Seven years ago, Zane Black was a rich playboy whose image was splashed around TV and tabolids alike. When the young CEO was arrested and tried for the murder of three people, media coverage reached a frenzy and it only stopped once he was behind bars in a high security prison. When a young psychologist named Quinn turns up at the prison, Zane’s interest is sparked. All Quinn wants with Greenwood prison is to secure enough subjects to conduct an exploratory study on human psychology. Working with convicted murderers doesn’t faze him…with the exception of the notoriously dangerous Zane Black. Just meeting with Zane has Quinn on edge like none of the other inmates. When Zane starts showing interest in Quinn, Quinn struggles to reconcile the clever, observant man with the hardened criminal he knows Zane to be. Yet as Quinn’s study progresses, he can’t help but start falling for the devilishly charming Zane—and it leaves Quinn wondering just who he’s getting involved with. Louise Collins does a bang up job painting Quinn as a rather green professional. We are introduced to Quinn as he makes his first visit to the prison to interview potential study subjects and the man is as nervous as can be—partly because he’s put himself in a position to require dangerous criminals as test subjects and partly because if this study goes tits up, he’ll have wasted the opportunity to get a jump start on his career as a professional. Throughout the book, Quinn is consistently described as being rather milquetoast—he works, he goes home, he hangs out with his cat. Yet he manages to snag the attention of Zane Black. On the down side, there is a huge “interest” gap between Zane and Quinn. The former is this enigmatic character who charms and fascinates.The latter doesn’t even seem to have a last name or professional ethics. Despite having low-level exasperation at Quinn, the trained psychologist, falling for every trick Zane throws at him, I enjoyed watching these two characters interact. Perhaps it’s because it’s so easy to imagine myself in Quinn’s shoes and be beside myself with secret pleasure that The Hot Guy is interested in me. Zane is a huge reason I was so attracted to the book. He is in prison for murdering three people and yet Zane has consistently held that he has absolutely zero recollection of the day he killed them. The lack of details surrounding the circumstances of the murder and Zane’s apparent amnesia at the critical moment seem to make him a prime candidate for Quinn’s study. When Zane comes face to face with the young psychologist, we see a playboy toying with a conquest—and it was pretty delicious to watch Zane work Quinn over. It kept me second guessing how genuine Zane’s motives were…was he truly interested in Quinn, or just playing with him because that’s what psychopaths do? One huge draw for me was the idea that, in our romantic pairing, Zane is both a murderer and stuck in prison, while Quinn is a free man. Even if Zane gets free, there’s still the issue of Quinn falling for a murderer. Watching Collins tease this thread out really made the book exciting for me. The way Quinn and Zane’s interview sessions play out, it seems clear that Quinn is out of his depth and that Zane is the one who is actually in charge. Over several sessions, Zane easily wheedles out tidbits of information and consistently proves he’s able to put pieces of the puzzle together to gain whatever information he’s after…and I’m just waiting for Zane to make a break for it. Even when I guessed the biggest “surprise” in the book well ahead of the on-page reveal, I found I really enjoyed reading the character-driven action unfold. And by the time the big climax rolls around, I was happy to go along for the ride. One bonus was that by late date in the story, I thought that Quinn finally shifted from just being the object of Zane’s desire to a more dimensional character thanks to how he expresses his doubt about how to move forward after the study ends. All in all, this is a delightful read with one super enigmatic and clever character paired with a down-to-earth guy.
No two criminals are alike, and Quinn knows this more than most. After months of stress and pleading, his study has been approved. His participants all reside under one roof: Greenwood Prison.
The men sitting opposite him have done awful things, but Quinn’s not there to judge; he’s there to work through a psychopath checklist.
He needs psychopaths for his study, and one participant fills him with more unease than the others.
Zane Black wears many faces, and Quinn has a hard time finding the real man behind the masks. He flirts, he manipulates, and boasts. He’s clever and takes control of their sessions. With all Quinn knows about psychopaths, he can’t stop his heart being seduced by this one.
When the study finishes, will Zane let Quinn go and move on, or will he leave Quinn with more questions?
Be Warned: m/m sex
Zane strolled into the office wearing his tight t-shirt that showed his ripped body. His hair was styled to perfection, and he smiled as he slid into the chair opposite. The grin on his face crinkled his eyes, and reminded Quinn of a cunning fox. There were many faces to Zane Black, and they all filled him with unease.
