Literature | item #4
God, Sex & Psychosis
When criminal psychologist Mira Skyles is assigned by a court order to evaluate Egon Norwood, a person of interest in a serial killer case, she recognizes both a man with a dissociative identity disorder and the boy who once saved her life, with whom she shares a secret history.
Egon Norwood is a master of illusion, a brilliant street artist who is mentally unraveling. His life is punctuated by blackouts. He transforms himself into statues that come to life, before perishing. He has perfected the art of dying on stage. His estranged twin sister, Faye, is a performer too, whose concept of fun and her uninhibited behavior has made enemies – people who want her dead.
Mira Skyles works with neurotics, pathological liars and psychopaths. On the surface, she performs admirably and is a highly-respected criminal psychologist. But she struggles with inner demons. She is evaluating a suspected serial killer assigned to her by court order. He is mysterious and charming. Against her better judgement, Mira finds herself falling in love.
The novel is divided into three sections. Part One, the thematic overture, highlights the formative years of Egon and his twin sister, Faye, both traumatized by an abusive father. Part Two illustrates the fragmented points of view of both siblings, now adults, being analyzed by Mira, a court-appointed psychotherapist struggling with her own inner demons. In her effort to help Egon and Faye, she becomes enthralled by their multiple personalities and gradually is charmed and seduced by their artistry. Against her better judgment, she falls in love with her patient. Part Three is Mira’s story, told as a confessional. How she was gang-raped at age twelve and scarred by her attackers; how her rage manifested into a quest for revenge which caused two deaths at the college she had attended; and how these incidents are connected to the murders taking place in San Francisco. Egon realizes Mira is a damaged soul too. When they were adolescents, she had asked him to lie about her rape. Her disclosure of more deception and vigilante justice prompts Egon to wonder who she really is. Given his history of blackouts, Egon has trust issues himself. He tells Mira she has successfully fused his personalities, though this is suspect. Mira assures Egon he is not the serial killer. She knows this because she tells him she killed the perpetrator, a man who’d been stalking her. Who is telling the truth? Mira wants to believe Egon is not a danger to her, as does Egon want to believe this woman he loves is not a psychopath.
The poem In a Dark Time, by Theodore Roethke, says, “What is madness but nobility of soul at odds with circumstance?” This epigraph sums up the epic struggle these protagonists face. I believe, we are all a bit crazy and comprised of varying personalities. God, Sex & Psychosis aims to demonstrate this premise by telling a story that entertains, educates, and inspires.