now a licensed psychotherapist), I know enough to be skeptical of Hollywood's notion of any profession...but still, I can't help wondering what's going on.
What makes this trend even more irksome is the contrast with the predominant depiction of female therapists on-screen: in recent years, we've had Barbra Streisand's Dr. Lowenstein in The Prince of Tides. Lorraine Bracco's Dr. Melfi on The Sopranos. Carolyn McCormack's earnest Dr. Olivet on the above-mentioned Law and Order franchise. And, just this past year, Julia Ormond as Vincent D'Onofrio's therapist on L&O: Criminal Intent, as well as Callie Thorne as a sports psychologist on USA's Necessary Roughness.

(In some attempt at balance, I guess I should mention Birds of Prey, the short-lived superhero series of some years back, in which Mia Sara played an evil female psychiatrist named Dr. Harley Quinn. Grandiose, homicidal, the works. Then again, what else would you expect of the Joker's girlfriend?)

Don't get me wrong. There have been the occasional positive portrayals of male therapists on film and TV: Judd Hirsch in the Oscar-winning Ordinary People. Robin Williams in Good Will Hunting. And, to cite Law and Order again, J.F. Simmons' wonderful, testy police consultant, Dr. Emil Skoda. Not to mention Gabriel Byrne in HBO's In Treatment, playing a therapist who, though certainly flawed, ultimately has his heart in the right place.

But these are clearly exceptions. The question is, why? What happened? How did the on-screen image of male therapist go from father figure to the most likely suspect?

Maybe this change simply reflects one that's occurred in the culture at large. After all, the past fifty years has seen a challenge to the whole idea of male authority. In terms of image, professors, doctors and scientists of the male persuasion have suddenly gone from being saints to sinners. Same with male therapists. No wonder today's TV and film writers find them irresistible as villains. All that education, respectability and power, turned to the Dark Side.

But it wasn't just society's growing distrust of male authority that turned Lee J. Cobb's gray suit and pipe into Anthony Hopkins' face muzzle and leather restraints. There was also a trend, starting in the 50's, of popular films that threw extremely cold water on the notion of psychological treatment as a positive tool to alleviate suffering. Films like The Manchurian Candidate (and its recent remake), The Snake Pit, and One Flew Over the Cukoo's Nest all suggested the nefarious ways that psychology could be exploited or used for evil, often conflating its concepts with those of brain-washing and drug-induced manipulation.

Even such recent films as A Beautiful Mind depicted the horrendous misuse of electro-convulsive therapy -- at the hands, of course, of a cooly assured, unfeeling male psychiatrist. (As opposed to its somewhat benign use in the series finale of Showtime's Homeland, in which Claire Danes' sister, a kindly psychiatrist, looks on with concern.)

Let's face it: the world's a pretty treacherous, confusing place nowadays. Our most sturdy institutions -- government, the church, education -- traditionally headed by men, seem to be letting us down. It's no different with psychotherapy. Fairly or not, I believe the way in which male therapists are portrayed on screen reflects a similar disenchantment with both the profession in general, and its male practitioners in particular.

Which is why, when I started writing a series of mystery novels (Mirror Image and its sequel, Fever Dream), I wanted my amateur sleuth to be a therapist. Flawed, yes. Psychologist Daniel Rinaldi is certainly that. Troubled, stubborn, and with a temper. But someone trying desperately to make a difference. To help others on the path to healing, even if only as a way to come to some kind of peace himself.

My point is, if Daniel Rinaldi's mission as a therapist is to treat those crippled by trauma, I guess one of my goals as a writer is to help resuscitate the image of the mental health professional. Particularly male. Particularly in today's harsh, cynical world.

Because nowadays, much like Catholic priests, the male therapist suffers from the failed expectations of a disillusioned public. He's been transformed, regrettably, into just another stock character -- our distrust and suspicion buffed to a stereotypical finish by the narrative demands of TV and film.

So now, to the hallowed celluloid images of "tough" private eye, "brilliant" physician and "ruthless" attorney, we can add the unethical, manipulative and frequently homicidal male therapist. Coming to a theater -- or TV screen -- near you!

Hmm. Sounds like we could all use a walk with Claude Rains right about now...

