Cover Image: A Lethal Question

A Lethal Question

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This is at its heart a chase novel. Bill, a mild mannered psychotherapist, finds himself in a real pickle when one of his patients divulges information about a crime- a crime the bad guys don't want discussed. He goes on the run, they search for him, this gets a little over the top. That said, if you're looking for a fast read with good guys, bad guys, a little romantic interest, and weapons, this might be for you. Thanks to the publisher for the ARC. Over to others.

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Another book that's readable but frustrating. The plot is not very original, the main character is incredibly stupid and can't follow simple instructions, and the main crook makes a huge problem out of a small one. And a funny detail: Glocks are well known for having no standard manual safety, but the one in this book does!

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When started reading this book its a slow burner for me but when u continue reading it u will going to love it. It's amazingpy written book very nyc story line with a good characterisation. I love it and will recommend it to everyone around.

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Meet Dr. Bil Madrian . . . Manhattan-based psychiatrist . . . two years past the sudden death of his fiancé from a brain aneurysm . . . lives alone and retains everything that belonged to his fiancé . . .has a married sister (hubby is a criminal defense attorney) with 2 daughters and a nosey, widowed mother . . . a peaceful, if empty, and unpretentious life . . . has a new patient who he has seen just a few times . . . Alex Bronzi.

Alex is early 20s, still lives with his parents and thinks he should be allowed a bigger role in the family business (drugs, money laundering, trafficking). Dad thinks otherwise. Alex sought counseling to help with his relationship with his father. Alex is Albanian-American, immature, and a bit of a braggard in his attempts to boost his standing with others. During his most recent session. Alex blurts out a question: “Hey Doc. You wanna know who clipped Boris Levenko?”

Levenko was a Ukrainian mob boss in the Brighton Beach area. He and two associates were gunned down in a restaurant earlier in the week. Madrian is bound by doctor-patient confidentiality, of course but the Levenko was a broad daylight execution. If the killers aren’t found, this could be the start of another mob war. Should Madrian tell the cops or FBI? More importantly, is Alex going to blab that he’s been seeing a shrink and let it become known that he posed that loaded question to the doc?

Figuring that Alex won’t keep his mouth shut, Madrian’s imagination starts to run wild. Is he next to be silenced? How does an amateur keep from being tracked down in Manhattan? What about his family and nieces? His patients? Does he stay in his apartment? He knows enough to know that a digital footprint follows everyone. He does have a racquetball friend whom he has never contacted by email, text, or cell phone. Luck is on his side as this friend and wife are vacationing in the Caribbean and generously offers his brownstone. Get the key from a tenant who lives in a basement apartment, a late 20s librarian named Elena.

Given that he’s now been dumped into a criminal case, he quietly asks his brother-in-law for advice. He’s dealt with the underworld. Surely he’ll have some suggestion. His firm has used what might be called a fixer, guy who goes by the name of Rami. Madrian is told that once he contacts Rami, his immediate future is in Rami’s hands and must do everything Rami says exactly as Rami describes. Get multiple burner phones, absolutely stay off the internet, cancel patient appointments, no contact with family. Stay in that brownstone. Let Rami do what he does to get his life back.

Madrian gets the key from Elena. Big mistake: he tells her why he’s upstairs. They venture out to get lay in some food and Bill thinks he notices someone might be following him. Over the next couple days, they stick close in her flat and (as you might guess) start to get close. Meanwhile, the Albanians are getting closer, and he hasn’t heard from Rami.

Think of this book as a cross between The Sopranos (a mobster seeing a shrink) and Three Days of the Condor (the Robert Redford movie where he’s on run from a hired hitman and takes up with a photographer to hide at her place). The story is told almost entirely from Bill Madrian’s perspective where Rubinstein delivers generous doses of suspicion, paranoia, fear, lunacy, madness, depression, and impending insanity descending on Bill. Rubinstein delivers a fast based cat-and-mouse chase in and around NYC. Kept me rivetted to my couch and I’m sure you will be too.

Rubinstein is a much-published author of fiction and non-fiction. He has 8 fiction books, mostly featuring physicians/lawyers (but I’d not call any a ‘legal thriller’), all published by Oceanview. You’ll find quite several Oceanview books reviewed by the boys here at MRB and I’d be hard pressed to say any weren’t solid winners.

Thanks to NetGalley for the advance reviewer copy. Anticipated publication date is 7 May 2024.

East Coast Don

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This was a good story which kept me turning the pages throughout the night. Great mystery, writing and plotting will recommend to all my friends who love this genre.

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✰ 3 stars ✰

“Alone, disconnected, uprooted, knowing no one. Completely alone.

Face it, the life you’ve known could very well be over.”

Don't you just hate it when a book starts off so promisingly like A Lethal Question did, only for it to fall off the trails as quickly as possible? Cuz, uff, I can't even express how cheated felt that from such an explosive start and an intriguing beginning, it could suddenly derail into a moment of absurdity and unfortunate misses. 🤦🏻‍♀️

“He’s being driven by fear and suspicion. Is he becoming paranoid?

No, it’s just that he wants to live.”

