Breath Work is a fictional look at how New Age therapies can go exceptionally wrong and the lengths people will go to defend their belief in the benefits provided by them. Set in a small town in Vermont, local sheriff Jake Frazier finds himself investigating the murders of two New Age female therapists, both killed the same day, but in different locations. Like many New England towns, Oak Pond has a mix of native-born and recently transplanted residents, and there is fair amount of tension between the two groups. Oak Pond has also become a center for alternative therapy, with a number of people having vested interests in keeping these murders quiet, if not unsolved. Frazier not only needs help in solving the crimes, but also in keeping the peace between the two groups and in keeping his position as elected sheriff.
After the unfortunate deaths last year in the Sedona, Arizona, sweat lodge during a motivational event, Breath Work is timely story exploring some of the more dangerous “treatments” offered by self-help gurus and therapists. Because much of these treatments are done in groups or after months or years of mental programming, many of the victims are unable or unwilling to speak out about abuse they’ve experienced or seen. Byrd has created realistic characters, a lively plot, and well-researched background for the story. The dialog rings true, and the Vermont setting makes one want to visit during the Spring. Breath Work is an enjoyable mystery about an unfortunate subject that routinely crops up in the headlines.
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|Mystery, Crime, Thriller