Notable Authors, both past and present, who have called the Pittsburgh area home

“The Mysteries of Pittsburgh” – Michael Chabon

Though not officially from Pittsburgh, Michael Chabon is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh and wrote his first novel using well-known and loved landmarks as the backdrop for his story. “The Mysteries of Pittsburgh” is the story of a recent college graduate who’s father is a member of the mafia. The plot follows the main character and friends as the Pitt grad searches for answers about his father’s past. The novel is a mystery, but finding a copy for yourself won’t be. Published in 1988 and an instant bestseller, you can get your own copy of this novel at the fabulous, independently-owned Mystery Lovers Bookshop in Oakmont. 


Historic Pittsburgh - Photo Gallery

Blooming Mill at Jones & Laughlin
ca. 1885
Frederick T. Gretton Photographs, 1857-1953, MSP 328, Library and Archives Division, Senator John Heinz History Center
Senator John Heinz History Center
Blooming Mill Engine at Jones & Laughlin
August 2, 1886
Frederick T. Gretton Photographs, 1857-1953, MSP 328, Library and Archives Division, Senator John Heinz History Center

PITTSBURGH: The Steel City in Transition

Senator John Heinz History Center
Old Soho Furnace
ca. 1876
Jones & Laughlin Steel Corporation Collection Photographs, 1864-1953, MSP 33, Library and Archives Division, Senator John Heinz History Center
With the publication of my novel, Mirror Image, a lot of people have asked why I set the mystery thriller in Pittsburgh. My usual, somewhat facetious answer is that New York, LA, San Francisco, Chicago and Miami were all taken.

The real answer, apart from the fact that I was born and raised in Pittsburgh, is that my home town provides the best setting possible for a contemporary novel, and for the most obvious of reasons: it represents what is happening to many cities throughout the country. At least, the ones that are struggling to survive the transition from the 20th to the 21st century, from an industrial and manufacturing-based economy to a digitial and information-based one.

When we think of eastern cities, we think of Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Cleveland and Detroit. Burly, muscular cities whose very foundations were laid by immigrant men and women, hard workers whose daily toil fueled those cities' economic engines.

Pittsburgh was an exemplar of that depiction. With the accent on was. Famous for its steel mills and factories---and for the resultant smoky air and soot-coated buildings---the Pittsburgh I knew as a child has undergone a renaissance in the past thirty years.

For example, the seventeen miles of steel mills that once lined its converging rivers are no more. (I remember them well; for two summers during my undergraduate days at Pitt I shoveled coal into the blast furnace at J&L Steel on Second Avenue, popping salt pills to stave off dehydration.) Moreover, with the arrival of software companies and the proliferating financial institutions, the downtown has sprouted shining new towers and off-loaded many of its older, WW-II era structures. And the air is pretty clean and soot-free.

What makes Pittsburgh an interesting phenomenon is the way it's handling this transition. Not that it hasn't been, nor continues to be, rocky. Nor without its casualities---primarily blue collar workers and their families. What Billy Joel sang about in "Allentown" is true for most of Pittsburgh's small outlying communities and cities whose survival depended on the steel and coal industries. Even at the newly gentrified core of downtown Pittsburgh, the Steel City itself, what new steel there is---embedded in freshly-poured concrete---is imported from Japan.

But, like it or not, in today's economy---let alone today's global marketplace---eastern industrial cities have to change or die. Pittsburgh is changing---has changed---and this resulting mix of old and new actually gives the city a fresh opportunity to grow. When you add to this its rich bounty of endowments
from such heavy-weights as the Mellons, the Scaifes and the Carnegies, as well as its nationally-known universities and hospitals, Pittsburgh is well-positioned to be as relevant as any other American city. Plus, it boasts the Steelers!

Of course, change is a mixed blessing, especially for those of us whose lives straddled both "eras" of Pittsburgh. A fact I make use of in Mirror Image. After a traumatic experience involving one of his patients, the novel's narrator, a psychologist named Daniel Rinaldi, is musing on how mixed that blessing is as he heads home...

"We made the turn onto my street, whose edge fell away onto a panoramic view of the Three Rivers and the glistening lights of contemporary Pittsburgh. Gone were the steel mills and factories; in their place stood razor-thin buildings of glass and chrome, of software and bond trading.

"The city had changed a lot since I was a kid, a shot-and-a-beer town colliding with the Information Age. Though sometimes, like tonight, I missed the Pittsburgh I grew up in. Forged by immigrants. Musty like the smell of damp wool. A mosaic of thick accents and old neighborhoods, clanging trolleys and cobblestone streets. Before mini-malls and decaf lattes. Before spaghetti became pasta."