“I’m glad you trusted me and got rid of Mackie. How did he take it?”
“Better than you predicted.”
Zane smacked his lips and shrugged. “Looks like I’m number one now.”
Quinn narrowed his eyes. “I want to ask you about work relationships, business.”
“Okay, fire away.”
“You took over your dad’s company at a young age.”
“Did you feel pressured to do well?”
Zane flexed his face and turned away. “Not really. I was seen by my colleagues as a weak link, but I soon proved them wrong.”
“I lured them in with a naïve façade, then stabbed them in the back.”
“You sound almost proud.”
“It’s business. It’s all about confidence, forging relationships, then tearing them down at your convenience. I was brutal, and I made a killing.”
“Your work colleagues described you as two-faced.”
Zane laughed lightly and tipped his head back. “I’m sure they used stronger words than that, but yeah. Not just two faces, but many that I used to my advantage.”
“What was the end goal?”
“Make my dad proud, prove I could be who he wanted me to be, and I achieved that.”
“Power can be addicting.”
“Do you think you were addicted to it?”
“I like being in control. Of business, money, fast cars, conversation, sex. It’s always more fulfilling to be the one in charge.”
Quinn noted down Zane’s words, then looked up. Zane’s eyes were dark and froze Quinn in his seat.
“All this talk of power is getting me hot and bothered.”
“We can finish for today.”
“No, it’s just … with you here, I can’t help but think of sex. Being in control, driving you crazy.”
“I think it’s best the session ends here.”
Zane licked his lips, then smiled. “I had a dream about you last night, more a fantasy than a dream.”
“I don’t need to know about it—”
“It fits in with your topic of control. We were in this room, having sex.”
Quinn shook his head. “Not gonna happen.”
“I know, but in my fantasy, you were bent over the table, and I was pushing deep inside you. The sounds you were making … you loved me taking you apart, couldn’t get enough of my hands on you, and my cock throbbing between your cheeks.”
“Right enough.” Quinn brushed his papers together, and half fell on the floor.
“Have I got you flustered?” Zane smirked. “Are you stiffing up in your pants, too?”
“You need to leave.”
Zane pushed his chair back, and it scraped noisily on the floor until it hit the wall behind.
“What are you doing?”
Quinn’s mouth popped open, and he could barely breathe. Zane yanked the top of his joggers down revealing his firm cock. He gripped himself and groaned, knocking his head back into the wall.
“I know it was only a fantasy, but it felt so good inside you, tight and hot.”
Zane stroked from base to tip and swirled his thumb on the defined glans of his erection. Quinn’s own cock jolted in response, desperate to be free, but Quinn denied it, and turned to the panic button on the wall.
“You know you don’t really wanna do that,” Zane murmured.
Zane’s hand moved faster, firmer, drawing moisture from the tip that shined in the light. Quinn’s open mouth dried, and his pulse jackhammered in his neck. He darted a look to the window in the door, fearing someone would pass by.
Zane shushed him gently. “That’s why I’m back here. No one can see me, only you. You’re my private audience.”
Quinn tried to glare, or frown, or pull some face of disapproval, but instead his eyebrows twitched, and a shrill sound escaped his mouth. He could hear the wet slide, see the glistening layer of pre-cum being stroked into Zane’s red flesh, and it was driving him crazy. Quinn panted, and clutched his erection through his trousers.
“Stop,” he whimpered.
“I’ll stop when I finish, not long now. I can’t hold it in.”
Quinn looked up just in time to see Zane orgasm. He closed his eyes, the strings in his neck pulled tight, and his lips formed the name Quinn as he came. Lines of cum slapped down on the floor, thick, and shining, and Zane huffed and heaved as he squeezed the last drops from his cock.
“I’ve been saving it.”
“Wanted to impress you with my load. What could’ve been left inside you if we indulged in my fantasy.”
Quinn’s mouth bobbed like a fish. “That shouldn’t have happened.”
Zane leaned over, so he could peek under the table. “You’re hard.”
Quinn removed his hand from his crotch and pressed his palm to the table.
“Come over here, and I’ll sort you out.”
Quinn shook his head.
