``Atkins presents another gripping psychological thriller.``
How does evil grow in a child’s heart?
A nurse is murdered on a locked ward for teenagers. The suspect, a seventeen year-old with schizophrenia, becomes catatonic. Enter Dr. Molly Katz, a senior resident and mother of two who, in an attempt to understand how she missed murder in the mind of her patient, gets drawn into the dark world of kids gone bad.
Through Molly’s eyes we track the steps of a killer from the streets of Boston to the wards of a hospital for the criminally insane. As she struggles to free a boy from his psychosis and the threat of prison, the killer’s thirst for blood grows and his eyes turn to Molly and her children.
It’s nature vs. nurture at its wildest as we face the ultimate question: is evil learned or can a child be born without a soul?
On Risk Factor: I wrote this novel at a time I was working with troubled adolescents. As I often do, I find that fiction is a safe medium to explore what I see clinically. Children who experience serious traumas early in life, often go on to have serious emotional and behavioral problems as adults. Risk Factor shows how this happens. I think of it as my version of the Frankenstein story, only instead of making a fictional beast out of dead flesh, the beast is real.
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St. Martin’s Press
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