I guess, in the end, though a blessing may be mixed, it's still a blessing. In these difficult, uncertain times, that's something every Pittsburgh native---even if reluctantly---has come to understand.

Holmes and Watson in the Great Outdoors

With the success of the new film Sherlock Holmes, starring Robert Downey, Jr. as Holmes and Jude Law as Dr. Watson, I'm reminded of the following pithy little fable. (But I'll be damned if I can remember where I first heard it.)

Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson went for an outing one weekend far north of London. They pitched camp, ate a rustic meal over a wood-fueled fire, and sat contently as night fell, smoking their pipes and talking about nothing in particular.

Finally, they decided to turn in.

Some hours later, Holmes woke up his sleeping companion and pointed up at the ink-black sky, dotted with hundreds of luminous stars.

"Tell me, Watson," said Holmes. "When you look up at the night sky, what do you perceive?"

Watson blinked awake and contemplated the heavens above them.

"Well, meteorologically, I can tell from the striations of cloud that the weather will soon turn inclement. Astrologically, I can see that Orion's belt has shifted a bit toward the horizon. Astronomically, I understand that those stars twinkling above are actually roaring suns, giving off tremendous energy. Chronologically, I realize that the distances between those stars and our world are so vast, the light we see now actually shone from them millions of years ago. And, philosophically, I comprehend that in the limitless vastness of the universe, man and his works are quite small and insignificant."

Then Watson turned to his friend.

"Now, Holmes, what do you perceive?"

Holmes sighed. "I perceive that someone has stolen our tent!"

I don't think a Zen monk could have fashioned a better story about mindfulness, and the seductions of over-intellectualizing the world we experience. Plus, it's funny.

I'm also reminded of a quote by Fritz Perls, one of the founder of Gestalt therapy, who advised his clinical students to "Dare to be superficial." In other words, when working with a patient in therapy, pay more attention to what's actually happening in front of you than to any elaborate theories you may be formulating in your head.

Anyway, as the current (and certainly post-modern) version of Conan Doyle's great detective character continues to make noise at the box office, I could think of no better time to re-visit this wonderful anecdote about Holmes and Watson. And if anybody has any information about the story's origin, I'd be happy to hear it. 

Notable Authors, both past and present, who have called the Pittsburgh area home

Out of this Furnace” - Thomas Bell

Originally published in 1941, Bell’s most famous work became more famous when the University of Pittsburgh Press reprinted it in the 1970s. Since then, it has been a book on the syllabus of nearly every Pittsburgh-themed college class at Pitt. Bell wrote what he knew:  he was born in the Braddock neighborhood of Pittsburgh as a first-generation American and the son of Russian and Eastern European immigrants who went to work in the mills of Pittsburgh. His book chronicles the lives of three generations of a steel-working family from their first days of work up to their first efforts to form a union at the mill in the 1880s, and all the way through the continued struggle to unionize into the 1930s. Themes of immigration, classicism, racism, poverty and social injustice weave their way into the story that, at its core, is about a family’s struggle to survive in a new country. Pick up a copy at the University of Pittsburgh Book Center. 

A movie adaptation of the book is being filmed starring Christian Bale. Christian Bale will play the older, and somewhat wiser, brother of Casey Affleck ("Gone Baby Gone") in the upcoming high-profile drama ."  Shooting has just gotten underway in Pennsylvania.



Through a Glass Darkly: Crime Fiction as a Window on American Culture

The author Tom Wolfe (The Bonfire of the Vanities) once said that the purpose of fiction was, among other things, to chronicle a society's "status details." In other words, to give the reader a felt sense of the social, cultural and political realities of the world the novel portrays.

Usually, this task has been seen as primarily the province of the "literary" novel, such as Wharton's The Age of Innocence, Salinger's Catcher in the Rye, or Updike's "Rabbit" novels. But I believe that, in a similar manner, the best crime fiction has been exploring and illuminating the contours of American society for years.

For example, to get a sense of how Los Angeles worked in the 30's and 40's -- how money and power actually operated in the lives of both the powerful and the desperate -- you need only read Raymond Chandler. The "mean streets" that private eye Phillip Marlowe walked took the reader from the monied mansions of robber barons to the back alleys of two-bit hustlers and the chumps they made their prey.

