Dominique Stein is beautiful, young and Jewish. Her sanity is overly dependent on external cues: chameleon-like. She wakes up every morning at 5:59:59. She weighs in at exactly 111 lbs., her snug palindrome. These are her "friends." They keep her safe. Then, it all explodes, and she finds herself desperately searching to find a way back inside that cozy bubble of sanity.
Lost, her bearings off and wobbly, she discovers that her instincts are not functioning as they should. Crimes are committed, and not everyone survives. Found “not guilty” by virtue of temporary insanity, she is sent to a psychiatric prison for women. There, she is caught between the kind, serene Freudian analyst, Dr. Haddad, and the head of the institute, the manic, megalomaniacal Dr. du Chevre, who offers her the Faustian contract: be the subject for his secretive, odd research, and he’ll get her out of prison earlier. Dominique has to navigate her way out of this maze of institutional insanity while also trying to survive the random explosive violence of the women's prison.In this psychological thriller, Gary Dvorkin crafts a compelling story of love, betrayal and reality-shifting anxiety. Dominique hears many voices in her life. But which one can she trust? Which voice will ransom her sanity?
As Dominique drove back to her apartment, she had no idea how fast she was going. Her two fists rhythmically smashed down on top of the steering wheel. She could hardly see the traffic through her tears.
“I am going crazy! Somebody, please! Please! Please! Please!”
She almost choked on her saliva. She started to cough so violently that she felt like throwing up. She wanted to throw up. On herself, in her car. She wanted to feel and smell the particulate food matter vomitus all over her clothes.
“I have nothing! Nothing!”
She thought of turning the car around, returning to Suzie and Edwin’s house, begging for forgiveness, and joining their family. Going to church. Seeing people! The intense envy she felt toward Suzie quickly mutated into hatred. She knew she could not turn her car around. She would have to return to her empty apartment, her empty life, and wander the streets again.
“I can’t do this!” she wailed.
“Dominique, you need to get a job!”
“Phyllis! Oh, thank God!”
“Sweetheart. Calm down. Everything is going to be all right. I promise you.”
“Oh, if I could only believe you. Oh, Phyllis. Thank God, you came back.”
“I’m never away from you, Dominique. You know that.”
A sharp tone had returned to Phyllis’s voice. Dominique braced herself but plowed ahead anyway.
“Sometimes . . . you’re not . . . very nice to me.”
“Sometimes, Dominique, you’re a bit of a wimp and you need a good kick in the ass! Now don’t go all gushy on me now. Listen! I know how you will get out of this mess!”
“Yes, I do. ‘Liebe und arbeit.’”
“Listen. Remember what Freud said. About sanity. He was asked for the definition of sanity, and he responded by saying, ‘Liebe und arbeit. Work and love. If you can work and love, you are sane.’”
“Maybe I should work on love first.”
“You can’t be loved until you work.”
“Think about it. Would you fall in love with a man if he told you that he did nothing? That he hadn’t decided what to do with his life?”
“Then start with arbeit. Liebe will follow. Get a job.”
So Dominique became a truck driver.
Ransom’s Voice Endorsements:
“A superb exploration of sanity’s dark corridors, recounted with grace, intelligence and biting irony. This is a book to be savored.”
-Arthur Holden, Goodreads
“It was the most suspenseful, thrilling tale of a young woman’s transformation in the hands of her captors’ professional routine. Every chapter brought unexpected twists; every move Dominique took presented a different side of her complex character. I teach drama at a local high school. I could not help but think of my senior students. As part of my curriculum, I work on character development. What an amazing learning experience it would be to analyze a scene from the novel. Extremely visual, with thrilling turns, but at the end, a fully accessible human story.”
-Kati Kemeny, Goodreads
“Ransom’s Voice is a taut, cerebral thriller with a wicked sense of humor. This debut novel succeeds as both an inventive page-turner and a complex exploration of sanity and reality, with echoes of Patricia Highsmith’s dark suspense and Carl Hiaasen’s laugh-out-loud dialogue. In both story and tone, Ransom’s Voice surprises, shocks and delights in equal measure.”
-Charlie Delfield, Amazon
“This book was a rollercoaster ride from beginning to end. What I love about Dvorkin’s book is that every time I was sure that I knew what was coming up next, I was constantly surprised to see the book turn in a direction that I wasn’t expecting. This book gave me a very interesting glimpse into the human psyche. It’s very controversial at times and really gets you thinking! I highly recommend it!!!”
About the Author:
Debut author Gary Dvorkin, M.D., has been working as a practicing neurologist in Montréal, Canada for more than thirty years. He earned his medical degree at the University of Alberta. Born and raised in Edmonton, Alberta, he currently makes his home in Montréal, Québec with his wife. He has one daughter. Unlike his reading interests in history and biography, Dvorkin prefers to write fiction books, and his first novel, Ransom’s Voice (Brown Books Publishing Group), was released on February 23, 2016.