Dr. Augustus (Gus) Conrad is a famous psychiatrist and professor at Stanford. An expert in suicide and violence, and dedicated to the rights of psychiatric patients, Conrad is single, rich, an exotic car aficionado, owner of an Aston Martin, and a committed Anglophile, having studied at Cambridge. When he is called to consult for the U.S. army because of their growing epidemic of suicides and PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) among soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, his problems begin.
Suddenly, the police come to arrest him at his medical office in Palo Alto, framed for murdering one of his own patients. He escapes with the help of the patient’s mother, Libby Warburton, before the police can arrest him. Together, they hide out briefly at his family’s summer home in Lake Arrowhead briefly where she informs him that clues left by her son before his death lead her to believe that the answers to who is the real killer and why he was killed, reside in England, where her son visited just before his death. While there, her son uncovered long hidden family secrets about her great grandfather, a British infantry officer in World War I, who was said to have committed suicide in a psychiatric hospital during the war.
Now Conrad and Warburton must find the real killer as they slip out of the country to Cambridge, England, where they solicit the help of Conrad’s old mentor, a don at Cambridge University and patron of the World War One Archives of the British government. There they uncover to their horror the practice over the past century that both the British and U.S. armies secretly killed their own soldiers who claimed psychological problems following combat, deeming them cowards, making their deaths look like combat casualties or suicides.
The current head of the American death squad apparently has not only killed Warburton’s son (Conrad’s patient), making it look like a murder by Conrad, but has also been targeting Conrad himself for death, and now Libby. Following the clues from Cambridge to the Bedlam Hospital in London and finally to the Imperial War Museum, Conrad and Warburton are shocked when they discover that Libby’s great grandfather did not commit suicide after all, but was executed by the British army as a coward when the army successfully made it look like suicide. Before his death, Libby’s son had the proof of this and of the continuing activities of the American death squad, and now Libby and Conrad have it. Will Conrad and Warburton be able get back to the U.S. to expose the practice of armies killing their own soldiers they deem cowards? Can they stop the rogue leader of the American death squad before they themselves are killed?
Shell Shock is a stunning debut novel by a best-selling textbook author and world famous psychiatrist, sure to capture your interest and outrage and leave you yearning for more.