THE MADMAN’S TALE (Psychological Thriller) - Ex
John Katzenbach – 10th non-fiction
Ballantine Books, 2004 – Hardcover
Francis Xavier Petrel, named C-Bird by his former fellow inmates at Western State Hospital, is now living on this own. But an invitation to the hospital, closed for 20 years, being made a museum, draws Francis back, both to the place and the memories of the events, people and murders there.
An incredible book which draws you in and keeps you there to the very end, this is not a quick airplane read, but the type of book one savors. The descriptions of the inmates and life within the hospital are wonderfully done, but never with a sense of pity or condescension, nor are the administrators and doctors stereotypical “bad guys.” Francis is a hero unlike any other in an environment where “normal” does not apply. This is, to me, Katzenbach’s best yet.