Cover Image: A Familiar Sight

A Familiar Sight

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Member Reviews

This book was super creepy, I’m not sure if it was in a good way or bad yet but I really liked it. Excellent read and I will look for more by this author. This book will probably be one that people either love or hate.
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I'm afraid, despite the clever premise of a sociopath who helps the police and a young girl who has (supposedly) killed her mother; this wasn't a book for me.

It started well, with quite interesting characters, but, very quickly seemed to lose it's way and become confusing.

I honestly tried to stick with it, but, I just found it to be a tedious, boring read I'm afraid. I won't be widely publicising this feedback as I very much hope it finds it's audience, but, not me.

Thanks for the opportunity to preview.
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Unpopular opinion — DNF at 55%. I found the layout and number of characters confusing and difficult to follow
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Gretchen White is a sociopath. At eight years old, she was the main suspect in the murder of her aunt, and Boston Detective Patrick Shaughnessy still thinks she got away with murder. Now an adult with advanced degrees in psychology, statistics, and criminology, Gretchen satisfies her "interests" by being a consultant to the Boston Police Department. She's worked (and solved) enough cases with Shaughnessy that they know each other well.

White is asked to consult on the department's latest high profile case, the murder of Claire Kent. Claire (from a very rich and powerful family) was married to Reed, and mother to Viola, 13, Sebastion, and Milo. Viola, a budding psychopath with a long history of violence, terrorism and manipulation, has been charged with her mother's murder after the weapon was found in her room. Everyone is convinced that the case is solved except Gretchen.

With new detective Lauren Marconi assigned to "stick with" Gretchen to make sure she stays within the lines so to speak, Gretchen finds that the assumed guilt of Viola has created gaping holes in the investigation. The more she looks into the case, the more possible suspects come to light. Who really killed Claire Kent, and why?

This is one fantastic read!! I don't often give five stars, but this novel earns every one of them. I truly enjoyed every moment I spent with this book and am already looking forward to the second book in this new series. The author was unknown to me (so many books, so little time!) when I started reading, and she absolutely blew me away with the intricate storyline, unexpected and clever twists and turns, and the complex characters.

Two of the things I enjoyed most about this book (and there are so many great things!) is the way Labuskes vividly paints the characters and their relationships layer by layer so that each one seems very realistic. I also enjoyed her skilled usage of time in the novel, alternating chapters which take readers through quite an array of points of time as related to Claire's murder, with those set in the present.

If you like mysteries, you won't want to miss this book. It's one of the best books I've read this year.

My thanks to NetGalley and Thomas and Mercer for permitting me access to an e-copy of this book which is scheduled to come out in paperback on 8/1/21. All opinions and any errors stated in this review are my own.
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A Familiar Sight is a complicated story of a child they think is a psychopath destined to commit murder. There are many twists to the story and there are more victims uncovered as the story goes forward. Claire was murdered and everyone suspects and suspects Viola, Claire's daughter, but there isn't enough evidence to prove it. When interviewed by Gretchen another psychopath (non-violent) Claire talks in code which Gretchen understands, and admits to the murder although Gretchen does not believe her. 

The story is told from two points of view, Reed (Claire's husband and Gretchen. It also goes back and forth in time telling you bits and pieces of the story. You will change your mind repeatedly about who actually murdered Claire.
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Thank you Netgalley and Thomas and Mercer for allowing me to read this arc. The beginning really drew me it-what a great premise, a self-proclaimed sociopath once accused of murder is helping the police investigating a murder. The writing was good, but I found that the past timelines jumped around so it was hard to keep track of what happened when. In the end,, they all came together and made perfect sense, but it made for some confusing reading. I admit  I lost interest a couple of times early on, but i'm glad I didn't give up because the ending was dynamite. I am so glad I read this book and I can't wait for the next book in this series.
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I only have one word for this book....WOW! What did I just read? This book is so intense, gripping that the ending actually left me speechless!