Just as, fifty years later, nobody provides a clearer view of contemporary L.A. than Michael Connelly, particularly with his Harry Bosch novels. From the O.J. trial to the Ramparts police scandal, from the self-inflicted woes of the wealthy and influential to the municipal response to torrential rains, Connelly uses his dogged police detective to dissect life in the City of Angels.

For a wry, amused and knowledgeable look at Boston society, high and low, you'll find few better guides than the late Robert B. Parker's character Spenser. Or equally few authors who capture the self-delusions and broken-hearted dreams of petty criminals as well as Elmore Leonard. And I can't think of a writer who better reveals the dark, noirish heart of the ostensibly laid-back surfer scene than Kem Nunn.

My point is, great crime fiction offers what no sociology text can provide. To feel the living, breathing essence of New Orleans, both pre- and post-Katrina, check out the Dave Robicheaux series by James Lee Burke. In similar fashion, Tony Hillerman brought the Native Americans of the modern Southwest to life in his novels about Jim Chee and Joe Leaphorn. Just as Sara Paretsky's V.I. Warshawski gave fictional heft to the idea of a strong female protagonist, and Walter Mosley's "Easy" Rawlins gave us perhaps our most well-known African-American one. Since its inception as a genre, crime fiction has both mirrored and commented on society's often-tumultuous change. In short, it told the truth about it.

So forget FrontLine. If you want to get the straight dope about the thriving gun trade going on along the border between the US and Mexico, look no further than T. Jefferson Parker's thriller, Iron River.

If you want to know what it's really like to be a cop, read Joseph Wambaugh. If you want to hear the authentic street rhythms of New York's Lower East Side, read Richard Price.

What all these fine crime novelists have in common is their use of suspense and intricate plots to underscore the conflict among vivid, fully-realized characters; and, moreover, how that conflict is inevitably intensified by the social context these fictional men and women find themselves in. Utilizing the high stakes and narrative drive of crime fiction, these writers demonstrate how issues of class and status, and the yearning to re-invent oneself, continue to define the American character.

In my view, no genre of fiction illuminates the "status details" of our evolving, conflicted society better than crime fiction. Where and how that conflict is played out, and how realistically it's depicted, determines how powerfully the novel affects us.

In a line stretching from Dashiel Hammett to Dennis Lehane, from James M. Cain to George Pellicanos, from Ed McBain to Sue Grafton, the best crime fiction -- like all great fiction, period -- shows us who we are.

Interview With Mystery Author – Dennis Palumbo

I met Dennis Palumbo at the Oklahoma Writers Federation conference last spring.  His workshop about writing mysteries built my confidence, so I read his first mystery, Mirror Image, loved it, and learned his not-quite-secret past. Formerly a Hollywood screenwriter (“My Favorite Year,” “Welcome Back, Kotter,” etc.), Dennis is now a licensed psychotherapist, specializing in creative issues. Mirror Image, is the first in a series featuring psychologist and trauma expert Daniel Rinaldi. The sequel, Fever Dream, is available now, and the third Rinaldi, Night Terrors, will appear this May (Poisoned Pen Press).  Dennis also blogs regularly for the Huffington Post and writes a column called “Hollywood on the Couch”      -Lucie Smoker


Dennis, the first book in your Daniel Rinaldi series, Mirror Image,  featured a victim who dressed up as his psychologist, the protagonist. What about Daniel Rinaldi inspires that sort of admiration?

A) Well, I think it’s his combination of clinical acumen and genuine compassion. Yes, he can be stubborn, even arrogant, when challenging authority figures (especially cops!), but he’s always on the side of his patients. No matter what.


As a reader, I enjoy little details that make the scene come to life in my head. In the opening scene of FEVER DREAM, the only freed hostage from a bank robbery is covered in gray brain matter. Love that gruesome foreshadowing. How has your own psychotherapy practice informed the creation of the plot?

A) I rarely get plot ideas from my practice, but I certainly use my clinical experience to inform the characters. Aspects of different patients and their issues over my past twenty five years in practice make their way into the stories. Plus my own experience, initially as a therapy patient myself, and now as a therapist. One of the things I like about writing the Daniel Rinaldi character is that I mine some of my own conflicts and struggles, confront my own issues.

