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Winner of Lovesick by Spencer Seidel

The winner of Lovesick by Spencer Seidel was:

Ellie, who said, “This sounds like a realistic approach to the problems of substance abuse and the effects this illness has on relationships.”

Congrats to you.  I hope you enjoy the book.

I’ll be a bit silent this week as I’m on vacation and the in-laws are in town.  I hope everyone had a great week.

Lovesick by Spencer Seidel

Lovesick by Spencer Seidel (available in ebook now, and paperback in June 2012) is a crime thriller with a psychological twist.  Dr. Lisa Boyers is a forensic psychologist and she agrees to assess Paul Ducharme, whose now infamous murder of his best friend Lee on the Eastern Promenade Trail in Portland is gaining national attention.  Boyers is brought closer to her past than she’s comfortable with when a former friend, Rudy Swaner, asks for her help on his case.  Boyers and Swaner tap dance around their past flirtation and her own dark secrets, while she attempts to discover the truth about Lee and Paul’s friendship and the disappearance of Lee’s girlfriend, Wendy.

“Lisa realized that she had barely moved since Paul had begun to tell his story.  He was still talking about that day in the Subway in Monument Square.  She could see in his dark eyes that he was reliving those hard memories.  He wasn’t looking at her.  It was as if she wasn’t in the room.  He was lost in his own mind.”  (page 90)

Lisa still harbors a deep fear of men, though she has tried to bury her memories and fears deep inside.  Rudy dredges up the past just by his presence, and he further confuses things for Lisa by asking her to help him on a case, as he defends Ducharme. Her students see her as an authority in the classroom, but even a teen who has impure thoughts about her freaks her out. Seidel has created a woman who on the outside appears to have it together — a great career and degree — on the inside she’s barely living emotionally.

What’s interesting is how Lisa’s story becomes so entwined with Ducharme’s from a psychological standpoint, and the narrative is told in a third-person format, even as Ducharme relates his story about Lee to Lisa. While Ducharme’s story may be best told from a first-person point of view, the third-person here is not distracting, though it does provide a certain distance between him and the reader. The distance seems to be deliberate to ensure that readers are left in suspense about the crime and Ducharme’s role in it. Seidel does a good job of fleshing out Dr. Boyers and Ducharme, as well as Lee and Wendy, but Rudy and some of the other characters are a bit flat. Rudy particularly seems to be simply a plot catalyst to get her involved in the case, while others are merely part of the setting.

Although the love triangle between Lee, Wendy, and Ducharme is predictable, the ways in which the murder is uncovered keep the story fresh and suspenseful. Lovesick by Spencer Seidel is a fast-paced thriller of sex, lies, abuse and murder that will leave readers on the edge of their seats as the characters struggle with the sickness that has taken over their lives.

Spencer Seidel; Photo by Chad Hunt

About the Author:

Spencer Seidel’s love of reading and writing began as a child after he discovered Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. His first novel, Dead of Wynter, was published in 2011 and was well-received by critics and readers alike. When he’s not writing novels, Spencer enjoys playing loud rock guitar, something he’s been doing for over twenty-five years.

Also, check out his guest post and giveaway.

 

This is my 10th book for the 2012 New Authors Challenge.

Guest Post & Giveaway: The Lovesick Author by Spencer Seidel

Valentine’s Day is the time to celebrate your loved ones whether they are spouses, significant others, boyfriends, girlfriends, etc.  But there is a darker side to love that creeps into novels like Lovesick by Spencer Seidel.

In the novel, forensic psychologist Dr. Lisa Boyers receives a call from an old friend Attorney Rudy Swaner who needs her to interview young killer Paul Ducharme, who claims he does not remember the events of a murder.  However, as she helps him uncover his memories, she realizes that she must confront her troubled past.