This book is the first book of the Dr. Gretchen White series--Gretchen has identified herself as a sociopath and years later, she almost became a suspect of her aunt's murder case and still, her colleague, Shaughnessy believes that she was behind her aunt's murder. So when a high profile murder case lands on her desk with her friend Lena committing suicide, Gretchen along with another Detective Marconi investigates the case. The suspect was a girl named Viola Kent, a thirteen year old with a history of violent tendencies ranging from harming her brothers to hiding dead birds in the garage, was accused of stabbing her mother Claire numerous times. When Lena committed suicide, she has left a note to Gretchen saying Viola was like Gretchen--that she was innocent. Is Viola really innocent and is used as a scapegoat? If so, who is the real murderer.

The plot to me sounded interesting and intriguing to me--the story divides between Now which involves Gretchen and Marconi to the past spanning between the years with Reed Kent sharing his perspectives. The story was fast paced, a plus sign for a good thriller in my opinion with lots of twists and turns that makes you wonder, who really is the murderer. When reaching towards the end, it got more and more intense that I was so hooked into the story and couldn't wait to see who is the real culprit!!! The ending was--WOW, didn't expect that type of ending. I had such a roller coaster ride with this book that I actually enjoyed reading this book! The book mainly talks about power, social status as well as abuse which makes it both disturbing and interesting to read at times. In my opinion, the characters to me are a bit complex and intense, and to me, Gretchen seem to be an interesting character. I also like how the friendship and relationship developed between Gretchen and Marconi. 

Overall, this is a fast paced thrilled packed with unexpected twists and turns with an ending that will leave you speechless--worth five stars!

Many thanks to Netgalley and Thomas and Mercer for the ARC--the review is based on my honest opinion only.
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I  think this is the first book in a new series by the author. I have read a couple of her books and, while I have enjoyed them, this one is the best I’ve read by a long way. We get a sneak peek into the mind of a sociopath, Dr Gretchen White - psychologist and criminologist, as she works as a police consultant to solve cold or ‘interesting’ cases under the patronage of Detective Patrick Shaughnessy of the Boston PD. These two have a very interesting dynamic. Shaughnessy still believes Gretchen killed her aunt when she was eight years old, and got away with it so he likes to keep an eye on her. And Gretchen wants to prove Shaughnessy wrong by demonstrating she can keep her darker impulses under control. Gretchen gets her serve of darkness from seeing the crime scenes, the photos, attending the autopsies and - scrabbling around in people’s minds. Oh how she loves scrabbling in those minds!

This case is precipitated by the presumed accidental overdose death of Lena Booker, high priced mob lawyer and one of Gretchen’s few actual friends. Lena called Gretchen on the night of her death and left a cryptic message saying she’d messed up, and “she’s just like you.” Lena is also the lawyer for 13 year old Viola Kent who brutally stabbed her mother, Claire, to death six months ago. Reed Kent, the father, and his two younger children - sons Sebastian and Milo, seem well shot of the freaky Viola. There are signs of long term abuse on the bodies of both boys. As Shaughnessy doesn’t see any wrinkles ahead in this case he assigns his latest partner (Gretchen tends to scare them away) Detective Lauren Marconi, to babysit Gretchen. These two also develop an interesting dynamic and, while they will never be good buddies (sociopaths don’t really go in for friends much), they do end up with a grudging sort of respect for each other.

This book is all about the characters and what an interesting bunch they are. Naturally Gretchen wants to interview the child Viola who, by all accounts, is a psychopath. After the interview Gretchen agrees that the child is, indeed, a budding psychopath who will, if able, go on to murder people. But did she kill her mother? She has already killed some animals - animal lovers should note that this is not described at all, it is just noted as having had occurred. But I think it is an important element of this particular story. You will soon learn that all is not as it seems within this family. Gretchen also uncovers links to the disappearance of Reed’s teenage girlfriend Tess Murphy. The consensus was that she ran away. But did she? And by the way the answers to the questions I pose are not necessarily the same or even obvious! It soon becomes clear that quite a few people had a motive for killing Claire Kent, including her daughter. 

