BookBrowse Reviews The Blind by A.F. Brady

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The Blind

A Chilling Psychological Suspense

by A.F. Brady

The Blind by A.F. Brady X
The Blind by A.F. Brady
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Sep 2017, 416 pages
    Jul 2018, 400 pages

  • Rate this book

Book Reviewed by:
Kate Braithwaite

Buy This Book

About this Book



This debut novel explores what happens if there is only a thin line separating a psychiatrist from her patient.

In The Blind, A. F. Brady, a licensed psychotherapist, takes readers inside a residential psychiatric facility in Manhattan and into the world of group therapy and borderline personality disorder (see Beyond the Book).

Sam James is the Typhlos institution's star therapist, the go-to psychologist able to find breakthroughs with the most challenging patients. But when the story opens, Sam is already in crisis, throwing up in the office trash can after an alcohol binge the night before. She may manage to maintain a professional front, but in reality Sam is dealing with many personal struggles and she shares them all on the page, no holds barred.

At first it seems that Sam is on a downhill spiral that she won't be able to escape. She is in a physically abusive relationship with her boyfriend, Lucas, while engaging in casual sex with another man. She has an alcohol problem and seems hell-bent on alienating her best friend and ally, fellow psychologist David. Unable to maintain her façade during a routine annual assessment of her own mental health – something all staff participate in – Sam fears the only good thing in her life, her career, is at risk. Her best hope for a turnaround might be the therapy sessions she conducts with a difficult new patient, Richard. For reasons unknown, Richard seems as determined to save Sam as she is to save him.

The Blind succeeds largely because of the protagonist's fresh, sarcastic and bitingly witty voice. Sam spares herself no criticism and is equally harsh with the people around her. She sums up her boss, Rachel, as "a linebacker...a formidable presence...born to run an institution, and her lack of a private life really helps her excel at her job." Rachel's appearance — "chinos that are too tight in the hips that it makes the slash pockets stick out like little ears" — also bears the brunt of Sam's close observation.

This level of detail spills through into other areas which makes the novel hard to read at times. The abuse Sam suffers at her boyfriend's hands is graphic, almost clinically described. It is in keeping with her voice and character, but not for the faint of heart. While Sam's good qualities keep the reader agreeing that she does deserve "a boyfriend who buys me Manolo Blahniks and takes me to dinner at The Four Seasons," there are a few bleak moments in her story that even the greatest fans of black humor may find challenging.

Early on, Sam acknowledges that there is a fine line between the patients with mental health problems and the staff at Typhlos. "We're no different from them. There's no line in the sand. In the end, we don't have canyons that divide us. We barely have a fissure. I have a key to the office and they don't." As the novel progresses, a theme emerges: Does personal experience with a problem help a therapist be more effective? Brady hints that if this line has been crossed – if a drug counselor has had his or her own drug problems for example – then the therapist might be able to be more effective than another person with no personal experience to bring to bear. As Sam and her patient Richard find out more about each other, this intriguing and controversial question makes The Blind a satisfying psychological read.

Reviewed by Kate Braithwaite

This review was originally published in October 2017, and has been updated for the July 2018 paperback release. Click here to go to this issue.

This review is available to non-members for a limited time. For full access, become a member today.
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: In Extremis
    In Extremis
    by Lindsey Hilsum
    International journalist Marie Colvin pushed the limits in her work and her personal life. Widely ...
  • Book Jacket: Vita Nostra
    Vita Nostra
    by Marina and Sergey Dyachenko
    Vita Nostra by Ukrainian authors Sergey and Marina Dyachenko is one of those novels that defies ...
  • Book Jacket: And The Ocean Was Our Sky
    And The Ocean Was Our Sky
    by Patrick Ness
    Patrick Ness has developed a reputation for experimental literature executed well, and his latest, ...
  • Book Jacket: Let It Bang
    Let It Bang
    by RJ Young
    Every interracial love story is an exercise in complications. R.J. Young and Lizzie Stafford's ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
by Barbara Kingsolver

A timely novel that explores the human capacity for resiliency and compassion.

About the book
Join the discussion!

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    A Ladder to the Sky
    by John Boyne

    A seductive, unputdownable psychodrama following one brilliant, ruthless man.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win Severance

Severance by Ling Ma

An offbeat, wryly funny, apocalyptic satire that is featured on more than twenty 2018 "Must Read" lists!


Word Play

Solve this clue:

I Ain't O U T F L S

and be entered to win..

Books that     

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.