Animus by Joseph Eastburn

Animus by Joseph Eastburn is subtitled ‘A Jungian Mystery’. Eastburn explains: “It’s a mystery/thriller driven not by the conventions of the genre, but by the world of Jungian thought — or both.” But you don’t need to be a Jungian therapist, like Gar Moody who is the hero of this story, to be able to read or understand this book. The Jungian element simply adds another intriguing layer to a very exciting thriller that keeps you on your toes to the very end. However, it is helpful to know that ‘animus’ means not only ‘motive’ and ‘hatred’, but also, in Jungian theory, ‘the masculine inner personality of a woman’. The action begins when two of Moody’s patients are kidnapped and their hair wash. One is returned alive, confused and traumatised. But not Deanna, who is murdered. Moody discovers another connection between them, other than his being their therapist. As he investigates further, things become darker and more dangerous.

I enjoyed this fast-paced novel, set in Los Angeles, and peopled by a cast of complex, interesting characters. These include Moody himself, his troubled patients, law enforcement officers, a Mythologist, a pathologist, a psychoanalyst, one or two cats, and above all, the mysterious Watcher, who perpetrates the crimes. And Finn, Moody’s girlfriend who committed suicide, but whom he still sees and hears. It’s an exciting read, packed with emotion. It’s a complicated story, but not too complicated. The Jungian mystery is a new genre that this author has invented. Thank goodness he has, because Animus is a very successful, innovative and satisfying book that challenges and entertains in equal measure.


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