Gretchen is driven nearly to distraction with this juicy puzzle! So, while the story was not a fast paced thriller it was rather a delicious, devious mystery with a very surprising ending. I enjoyed the ride along with Gretchen and I know I am far away at the other end of the spectrum - what Gretchen would call an empath. But I can still enjoy a cracking story like this one. All the characters were exquisitely drawn, their mental anguish clear and, for Gretchen, like nectar. I wanted to give this 5 stars but I did think it was a touch long and belaboured the differences between sociopaths and empaths. On the other hand I enjoyed it so much that 5 stars it is! I really want to thank Netgalley and Thomas & Mercer for the free advance copy of this book which I reviewed voluntarily and honestly.
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I love dark.books. unfortunately this one lacked something for me. The characters didn't draw me in. Kept at it as saw such good reviews. But for me just wasn't a winner. Back and forth story lines usually I like but didn't work. 

Thanks to the author, the publisher and NetGalley for an early release of this book.
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I must be definitely somewhat of an outlier on this one, given the glowing reviews that this book is getting.  Although it has a very interesting storyline and Gretchen White is a unique character (a functional sociopath), I had a really difficult time getting into both the story and Gretchen’s character — both of which were well developed.  And, even though I generally love novels that are told from different points of view and/or in different time lines, I found this novel’s moving back and forth in time and POV sort of disjointed and thus bothersome.  However, the writing was excellent, and I loved the ending — which I found to be a complete surprise.  I had not read anything by this author before, but I will definitely give another of her books a try.  This one just basically missed the mark for me.
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This was a very good book, interesting, different than most books of this genre.  Complicated characters and relationships that span decades.  we follow Gretchen a non violent sociopath, who works with the police to determine the guilt of a young girl accused of killing her mother.  The plot involves a missing woman from many years ago and the lawyer, hired to defend the girl, who is both a friend of Gretchen's and a friend of the husband and the missing woman.    Very well written and compelling
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Wow, wow, wow!  What an original, unique, and absolutely unputdownable read!  Completely absorbing, with such a unique storyline (which is hard in this genre)!  Kept me on the edge of my seat, with the riveting, suspense filled, completely captivating story!  Cannot recommend enough!  I will definitely be looking for more by this author, as this one blew my mind!  

Will buzz around and use top Amazon reviewer number on release!
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Very suspenseful with a great plot.  Gretchen is like no other. 
Many thanks to Thomas & Mercer and to NetGalley for providing me with a galley in exchange for my honest opinion.
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A Familiar Sight by Briana Labuskes is a well-written and engrossing read with well developed characterizations. Well worth the time spent reading.
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WOW!  Both creepy and exciting at the same time.
Gretchen White is a consultant for the police on cases that involve certain personality disorder perpetrators. She has also been labeled as a sociopath and has a past that should not be over looked or brushed aside. It is quite possible she has committed murder herself. 

I enjoyed the complexity of this novel as well as the style. The past and the present are intertwined with flashback type episodes rather than alternating chapters.  
This is one of the few books I have read that is truly worthy of the "Psychological Thriller" genre title.  It had me pausing to think things through to a plausible conclusion only to throw another option up at me.  Kept be wondering, speculating and turning the pages deep into the night. 
Excellent maze!

Thank you to NetGalley and Thomas and Mercer for allowing me the change to preread this novel in exchange for my honest review
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I loved Girls of Glass so I was excited to read this one. Dr. Gretchen White is a non-violent sociopath which makes her work with detectives valuable as she can spot others. So when young Viola is arrested for killing her mother Claire, Gretchen knows something is a little "off." There are buried secrets and relationships that come to light as the book moves from present to past and we discover what really happened the night Claire was killed. It's a creepy kind of good if you like your books a little on the dark side!
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OMG...what did I just stumble upon??!! In the world of psychological thrillers, 'A Familiar Sight' is pure gold..!!! 