It is amazing how one's life can so drastically be affected when one random act takes place when you least expect it - one that brings about life-altering consequences that will change your life forever. Such is the case for Manhattan psychiatrist Bill Madrian, when one day, his client asks the innocuous question 'Hey, Doc . . . ya wanna know who clipped Boris Levenko?' A loaded question that feels perfectly harmless, but as swiftly as it was it said, it throws him into the fray of Mafia crime bosses, dangerous clan wars, and the resilient pursuit of his life - with peril lurking at every corner of his life. 😥

The most enjoyable part about this story was the start - well-panned out, well-thought out and delivered well. A life on the run - thrown into disarray - losing everything that he was ever connected to - realistically portrayed and it kept my interest. 👍🏻👍🏻 The pacing was crisp and tight - keeping me on the toes with Bill as he tried to navigate his once simple life into what it now was. 'How fragile and perilous our existence is. You can be gone in an instant.' Bill's sudden loss of his life was palpable and I liked being in his mind as he tried to make some rational sense of how he was supposed to proceed in this situation - what next step would cater to his survival? 😟

And the writing really helped heighten how disconnected Bill had become from his life - ripped away from his peers, his family, the technology that rooted him to his existence - fearing for his life at every twist and turn - 'This is a matter of survival. Don’t take any chances.' I felt his despair and I felt sorry for him - I DID! 🥺 'For the love of god . . . I fell asleep in one world and woke up in another' - who would want that! The suspense was built upon at a strong pacing - elevating the tension and keeping intrigue as to how he was going to find his way out of this unfortunate mess.

But, it's when he meets his 'love interest' - that I found my interest waning. Like, she came out of nowhere, and she was annoying - I'm sorry, she was. She took the meat out of the entire situation and even when he's warned not to be sidetracked - he still is! 😩

“You’re strong . . . stronger than I am,” he says. “We’ll get through this.”

“There’s something weird about all this,” she whispers. “I can’t put my finger on it.”

No, sorry, you were the only weird thing about this story - an unnecessary addition that was unlikable and I didn't quite enjoy having you along for the ride. 🙎🏻‍♀️ I didn't like that the chapters were even dedicated to her perspective, because she wasn't even the voice of reason, she was just being silly and unwelcome. Her inclusion even served as a downside to the writing style even and just became something of a cliché thriller, rather than something that could have been different and more appealing. 🙍🏻‍♀️

“Yes, I trust every man in this room. But I long ago learned that two people can only keep a secret if one of them is dead.”

As this is an ARC, there were several typos and spelling inconsistencies, but as the reader was warned beforehand, I didn't take it too much to offense. It's just that the sudden extremity of derailment to the storyline - the abrupt shift in perspectives and it just became ridiculously absurd that I wholeheartedly agreed with this sentiment 'Bill waits, marveling at his newly discovered capacity for bullshit.' Yes, my thoughts exactly! 😐 And another thing that ticked me off was some strange word choices - '...in the morning, they luxuriate in bed...'??? Okay... Like, this has to be the first I've ever read the morning after described like that. Oh well, there's a first for everything. 🙅🏻‍♀️

I did like how the different Mafia families were incorporated into the narrative - almost with a Sopranos-esque feel to it, and how their code of loyalty had been violated and how extreme they would go to ensure 'this headshrinker, William Madrian, must die before the problem spirals out of control. The longer he lives, the greater the danger he’ll talk to someone.' Yet, even so, some of the Mafia interactions were delivered in a very cheesy way. I get that they are representing foreign parties, but it just sounded a little too stilted for me to imagine someone delivering threats against each other. 🤷🏻‍♀️

To keep this as evasive as possible, there is one titular character that has a very prominent role - who remains in the shadows, but is vital to the whole story. I felt at times that this was actually serving as an introduction to his character, like a sort of first case storyline for him. I may be wrong, but the way it came out certainly led to that feeling. In any event, Mark Rubinstein presented an interesting idea with a compelling start, but quickly devolved into such unbelievable notions and unrelated characters that made me angry that it could not have been something more worthwhile. 😔

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Never having read a novel by this author, I didn’t know what to expect. What I did get was a surprisingly interesting story about a psychiatrist whose life is turned upside down by a seemingly harmless question asked by a patient he is treating. Unfortunately, this particular patient has mob connections that is the cause of the plethora of problems facing the doctor. The action is nonstop and I was constantly reading to reach a satisfying conclusion.
It is easy to recommend this book to anyone who enjoys this genre and I thank NetGalley and Oceanview Publishing for the opportunity to read and review this novel prior to publication.

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Mark Rubinstein's "A Lethal Question" is a gripping, brutal saga of gangland conflicts ensnaring the innocent. This narrative, resembling "The Sopranos" on steroids, unfolds a confession leading to murder and chaos. With a relentless pace and tension, it's a must-read for fans of psychological thrillers, delivering a relentless, suspenseful ride.

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A patient's question to his psychiatrist upends the shrink's life as the mob now suspects he knows to much. A Lethal Question held my interest throughout. Author Mark Rubinstein keeps just the right level of tension as the doc tries to save himself and his loved ones.
Thanks NetGalley for the ARC.

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A little information in the wrong hands can be dangerous as our protagonist finds out in this fast-paced thriller. Once he learns a secret, and others know he knows, he’s no longer safe, so he goes on the run.

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Thank you for the opportunity to preview The Lethal Question. mark Rubeinsten weaves a fast paced novel that will keep you at the edge of your seat.
Bill is a psychotherapist with a small practice. He is single and very sad. His fiancé passed away suddenly and he is still grieving.
His life changes suddenly by a simple comment made by a patient’. And the comment was an allegation of a current murder case. And the people who know Bill is aware of possible suspects Bills life is in jeopardy.
Bill is now on the run and he has some serious people who want him dead.
Bill turns to his brother in law who is an attorney and he introduces him to Rami. And .
Rami says that Bill has got to go on the run and and cannot speak to anyone he knows because the people after Bill are killers.
Bill is scared and as he runs for his life the killers are on his tail.
Bill may not make it another day and he is all alone!
This book is excellent. I loved Downfall by this author and this one is just as good. Fast paced and scary good!
5 stars.

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