Kat Kahn is a young woman, seeking to connect with her birth parents. Charles Prinzmetal is a respected, Shakespeare-quoting senior psychoanalyst with a dark secret. They are on a collision course in this suspenseful tale of deception and murder. Engaging characters, humor, a fast-moving plot, and an insider’s view of psychoanalysis make Boundary Violations a compelling and entertaining read. More
Shakespeare-loving Charles Prinzmetal is an elder statesman of American psychoanalysis, a staunch defender of Freudian orthodoxy and a rigid arbiter of the profession’s ethical standards. However, he harbors a dark secret: earlier in his career he had an affair with a patient, and the patient became pregnant. Prinzmetal arranged for the child to be adopted by old friends, Cynthia and Alfred Kahn, concealing his paternity in the process. Now the Kahns are seeking his help for their daughter – his child.
When Kat Kahn was eighteen years old, Cynthia and Alfred revealed to her that they had adopted her at birth. At that point the feisty, self-confident young woman began a downward slide. When she moved from San Francisco to Boston to teach art at a private school, she developed incapacitating symptoms of anxiety and depression. At that point, her adoptive parents asked their friend, Charles Prinzmetal, to help her.
Prinzmetal agrees to see Kat in consultation, hoping to help her without compromising his secret. However by correctly interpreting Kat’s symptoms as stemming from her conflicts around her adoption, his consultation inadvertently launches her on the quest to discover the identities of her birth parents that may prove to be his undoing.
After seeing Kat, Prinzmetal arranges her treatment in a way that he believes will ensure that his identity as her birth father remains hidden. He refers Kat to Andrew Goldberg, a junior psychoanalyst whom he supervises, intending to direct Kat’s treatment to his advantage by using his supervisory sessions to manipulate the hero-worshiping Goldberg. Unfortunately for Prinzmetal, his stratagem fails. Instead of harmlessly “working through” her adoption conflicts on the analytic couch, Kat becomes convinced that she must actively seek out her birth parents, thereby setting herself on the potential collision course that Prinzmetal hoped to avert.
Initially discouraged, but eventually encouraged by the hapless Goldberg, Kat tenaciously pursues the quest that brings her ever closer to discovering Prinzmetal’s identity as her birth father. Terrified of ruin, Prinzmetal employs increasingly desperate measures to protect himself against exposure. But even the series of murders that he orchestrates to cover his trail does not deter Kat. She and her boyfriend, Will Blake, follow the evidence to an inevitable showdown with Prinzmetal.