Today, Spencer Seidel is offering us a guest post about the darker side of love.  Please give him a warm welcome.  Also, stay tuned for a giveaway for my U.S. and Canadian readers:

Fiction is best when the author’s voice cannot be heard. But sometimes, inevitably, that voice creeps in. Perhaps a character’s political views too conveniently match those of the author. Or perhaps the raunchy, inorganic sex scenes you’re reading in a new novel make you wonder if the author’s wife really turns her back to her husband at night.

That gets me to thinking. What if an author were to fall hopelessly head-over-heels in love with a character? Better yet, what if he were compulsively and obsessively (ahem) lovesick with his own creation? Hell, it’s Valentine’s Day! We can have a little creepy fun with that, right? Surely things would eventually take a turn for the worse for our poor lovesick author. . .

I imagine a messy desk, littered with manuscript paper, sketches, rejection letters, and overdue bill notices. Above this, a series of composite photos of a woman are pinned to the wall, every image lovingly and painstakingly photoshopped together from various files pulled from Google. Each is slightly different from its neighbor. The woman to the right has larger lips. The other, at the end of the row, smaller breasts. Our author hasn’t gotten her quite right yet and never will. It’s more fun that way. Perhaps she was an old lover or someone he used to know. Or maybe this woman is no one at all. A figment of his imagination. His perfect woman.

The author himself is seated there at his desk, a scotch just out of reach of his right hand. Next to it, a cigarette smolders in a dirty ashtray. The room is dark because the shades are always closed. A pale, unnatural glow from the computer monitor highlights our author. His brown hair spikes outward in greasy clumps. His beard is dark and patchy on his white skin. He wears a faded threadbare bathrobe, untied. He is naked underneath.

To our author’s left is a stack of manuscript paper a foot and a half high, each page neatly aligned with the one beneath and filled with double-spaced type. There must be 1,000 pages or more stacked there, representing years of work.

He types loudly, angrily, in bursts, while gazing absently at the monitor in front of him. Gulps his booze. Pulls hard on his cigarette from time to time. After each writing session, he masturbates compulsively while studying her picture and waiting for his laser printer to finish printing the day’s work.

For months before she left him for good with their young daughter and black lab in tow, his wife tried to understand. She begged him to stop, but like a compulsive gambler, our lovesick writer can’t. He loves his character too much to stop writing about her. And it will cost him everything: his wife, his writing career, his health, his house, and his sanity. In the end, having spent a lifetime writing about his imaginary woman, he will likely die in a psychiatric ward at his keyboard, and his creation will cease to exist shortly after.

On page 18,699.

Thanks, Spencer, for sharing this darker side of love with us.  If you’d like to win a copy of Lovesick, please leave a comment here about the dark obsession of love.  Deadline to enter will be Feb. 29, 2012, at 11:59PM EST.  Happy Leap Year and Happy Valentine’s Day!

For additional chances to win, check out the Blog Tour Scavenger Hunt.

Mailbox Monday #157

Mailbox Mondays (click the icon to check out the new blog) has gone on tour since Marcia at A Girl and Her Books, formerly The Printed Page passed the torch. This month’s host is the Let Them Read Books.

Kristi of The Story Siren continues to sponsor her In My Mailbox meme.

Both of these memes allow bloggers to share what books they receive in the mail or through other means over the past week.

Just be warned that these posts can increase your TBR piles and wish lists.

Here’s what I received this week:

1.  The Confession by Charles Todd for review and the WWI Reading Challenge.

2.  Lovesick by Spencer Seidel for a book tour with Meryl Moss Media Relations in February.

3.  Cinder by Marissa Meyer from Shelf Awareness.

4.  The Book of Lost Fragrances by M.J. Rose for blog tour in February.

5.  Graveminder by Melissa Marr for TLC Book Tour.

6. Thirst No. 4: The Shadow of Death by Christopher Pike from my husband and daughter for Christmas.

7. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern from Anna and her family for Christmas.

8. The Tiny Book of Tiny Stories Volume 1 by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, which I purchased.

What did you receive?  I hope your holiday was filled with books.