A Book Spy Review: ‘Incarnate’ By Josh Stolberg


Dr. Kim Patterson is a brilliant psychiatric doctor who has one serious flaw–she’s known to get too involved with her patients, often breaking rules to find out-of-the-box ways to help them. While her actions have cost her several jobs with different hospitals, the constant change of scenery means there is nothing that Kim hasn’t seen…until she meets nineteen-year-old Scarlett Hascall.

Scarlett is a troubled young girl who is brought to the psychiatric floor of a small Alaska hospital that Kim works at. While everyone else thinks she has serious behavior issues and a serious case of bipolar disorder, Kim sees through the easy answers and makes the correct diagnosis for her patient, Dissociative Identity Disorder, commonly known as multiple personality disorder.

Problem is, Scarlett is not technically her patient–though that won’t stop Kim from helping the girl, even if it gets her into trouble. 

Things take a wild turn, though, when Scarlett takes on the identities of several people who have gone missing from the small town of Jarvis. One of her identities, “Izzy,” is clearly reminiscent of Isabel Wilcox–who police are looking for after she recently disappeared. Kim insists that her patient doesn’t really know anything about Isabel Wilcox, but certain things Izzy says about the girl’s disappearance add up, leading police to believe that Scarlett was somehow involved in the crime. 

Kim remains adamant that her patient isn’t a murderer, but rather suffering from a serious condition and that police shouldn’t take what she says too seriously. She’s so sure, in fact, that she chooses to risk her entire career to help Scarlett–who continues channeling the identities of other missing people, including that of a little boy named Henry who vanished two decades ago.

Unable to medically explain how Scarlett could know so much about these missing people, Kim’s only remaining theory is one based not on science, but something too strange to be taken seriously by authorities.

Believing that Scarlett is somehow channeling the spirits of multiple missing persons, Kim risks everything to prove the impossible.

While the dialogue falls a tad flat at times and the pacing is inconsistant, the story starts fast and hooks readers right away. Josh Stolberg does a fine job keeping readers confused but curious. As the story moves forward, readers will be torn between wanting to believe that Scarlett is somehow communicating with the dead and wondering if she’s playing everyone and is secretly a criminal mastermind.

Book Details

Author: Josh Stolberg
Pages: 352 (Hardcover)
ISBN: 1501136577
Publisher: Atria/Emily Bestler Books
Release Date: July 25, 2017
Book Spy Rating: 6/10
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