Review: Strong Medicine

Strong Medicine - J. K. Hogan

This was quite good, but I did feel as if something was missing. I can’t quite put my finger on it though.

Cameron has been sentenced to help out in a mental health center after a DUI arrest. He needs to help out for a year and also join in on group therapy. Cameron knows it’s for the best, so he tries to make the best of it. Especially when his father, also his manager, kicks him out of the family band.

It is there that he meets 23 year old Jonah. Jonah, who admits himself to the institution twice a year, when his episodes get the better of him. Jonah suffers from hallucinations and severe nightmares due to a trauma from his childhood. That trauma was so extreme, he refuses to talk about it. He just tries to get through his episodes so he won’t hurt anyone and then gets back to his reclusive life.

Cameron feels attracted to Jonah from the first day, and it appears to be mutual. But they both know nothing can come of it while Cameron is staff and Jonah a patient.

They develop a friendship instead, but after a stolen kiss, they are caught and forbidden to see each other anymore. Jonah knows he has to get better if he wants a chance at something with Cameron, so he knows he has no choice but to open up about his horrific childhood...

This book has all the ingredients for a 5 star book for me. A traumatized person, a mental institution, group therapy sessions, a forbidden romance, and some horrifying hallucinations that will give you the chills. But despite all of this, it didn’t live up to its full potential. I’m not sure why though…

I think it was the romance. Perhaps it wasn’t romantic enough. I did admire the way J.K. Hogan handled Jonah’s mental illness. Love doesn’t cure everything! Cameron and Jonah spend some time apart during several stages in this book, and that was necessary for Jonah to try to at least get a bit better. But I felt as if the foundation for the relationship wasn’t quite where I wanted it to be by then. I felt as if they hadn’t seen each other all that much before the separation(s).

What I did like was the horror aspect of the story. I’m going to spoil what happened to Jonah, so if you don’t want to know, stop reading now.

Jonah’s father was a serial killer, who abducted Jonah when he was 5. He held Jonah in his basement for two years while he tortured and killed several people. Some upstairs, some in the basement with Jonah. So yeah, Jonah was pretty traumatized! And since Jonah has flashbacks to seeing people without eyes (his father liked to take their eyes while they were still alive), that was pretty gruesome. But I liked how that all played a pretty big role in the story.

Overall, this was quite a good story, but I think I wanted a bit more emotion within the relationship. A bit more ‘I NEED you, I WANT you.’