Book Review: When Evil Calls Your Name (Dr David Galbraith Book 2) by John Nicholl

This second book in the Dr David Galbraith series is told from the point of view of his wife Cynthia, three years after the last book ends. Cynthia has been convicted of murder and is incarcerated. As part of her psychological therapy she is asked to write a journal by her psychologist and thus we have Cynthia’s story told retrospectively, as she writes in her journal interspersed with her life in prison as is her present.

The book provides much background about the girl Cynthia was prior to meeting Galbraith and in the true spirit of a psychological thriller shows us the how and whys that arose in the first book in relation to Cynthia. Undoubtedly a lot of what she experiences is difficult reading as she is methodically conditioned by a manipulative abuser who uses her for his own means.

The way in which Cynthia’s story is told is quite remarkable, I was totally drawn into the narrative from the start and not for a moment did I feel the integrity of her narrative slip from that of a much abused and tortured character. The depth of the psychology explored in this novel us quite exemplary and made this book a very good read.  would go as far to say that this second volume in the series far surpasses the first.

There were a few minor mistakes and issues which prevented me from giving the book five stars, which is a shame as the psychological aspect and the character of Cynthia was so well portrayed, so I couldn’t overlook these details: we are initially told Cynthia took ten GCSEs but if she was born in 1966, she would have taken O-levels at sixteen, which is later correctly addressed. Even in the mid-eighties doctors, including moronic GPs, would have to see the patient, not a relative to discuss individual healthcare. When a Consultant Paediatrician discusses treatment to prevent withdrawal, from what I can only surmise is diazepam she refers to it as a tranquilizer rather than a benzodiazepine, which isn’t likely nomenclature for the drug at that level and once we are told the treatment will be given intravenously, for some reason, we aren’t told why, a nasogastric tube is inserted through which obviously intravenous therapy cannot be given. The doctor emphatically states that Cynthia and the baby must remain in hospital for four weeks and they arrive home eighteen days after the birth. Small things I’m sure but they did bug me during an otherwise good read.

It would definitely be better to read the first book in the series to get a much better idea of Galbraith and thus enhance your experience of reading this second book, which wouldn’t work well as a stand alone. This book is available to read for free to Kindle Unlimited subscribers.

Links to Book:
Amazon UK
Amazon US
Goodreads

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9 thoughts on “Book Review: When Evil Calls Your Name (Dr David Galbraith Book 2) by John Nicholl

  1. Pingback: Book Reviews 1-1016 | SVM & TB Stories

  2. Medical errors in books make me crazy. In a book I just read, it mentioned that a powerful sedative “benzodiazepine” was found in a drink. Which one? There are many drugs in that family! Shame when little details let down a cracking story.

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  3. It’s Cynthia’s journal. She is a psychologically damaged woman remembering events years later. She describes events as she remembers them. I went for 18 days because a man like Galbraith would want his wife out of hospital ASAP. I thought i’d covered it by Cynthia saying the treatment progressed well, but I accept that wasn’t clear enough. I’ve changed it to twenty-seven days. Everything that Galbraith tells Cynthia about the GP and social services is a lie. It’s part of the manipulative process. He hasn’t discussed her with anyone other than her parents prior to the hospital admission. She will have seen her GP as a result of the pregnancy, but Galbraith will have ensured she was silent and that appointments were kept to an absolute minimum. He would also have chosen the GP very carefully. The GP would be unaware of the Diazepam Galbraith is providing until told by the hospital. As I understand it Diazepam is a tranquillising muscle relaxant. Dr Carter may well have used a more technical term, but as I said, Cynthia is writing her journal years later, and uses common terms she understands. Had Cynthia been a doctor, she would have written it differently. With regards to the tube, the profound psychological impact of seeing Anthony with a feeding tube inserted up one nostril whilst shackled to the wall is indelibly imprinted on her brain. That memory has influenced her recollection of her bay’s care. The two events have become merged to some extent in her psyche. In the same way, anyone reading the two books may realise that Cynthia would have heard rather than seen many of the events she describes at the time of Galbraith’s arrest. She has embellished the memories with moving pictures as humans tend to do. Memories are not an exact representation of the past and become blurred with time, a reality exacerbate by Cynthia’s traumatised psychological state and the symptoms of extreme Diazepam withdrawal at the time of her first child’s birth.

    I hope this adds to the discussion in a positive way. I appreciate the fact the book is being discussed at all, and hope it adds to the understanding of domestic violence towards women in some small way. I did discuss the medical aspects of the book with a consultant paediatrician friend, and read various relevant articles and treatment protocols. I hope that the above goes some way to explaining why I wrote Cynthia’s words as I did. Thank you for taking the time to read and review my second novel. I find your reviews both insiteful and challenging. Very best wishes, John

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    • Thank you John. So when Cynthia’s mum visits the her and baby Elizabeth in hospital and questions why the baby has a tube up her nose, that is down to Cynthia remembering incorrectly and imagining the question because she has merged her memory of the baby with Anthony? I honestly didn’t recall whilst reading this book at that point that Anthony had a nasogastric tube in the first book and as a reader was just puzzled as to why a newborn would have one as there was nothing we were told about the baby’s condition to explain why she needed one. Galbraith himself is a Consultant psychiatrist and due to his practical use of diazepam, which would be as a sedative, I think he’d refer to it as a benzodiazepine or sedative rather than tranquliser, (more a term used by neurologist possibly) as part of his bedside manner. A GP describing it as a tranquilizer I understand as they are at the hub of seeing the drug used in various conditions so general terms may slip in. I’m sorry that I didn’t get the impression her memories were inaccurate as she kept insisting she was remembering some things word for word and as the narrator throughout the book we have only her word to go on. She seems so well and high functioning that it didn’t even occur to me that events had merged and she was unravelling memories encapsulated by her mental trauma, but now that you have explained it here it makes more sense.

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