Title: The Clinic
Author: Sally-Anne Martyn
Published on: 27 October 2022
Genre: Mystery and Thrillers | Psychological Thriller
The Clinic by Sally-Anne Martyn is an engrossing, intense, spine-chilling and riveting psychological thriller. I was hooked on to the story and could not put it down until the end.
We have two PoVs here: one happens at the Beautiful You Clinic run by Dr. Cavendish, and the other, is Jenny’s return to the asylum (now closed) where she spent half of her teenage life.
Six women are ‘chosen’ by Dr. Cavendish for a weight-loss program at her clinic. She has to make sure they stick to her rules… or, suffer the consequences. One of the chosen six is Amy. Her program was paid for, by her mother and step-father. On her train journey to the destination, one of her passengers tells her the place was known for its mental asylum and though closed, people still avoid the town.
Amy forgets her suitcase in the train and has to spend the next six weeks in the clothes she’s currently wearing. As she boards the bus that leaves to the clinic, she meets rest of the clients. They are all here to lose weight – including a thin-looking girl who was told she’s “too fat for couture.”
Meanwhile, Jenny, an ex-patient of the asylum, is finding it difficult to make ends meet. People call her mad – they know of her time at the asylum. She’s currently estranged from her family and does not want to beg them for money, no matter how broke she is. She’s asked by her landlord to click discreet pictures of the asylum grounds. He wants to buy the area from the council and turn it into complexes but Dr. Cavendish has leased a building and refuses to leave.
As the weight-loss program begins, the clients are put on a strict diet. In other words, they are hardly fed. They are to take ‘vitamin’ injections every morning, a sleeping pill before bed and a handful of pills for breakfast and lunch. Amy feels something’s not right – she knows the pills are the reason for her waking up late in the morning. She also suspects the injections and other pills she’s given has made her less hungry (loss of appetite.)
Then, something mysterious happens at the clinic. One of the clients stops attending group programs. When asked, Dr. Cavendish says she’s unwell and currently recuperating at the hospital. But it doesn’t sound right to Amy… and then, someone else goes missing…
This is one of the creepiest books I have ever read. If you are planning to read this book, make sure not to read this at night – unless you love nightmares! Thinking of Jenny and the six ladies’ experiences at the asylum and clinic sends shivers down my spine.
As the story begins, it is quite clear that Dr. Cavendish has an evil streak in her. The six clients’ suitcases were checked on the first day of their treatment. No mobiles or food or drinks allowed. Some of them had managed to sneak a treat or two… they had no idea of the punishment that ensued when caught. (One of them gets a first-hand experience of the ‘punishment.) Dr. Cavendish was manipulative – her excuse was, unless the ladies are forced to follow rules, they will not benefit from the program.
The second half of the book is very intense and suspenseful. I was curious to know how Jenny’s role in the story plays out at the end. The side characters and their role added an extra dash of mystery to the story.
I absolutely loved Sally-Anne’s writing. Character development is fantastic and the ending is mind-blowing. There’s a twist at the end and I did not see it coming. Things end with a shocking development. (Yes, you read that right!) I wouldn’t call it a cliffhanger though. Sometimes, things do not end the way we expect it to. 😉
If you are looking for a creepy, thrilling and spine-chilling Halloween read, I recommend you to give The Clinic by Sally-Anne Martyn a try.
I received an ARC from Joffe Books in exchange for an honest and unbiased opinion.