Duty to Warn: The Case of the Sunday School Killer
Duty to Warn is a psychological mystery based upon the client files from Mike Crawford, a licensed psychotherapist. Mike maintains a private practice in Denver, Colorado with a somewhat unusual specialty- individuals dealing with Religious Abuse and Wounding.
The book is mixed with humor and drama and explores secret identities, amnesia, a serial killer, amateur detective work and psychotherapy. More
Mike Crawford, a seasoned Psychotherapist with a private practice in Colorado specializes in counseling people dealing with religious abuse and wounding in their lives. In twenty year’s time, he has worked with many troubled individuals but never faced a disturbing, mystifying case like the one presented by his new client, Scott Rhoades.
Scott, a troubled, restless man is intrigued and challenged by several questions posed at Mike’s website, which he discovers while searching for a new therapist: Are you struggling with your faith? Have you been wounded by negative experiences with religion? Scott, a devout family man, and leader in his conservative mega-church answers yes to both questions and reluctantly begins therapy with Mike.
At first, Scott appears to be an average, middle-aged businessman who seeks counseling to deal with his struggling marriage and floundering religious faith but Mike soon discovers his client is a man with a separate identity made up of forbidden vices that lead to danger.
Real Trouble begins when Mike receives a frantic phone call from Scott in the early morning hours, placed from a ransacked, shady motel room. Scott swears to Mike that he has no idea how he got there or why he has blood stains on his shirt and a nasty gash on his arm. Mike is unsure what to think, wondering whether his client is honestly experiencing memory loss and if so, why?
Over the next several months, Mike must face similar questions about Scott as his behavior darkens and his story keeps changing. Scott first denies, then admits that he has started drinking heavily and picking up women for sex in cheap bars in a seedy part of town.
During the same time period that Fall, someone is killing young women and disposing of their remains in smoldering garbage dumpsters in the same neighborhood as the bars that Scott frequents. The murders always take place early on Sunday mornings, leading the police to label the predator, The Sunday School Killer.
As Mike works with Scott, his suspicions grow that Scott is lying to him about his situation. Normally, that conduct in a client living a double life wouldn’t surprise Mike. He realizes Scott has much to lose if his secret life is discovered by his family and co-members of Family Warriors, a conservative “pro-family” organization to which he belongs. Still, Mike can’t shake a fear building inside himself -- Could Scott be the serial killer?
Without tangible proof or a confession, Mike is caught in a terrible predicament. He must find a way to prove Scott's innocence, or guilt while maintaining client confidentiality concerning his past deeds. If Scott isn’t a murderer, then Mike could ruin his life by publicly accusing him of such but if he is a serial killer, then Mike is enabling him to continue the carnage. Mike must determine whether Scott presents an imminent danger to others, signaling a Duty to Warn.
Mike turns to his colleague and good friend, Cynthia, as a confidant and aide in his quest for the truth. Together, they explore psychological ideas and possibilities that could explain Scott’s odd tale. They decide that he probably either a cold-blooded psychopath; suffering from a severe trauma that has created memory loss; or both.
Mike begins receiving ominous, threatening emails and phone calls concerning the work that he does with religious wounding. He figures the messages are related to the publicity he is receiving about a new support group for his clients but as he pushes Scott for answers, he questions whether his client may be the intimidating source, seeking him from probing further for the truth -- one way or another.
Desperate to either help his client or stop a killer, Mike finds himself increasingly stepping outside the norms of his work as a psychotherapist, placing himself in the middle of a dangerous, twisted game with Scott. He must trust his mysterious client to lead him to the truth, even if it kills him.
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