Under Her Care by Lucinda Berry

Published: June 1, 2022

Thomas & Mercer

Pages: 279

Genre: Thriller

KKECReads Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

This title was a free selection for May’s Amazon First Reads through Amazon Prime.

Dr. Lucinda Berry is a former clinical psychologist and leading researcher in childhood trauma. Now, she spends her days writing full-time, where she uses her clinical experience to blur the line between fiction and nonfiction. She enjoys taking her readers on a journey through the dark recesses of the human psyche. Her work has been optioned for film and translated into multiple languages. If Berry isn’t chasing after her son, you can find her running through Los Angeles, prepping for her next marathon.

On a humid summer day in Alabama, a mayor’s wife turns up brutally murdered under a railroad bridge. Standing next to her body is fourteen-year-old Mason Hill, the autistic son of former Miss USA Genevieve Hill. The locals are quick to level their verdict on young Mason: he did it.
The town detective calls in local autism expert Casey Walker to consult on the case. At first, Casey tries to keep an open mind. But the more time she spends with Genevieve, the more her unease grows, and she suspects that Genevieve is doing more than just protecting her son.
Casey’s misgivings surrounding Genevieve’s story only intensify when she meets Savannah, Genevieve’s nineteen-year-old daughter. Savannah, as it turns out, has some disturbing secrets of her own. But as Casey dives ever deeper into the Hill family dynamic, her search for the truth leads to another shocking murder―one that shatters her understanding of the human condition in ways she never imagined.

“…but this has to end, and we’re ending it on my terms.”

Casey Walker is just as shocked as anyone about the mayor’s wife being murdered, but she doesn’t understand why the police want to speak with her. Until Casey is told that the prime suspect is a juvenile who happens to be on the autism spectrum- which is where Casey comes in. Casey wants to protect and advocate for the child- she has no idea that she is just a pawn in a much darker game.

I finished reading this book a couple of hours ago, but I needed to take some time to process it before writing my review.

In a classic Lucinda Berry way, this book was emotional, frustrating, sad, shocking, and contained several twists that left me staring at my book.

The cast of characters was pretty small, but boy, were these folks a doozy. I like Casey; she has a good heart and genuinely wants to help. Intelligent and passionate, she is the advocate to have.

Genevieve was a force to be reckoned with in every way. A devoted mother, not afraid to use her voice for her cause, intense and considered old money, is the Queen B of this little town.

Sweet Savannah, who just wanted to be loved. Who observed but didn’t speak out, intelligent and sweet but filled with anger from her past.

I enjoyed how this story was told, the alternating narrators, and perspectives was a brilliant way to tell this story. I also enjoyed how Genevieve and Casey are meant to be very similar but also completely different. That tension was very well done.

The story moved at a nice pace, building more and more as the plot thickened. Something I love about Lucinda as an author is that her books always have a very real centralized plot point, and that always guarantees I will learn things I did not know.

I am not knowledgeable when it comes to ASD, so it was interesting reading about the various treatments/therapies/tests used to help assess these kids and then the practices for helping the kids be happy and healthy.

I loved how compassionate and kind Casey was, a hardworking, intelligent single mom doing her best. She was a great character to watch evolve.

I did not see things working out the way they did; the twists were well done. I was shocked. Well played, Berry!

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