Title: The Disturbing Incidents at Lonesome Woods Boarding School
Author: Dr. Harper
Genre: Psychological Horror
Number of Pages: 176
It made me sad to give The Disturbing Incidents at Lonesome Woods Boarding School a bad review, because I enjoyed all the ‘I’m a Therapist…’ books and I really wanted to like this too. Dr. Harper is such an interesting and fun character and I was totally into the idea of exploring his past through a prequel. This book… had so many problems. It felt like it was written in a rush. All of the books in this series strain credulity, but usually I can get past that. This time I just couldn’t. The plot of this book was driving me crazy because it could have been so much better.
A little background for those of you who aren’t familiar with the series- ‘Dr. Harper’ is a fictional character who previously appeared in the books I’m a Therapist and My Patient is Going to Be the Next School Shooter, I’m a Therapist and My Patient is In Love With a Pedophile, and I’m a Patient and My Patient is a Vegan Terrorist.
He’s a curmudgeonly and troubled mental health professional who deals with some of the most extreme cases, and his tendency to not play by the rules gets him into a lot of trouble. He’s also an openly gay man with little to no luck in the romance department. This book follows Dr. Harper as a very young man when he goes to a creepy boarding school and gets embroiled in a series of bizarre acts of violence.
The students seem to be being brainwashed and forced to do progressively depraved things, and Dr. Harper connects these incidents to the death of the headmaster’s son years before. Right off the bat I couldn’t figure out why these students keep going to this school. People keep getting murdered! The headmaster claims he’s trying to keep them safe but they shouldn’t be going to this school in the first place, waiting for the next terrible thing to happen.
Do these kids even have parents? Dr. Harper also has a love interest, which is great. I mean, we know it’s not going to work out but the love interest himself isn’t the problem. When Dr. Harper is older and more jaded, it makes sense that he balances the craziness of his professional life with wanting to make things work with different guys. But in this book it just feels tonally wrong- one moment these kids are stabbing themselves with forks and jumping to their deaths and the next Dr. Harper is like Ooh, this guy has nice abs.
The sexual content is way more explicit than Dr. Harper’s flirtation with his love interest Noah in the other books. I don’t have a problem with him being gay but I don’t really like explicit sex in fiction. It feels kind of trashy especially when it’s clear that Dr. Harper’s priorities should really be elsewhere. The twist at the end also suggests that Dr. Harper is downright delusional instead of just troubled and it feels pretty forced. It’s not that this book isn’t entertaining; it was still fun to read but I still had a shitload of problems with it. If you like this series I guess it might still be worth reading but it’s definitely not the one to start out with.