“The Institution” by Helen Fields – Book Review

I’m worn out. This novel was one of the most intense novels I’ve ever read.

Set in a very isolated, maximum security prison hospital, the novel was so claustrophobic that I longed to leave there… but not before I found out what happened of course. The place was so very remote that staff had to live in, making it a prison for the people who worked there as well. We don’t know where the Institution was, only that it was a mountainous region, maybe Austria? Switzerland?

The protagonist, Dr. Connie Woolwine was very believable and admirable, yet she wasn’t without her own personal demons.

An incredibly brutal and grotesque crime has been carried out. Everyone who resides at the Institution is suspect, both inmates, and staff. Dr. Connie and her partner Baarda (an investigator and retired policeman) have entered the Institution under cover. She as a visiting psychologist, and he as an inmate.

Their time under the Institution’s roof is gut-wrenchingly tense, fraught with peril and suspicion. No one can be trusted.

A book of manipulative, psychotic minds, of brutal and graphic descriptions of crime, and of the altruistic and brave people who are willing to risk their own personal safety to solve a barbaric crime and save the life of an innocent.

As if things weren’t disturbing and nerve-shattering enough, a vicious storm comes and makes all who reside at the Institution at the mercy of nature, and even more isolated than they were before…

Nerve-jarring suspense ratchets up to almost unbearable tension as plot twists reveal some very real monsters.

Though this is the second novel to feature Dr. Connie Woolwine and investigator Baarda, it reads excellently as a stand-alone. That being said, I would at some point like to read “The Shadow Man”, the first novel in which they appear.

Highly recommended to those who enjoy very intense thrillers who are not in any way squeamish. The story was compelling and kept me riveted from first page to last.

This review was written voluntarily and my rating was in no way influenced by the fact that downloaded a complimentary digital copy of this novel from Avon Books UK via NetGalley.

Publication date: March 2, 2023  Publisher: Avon Books UK

ISBN: 9780008533496 ASIN: ‎ B0B85RCGXM   432 pages

Helen Fields’ first love was drama and music. From a very young age she spent all her free time acting and singing until law captured her attention as a career path. She studied law at the University of East Anglia, then went on to the Inns of Court School of Law in London.

After completing her education, she joined chambers in Middle Temple where she practiced criminal and family law for thirteen years. Undertaking cases that ranged from Children Act proceedings and domestic violence injunctions, to large scale drug importation and murder, Helen spent years working with the police, CPS, Social Services, expert witnesses and in Courts Martials.

After her second child was born, Helen left the Bar. Together with her husband David, she went on to run Wailing Banshee Ltd, a film production company, acting as script writer and producer.

Helen self-published two fantasy books as a way of testing herself and her writing abilities. She enjoyed the creative process so much that she began writing in a much more disciplined way, and decided to move into the traditional publishing arena through an agent.

The Last Girl To Die” is set in Scotland, where Helen feels most at one with the world.

Beyond writing, she has a passion for theatre and cinema, often boring friends and family with lengthy reviews and critiques. Taking her cue from her children, she has recently taken up karate and indoor sky diving. Helen and her husband now live in Hampshire with their three children and two dogs.

Connect with Helen Fields via her Website, Twitter, or Instagram.

About Fictionophile

Fiction reviewer ; Goodreads librarian. Retired library cataloger - more time to read! Loves books, gardening, and red wine. I have been a reviewer member of NetGalley since October 2013. I review titles offered by Edelweiss, and participate in blog tours with TLC Book Tours.
This entry was posted in Book Reviews, NetGalley, Page turners, Psychological thrillers, Suspense and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to “The Institution” by Helen Fields – Book Review

  1. Carla says:

    This sounds absolutely gripping, Lynne. Great review.


  2. Ooooft, this one sounds INTENSE! I am definitely curious 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Marilyn Charpentier says:

    This sounds amazing, my kind of book

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Carol says:

    Now you need some uplit!

    Liked by 1 person

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