Good Reading dips into the first few pages of The Near Daphne Experience by Alison Reynolds to give you a taste of what’s to come.
Meet Daphne Buckley, a psychiatrist in search of a great love. He hasn’t turned up yet. But surely he will. He could be any one of the respondents to her old-fashioned ‘looking for love’ classified. He could be one of the men her overbearing mother tries to set her up with, or even someone she already knows. It doesn’t matter. Daphne is determined and brainy and prepared to bend all the rules. With old school friend Celeste by her side and her mother’s grooming tips for unkempt leg hair, love is likely just around the corner. Whether Daphne deserves it is another question. And with a psychopath and serial killer lurking, how far she’ll go to get it is the biggest question of all.
LETTER FROM JONATHAN CULLINAN TO HIS MOTHER, CONFISCATED BY DR D BUCKLEY
I hope you can find it in your heart to read this letter. I know in court you yelled out ‘He’s no son of mine’, but the psychiatrist here is trying to explain things to me and how everybody says things they don’t mean when they’re out of their comfort zone.
My psychiatrist – have I told you her name is Daphne, like the flower? – says that I shouldn’t be angry; instead I should forgive you for the hurtful things you said. It really is all right that you shouted out you never wanted to see me again. It’s because you find it hard to cope with new experiences like the trial and courtroom and everything.
You’ve never liked being faced with a new situation and not knowing how to act. Daphne is tall and her legs are sturdy with stray long dark hairs.
She often wears shorts so I see them. I wonder if it would offend her if I suggest she shaves them. Perhaps she would let me smooth away the hairs with a razor that is so sharp it leaves a thin red line behind but no pain.
Your loving son, Jonathan
Patient: Jonathan Cullinan
• Patient beginning to express unresolved issues with mother as per attached letter Showing psychopathic and narcissistic tendencies
• High-level medication – 1200 mg/day for CBZ and 900 mg/day for lithium
• Cognitive behavioural therapy once/day
• Working with Jonathan to try & encourage to forgive mother and to develop empathy Instructions • High-security measures must be adopted – patient only allowed in general areas when accompanied by orderly
• All computer privileges prohibited
• All telephone contact prohibited
• All correspondence to be confiscated and given to medical supervisor Dr D Buckley
Note to Self
Must wear long pants.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Alison Reynolds lives by the sea in Melbourne with her family and a heater-hogging, dentally challenged dog named Rosie. After a long career writing children’s books, her debut adult novel, The Near Daphne Experience was released in June 2022. Alison decided to concentrate on writing after a series of mediocre jobs, including working for the most curmudgeonly boss in Melbourne. She has a Masters of Creative Arts and is excellent at drinking coffee, braving Victoria’s icy seas and losing herself in books.