Sunday, 31 March 2019

#BlogTour Dark Blossom by Neel Mullick

Today it's my turn on the BlogTour Dark Blossom by Neel Mullick. It's a psychological thriller, but hidden in the guise of a story about guilt, conscience and closure.

About the Author
With degrees in Software Engineering from Carnegie Mellon, USA, and Business Administration from INSEAD, France, Neel is the Head of Product and Information Security at a Belgian family-office technology company.

He mentors women entrepreneurs through the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women, is involved in raising a generation of digital and socially-aware leaders with the Steering for Greatness Foundation (Nigeria), supports improvement in the quality of life of domestic workers at Emprendedoras del Hogar (Peru), and is helping IIMPACT (India) break the cycle of illiteracy plaguing young girls from socially and economically impoverished communities.

He lives on three continents, spending his time between New York, Brussels, and New Delhi, has survived ten days (and nights!) at an airport, and a free fall five-hundred metres from the sky.
Concerned with the inverse correlation that seems to exist between society’s progress and the empathy with which it interacts with the universe around it, he firmly believes the solution to a rapidly fracturing world lies in peeling enough layers to discover the similarities, rather than judging on mere superficialities.

Buy Dark Blossom

About the book
Sam returns home from a business trip a day before his son's thirteenth birthday and is looking forward to being with his family, when his world is cruelly shattered in one fell swoop. Initially he thinks he can cope with the loss, but finally seeks the help of Cynthia, an experienced therapist, to regain his equipoise. What he does not know is that Cynthia herself is trying to cope with a debilitating divorce and the sinister shadow of her ex-husband over her daughter...

What happens when doctor and patient find themselves in the same sinking boat? Moreover, when they are rowing in opposite directions--one clinging to the past, and the other unable to get rid of it! In the midst of it all is Lily, Cynthia's daughter, who harbours a secret that has the power to explode the lives around her.

Taut with tension and intensity, Dark Blossom is a glimpse of what lies under the surface of apparently 'normal' people.

What Mullick wants is to create food for thought for the reader and is genuinely interested in what each one of us takes away from the story, because it will always be an individual experience based on our own frame of references.

What speaks to me might not be what speaks to someone else. In general that is something people should remember when it comes to reviews.

Let's start with Cynthia, who is a therapist, although based on this book and her actions with her client Sam, she is one in name only. It's a fictional story, but I would be remiss if I didn't point out her lack of ethics, professionalism and duty of care towards her client. If you are burdened or are in danger of projecting your own emotions onto a client or have a bias against their situation or person, then ethics dictate that you recuse yourself and refer the client to another therapist.

Her inability to do that is what makes her the focus for me. It determines the entire story and her interactions with every other character. In fact, although the book starts with the incredible grief of Sam, Cynthia makes everything about her, her guilt and inability to connect with her teenage daughter.

Guilt plays a huge factor for Cynthia, Sam and Lily. Cynthia feels guilty for not being able to save her daughter from her abusive husband. Sam feels guilty for not being able to change the death of his loved ones and he is also driven by the unanswered questions about their deaths. Lily feels guilty about keeping secrets. Of course it's also what brings the three of them together in a bizarre and unhealthy way.

I think one of the obvious questions about Cynthia is why she thought a physical abuser would suddenly be in complete control of his emotions and not have found a different victim? Or did she subconsciously suspect and not want to admit the dark and hurtful truth? What is also clear is how everything is always brought back to how it relates to Cynthia. I found her quite a vain, selfish and inadequate character.

What is Dark Blossom? It's a psychological thriller, but hidden in the guise of a story about guilt, conscience and closure. A layer of suspense flows through it, which is almost indiscernible from the loud, messy emotional turmoil that is being bandied about. It's an interesting way to approach the genre. Not so much the what or who, but most definitely the when.

Buy Dark Blossom at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Rupa Publications; pub date 3 Jan. 2019. Buy at Amazon com.

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