When 13-year-old Viola Kent is charged with the murder of her mother Claire, despite all evidences of Viola's violent sociopathic nature, Dr. Gretchen White is convinced of her innocence. Psychologist, criminologist and consultant for the Boston P.D, Gretchen is a sociopath herself (albeit, a non-violent one). Even as she walks a tightrope to keep her more wild impulses in check, she joins hands with Detectives Shaughnessy and Marconi to help solve the extremely intriguing and gruesome case. 

Gretchen, far from your usual book heroine, is simply badass, for lack of a better word. Though Detectives Shaughnessy and Marconi take a backseat to Gretchen in the story, the relation she carves with them is noteworthy, considering they are wary of her twisted moral compass. 

The world of Gretchen is cleanly divided into that of sociopaths and empaths, and the author repeatedly highlights this difference throughout the book, I believe, to underscore the fact that some people are simply wired differently. In my opinion, without this emphasis, it would be extremely difficult to comprehend Gretchen's thought process or Viola's actions. While I am grossly unfamiliar on the topic, the story offers glimpses into violent anti-social personality disorders and may require trigger warnings. 

I am simply in awe of this author's writing because she didn't let up on the suspense right until the very end. Everytime I thought I had it all figured out, a few pages later, I would end up changing my mind again. And the climax was more dramatic than what my thriller-loving mind could imagine. 

Overall, a fantastic psychological thriller, that is, without doubt, a must-read. Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for providing a digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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One heck of a whodunit!
Thanks to the author and NetGalley for an ARC.

A mother is killed; a daughter is a sociopath; and everyone has secrets. With twists and turns I didn’t see coming, this book was one I couldn’t put down.
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I could not put this book down! So many twists and turns that I did not see coming. Compelling and well-written, would definitely recommend!
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I received an uncorrected advanced reader copy of “ A familiar Sight” by Brian a Labuskes via Net Galley. My thanks to the publisher, author  NG..
“ A Familiar Sight” was to me a disturbing , vapid  and unpleasant crime novel. As I read it, I found myself wondering why.I continued reading . Well, I wowed an honest review in return for access to the ARC, so I struggled on.
This book features Dr.Gretchen White a psychologist who sometimes consults with the police in cases that involve socio- or Psycho pathic behavior  She herself is a sociopath with tightly controlled. violent tendencies. She offers thoughts bloody assaults to people who are annoying to her. Are we supposed to like her then?  Dr. White has an ominous history: as a child, she was found kneeling over her aunt’s bloody body, holding a knife. Though found not guilty, the police feel she was the killer. As the book opens, Gretchen at the apartment of Lena Booker, he body lies on the couch, dead of an overdose. She was the lawyer who was going to defend a teenage girl who was found beside the bloody body of her mother, with her hands touching the gaping knife wounds. We learn that the girl,, Viola Kent, has a long history of abusing  her smaller brothers and also other younger playmates.  Her parents were afraid of her and for her. I think back to the 1950’s movie, “ The Bad Seed.” That little girl was scary, her parents terrorized .  Then,  no one could believe that such a pretty tot could be evil in those days when there was not a shrink in residence on every news feed. The viewer was drawn deeply into the horror of that little girl’s mind. No so here.
  What sounded like a good set up at the beginning for a crime thriller, never came through . The author’s rambling, talky style left me wanting for more depth and exposition. Gretchen White’ s character was unappealing , snarky , superior and sarcastic. Worse, we never get very deep into her . For a psychologist, , her flawed character is a blank page.left largely unexplored.. Her “ friend/ enemy cop, Saughnessy is characterized as a fat, sullen and world weary; nothing new there..  The author relies heavily on the “ had we only known” style of flashing back weeks and months , giving little glimpses of the past that portend bad things. The shifting time frames of alternating chapters usually makes me wonder why the author simply does not begin at the beginning. No style points there.
Of course, this is only one person’s. opinion.  MS Labuskes previous books have been well - received. . This book just did not click with me., but read it for yourself.
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