Ohio-based author McGinnis turns from her previous well received forays into weather dystopia (Not a Drop to Drink and In a Handful of Dust) to a different kind of dystopia—the lot of a strong-minded woman in 19th century America. This Gothic historical thriller follows Grace as she is sent from her home in Boston to an asylum in Ohio, where a doctor enlists her aid in solving a series of women’s murders.
Madeleine Roux, author of the bestselling Asylum series, is a fan and explains the appeal:
Brutal, relentless, and haunting. Every character in A Madness So Discreet is more colorful and unforgettable than the last. Behind the grime and darkness is a story of unlikely triumph and connection. You can feel the mountains of research that went into creating this world and these characters, but you can also feel a deeply personal story unfolding. With a realistic, emotionally complex, and clever heroine, readers will find themselves rooting for Grace from page one. There are parts that will make you flinch. I mean really flinch. I mean put it down, turn on all the lights in the house, and make a cup of comforting tea flinch. But you’ll come back. I did. Again and again I came back, even through the grim opening chapters. You have to. Grace’s story and McGinnis’s style are too gripping to ignore.”
Reviewers agree that it is Grace’s story that makes this thriller shine.
“Grace’s story shines. Every person she encounters, mad or trapped by the label of madness, feels achingly real. Readers will wish they could watch her and Thornhollow solve murders for pages and pages more. A dark study of the effects of power in the wrong hands, buoyed by a tenacious heroine and her colorful companions.”
— Kirkus Reviews
“Grace’s personal struggles to find her own place and influence her own story mirror the historical struggles of women throughout history. Fans of period pieces and crime dramas will be pleased with this haunting tale.”
— School Library Journal
“A Madness So Discreet is a dark and gripping historical thriller that dances on the fine line between madness and sanity. I love how asylums were handled–historically accurate but not used as an emotional cheap trick. I was thrilled by our narrator, who is mute for half the book, and yet is completely alive and vibrant on every page; that was impressive to pull off. The way Grace struggled with her emotions was complex and illuminating.”
–Brittany Jackson, Joseph-Beth Booksellers, Lexington, KY
A Madness So Discreet (9780062320865) Mindy McGinnis. $17.99 hardcover. 10/6/16 on sale.