What Lies Buried
by Leslie Kain
Atmosphere Press

"Permission to feel. And now permission to be..."

Gavin DiMasi has a terrible childhood of being tormented by his twin brother and their father. But when his parents and brother die, DiMasi is the last man standing to deal with all of the family's dirty laundry. Not only were his father and brother cruel, but they also left a mob mess to mop up. DiMasi's wife tries to save him from his memories and the mob while simultaneously working to protect herself and their child from being sucked into his dark world. Readers learn from DiMasi and his wife's dialogues with their counselor, Dr. Pederson, and are reminded of the slow road to recovery. Pederson says, "If Gavin’s life were fiction, his behavior would self-correct after one explanation. But words can’t rewire the neurological damage from his lifetime of traumatic assaults."

The term PTSD is thrown about daily, casually even, but this book paints a vivid picture of the intensity and disabling horror of complex PTSD (CPTSD). The main character's angst becomes the reader's angst. To read this novel is to understand better post-traumatic stress disorder, clinically and emotionally, but also to be entertained through the interrelated mysterious mob story. The vivid descriptions of the main character's CPTSD episodes help readers understand the disorder on a deeper level. The other noteworthy quality is the prose. Good writing is conversational but clever. A person should not need a dictionary to read a book, but a strong use of vocabulary, when no other words say it better, is what authors strive for. Kain nails it, "...plunging him into emotional catatonia unassuaged by the app on his phone the meditation guide gave him." Despite the difficult subject matter, this book is artfully written, entertaining, and intriguing. Whether reading for pure entertainment or as therapy, this one is a must-read.

RECOMMENDED by the US Review

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