From Chapter One, “Moving deliberately, I sat next to Treva on the curb, shoulders touching. Letting her know I was there. Anchoring us in the here-and-now. Keeping her in the present.” Do you consciously give us insights into trauma psychology? Or do the scenes just come out that way because of your experience? Give us some insight into your process.

A) Tough question. Probably a little of both. I know a great deal about the treatment of trauma, especially from a psychoanalytic standpoint, due to my studies with Robert Stolorow, one of the nation’s leading trauma experts. But I also weave in experiences of my own, as well as make good use of my clinical and creative imagination. My stories are first and foremost entertainment, but I think they’re more effective because they’re rooted in the reality of therapy practice.

Pittsburgh. Not exactly glam. What made you choose your hometown over the more traditional Los Angeles where you work now? What do you hope the story will gain from that setting?

 A) That’s easy! I love Pittsburgh, and have long felt it a perfect setting for a noir-type mystery series. The collision of old and new in contemporary Pittsburgh is an exciting aspect to work with. As to what the stories gain, I think they come off as much more believable, yet less traditional, because of the setting. Plus, the reader comes away with a real sense of what the place is like…that is, if I’ve done my job right!

The third Rinaldi mystery, NIGHT TERRORS, is due out in May. Can you give us a sneak-peek line from that book?

A) Happy to. In NIGHT TERRORS, Daniel Rinaldi is asked by the FBI to treat a retired FBI profiler who’s suffering from the condition. Once diagnosed primarily in children, more and more adults are getting treatment nowadays for the ailment. Which is what gave me the idea for the story. After twenty years inside the heads of the nation’s most notorious serial killers, the retired agent can’t fall asleep without waking up screaming, heart pounding, victimized by horrifying Night Terrors.

Making matters worse, the retired agent is also on the hit list of an unknown shooter, avenging the death of the last serial killer the agent helped put away. Though even here, nothing is exactly what it seems, and there’s a stunning, (hopefully) suspenseful series of twists and turns before the story comes to its violent conclusion.

Ink blots or word association? Our pop culture characterizes psychology as a game-like science, yet law enforcement has found great success in utilizing it in crime solving. What false portrayal of psychology or misunderstanding of method would you most like to clarify with the public?

A) That’s a huge question, much too complicated to answer in a Q&A format. But at the most basic level, I wish the public understood that clinicians themselves are only human, and that psychology is as much of an art as a science. As Jung said to his student therapists, “It’s not what you know that heals, but who you are.” I believe he’s right, but I also can see how this notion flatters the narcissist lurking inside each of us therapists!

Arnold Horshack walks into Rinaldi’s office. G’head, tell us what the doc would ask?

A) “Okay, Arnold, tell me about your relationship with your mother…”

About Lucie Smoker….

Lucie Smoker’s imagination grew up in a Little House on the Prairie and at 221b Baker Street. She was born in Natchez, Mississippi but grew up mostly in Slidell, Lousiana, Houston and Colorado Springs. Her best friends were her little sister Minnie, the Hardy Boys and The Count of Monte Cristo. Like them, her life followed a path of adventure, sometimes intrigue. Then she fell in love and finally found home down a long, empty road. She lives with her husband of twenty years plus their two boys on the great North American prairie—and mysteriously turns caffeine into stories.
Her debut novel, DISTORTION is available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Publishers Weekly Reviews Night Terrors

Night Terrors: A Daniel Rinaldi Mystery
Dennis Palumbo. Poisoned Pen, $24.95 (352p) ISBN 978-1-4642-0131-8 

In Palumbo’s riveting third Daniel Rinaldi mystery (after 2011’s Fever Dream), the Pittsburgh, Pa., doctor applies his therapeutic skills to a prickly former FBI special agent, Lyle Barnes, who suffers from night terrors after a career of tracking down serial killers. Adding to Barnes’s woes is a murderer out to get every person who helped put serial killer John Jessup behind bars, including Barnes, who goes into protective custody. Meanwhile, Rinaldi agrees to help Maggie Currim prove the innocence of her troubled adult son, Wes, who has confessed to the gruesome decapitation of a local businessman. Answers prove elusive as the murders begin to pile up, and Barnes escapes from FBI custody. Palumbo ratchets up the stakes in this grisly psychological thriller, but maintains the emotional complexity as Rinaldi weighs his loyalty to his patients against his faith in the FBI. (May)