“No one can see us from here. Let me help you—”
Quinn stood up abruptly and grabbed the empty folder on the table. He held it to his crotch as he burst out the room. He didn’t lift his gaze high enough to look anyone in the eye, and found himself in the men’s toilet, stroking his cock until he came in a handful of tissue paper.
With an interest in psychology and a penchant for true crime, 'The Psychopath' by Louise Collins was a no brainer for me to pick up. Zane Black is imprisoned for life after being convicted of murdering three people. He’s one of the “scary people” in prison, as he seems so nice and normal – but clearly, he harbours dark secrets to belong in such a place. Quinn has invested a lot of time in preparing for his study, he needs to spend time interviewing and testing the worst types of murderers to prove his hypothesis – which is where he encounters Zane. Zane is attractive and compelling, and despite Quinn knowing he can’t get involved with a subject, let alone someone incarcerated for multiple murders, he finds himself drawn to the man. The attraction between the two is scorching, with some sweet and sultry interactions throughout the story. Louise Collins creates some dynamic conversation and very interesting tension as the reader tries to follow along with the Sherlock-like twists. 'The Psychopath' manages to navigate this tricky style with grace, and I thoroughly enjoyed trying to figure out where the plot was going…. It isn’t overly complicated, but very cleverly done. 'The Psychopath' is an insightful and sharp read without being too heavy. The dialogue is a highlight, with highly detailed descriptions of characters bringing the story to full life. Readers looking for an intelligent read with mystery and depth will be well satisfied with this book.
The blurb for this story intrigued me, but I’ll admit, I started reading not expecting to be wowed. A psychologist and a psychopath…how very Harley Quinn and the Joker, it just seemed too good to be true. But I thought the author did a great job with this story and I totally enjoyed it. The majority of the book is set in Greenwood Prison, where MC Quinn has approval to study seven serial killers, psychopaths who can charm their victims into a false sense of security. But even knowing that, Quinn is unprepared to deal with these seven men, some who scare him, some who disgust him, and some who he feels sorrow for. And one, one who he is attracted to despite his better judgment. But the trouble with these master manipulators, is you never know when you’re being played. Did I say Joker and Harley Quinn? It also felt kinda Hannibal and Clarice with the games that Zane enjoyed playing with our wide eyed psychologist. I could absolutely picture Zane demanding “quid pro quo” as he sneakily learned all the details of Quinn’s life. This was like addictive fan fiction, though I mean nothing negative by saying that. I just mean the author has delivered a story that fans the flames of any psych/psycho kink you might have. Zane is an intriguing character, his label of psychopath keeping us guessing as to just what his intentions are, what the truth really is? You assume that Zane is genuinely attracted to Quinn, but that doesn’t mean that Zane won’t screw him over in a bid to escape prison. You have no idea were the author might take the story because she has created such an unpredictable cast. While the setting and premise could easily lend itself to a dark tale, that isn’t what this book is. The only trigger warning to mention would be a scene of attempted rape, but overall this book is more cute than grit. While I would have loved to know what was going on in the genius mind of Zane Black, I guess that would have ruined the sense of ignorance as to where the plot was going. And I appreciated not knowing. For those who think this book sounds interesting, Louise Collins has also written a similar book called The Freshman, this one starring an incarcerated murderer and a prison guard. Both of these books will definitely be finding their way onto my re-read list.
Quinn and Zane Sublime written story, sublime plot!! Greenwood Prison... the place to be for Quinn to start his research for his study. Seven psychopaths to interview and test. All have commit heavy crimes, one even worse than the other. Among them there is Zane. Quinn is intrigued by the big, beautiful, impressive and imposing Zane and his heart does strange things. Zane is intrigued by Quinn and Zane is a master manipulator... throughout their sessions Zane takes control. Zane is notorious, renown and highly intelligent... sees through everything like it’s glass... That was clever done ... very clever... a psychologic war... “Sometimes they see what I can’t.”.... I love the intellectual level of this read... the mindf*ck ... like the program on tv. Looking at body language and taking notice of... everything. The buildup was unbelievable well done.... the dark environments, the psychologic aspects, the longing, the anticipation, the tension, all the details... I had to stop to put my head and heart together ... stunning done... My heart hammered at the outcome! Master developed story with very intriguing characters.
Though there are definitely similarities between this and the other I’ve read from this author, The Freshman, there are some major differences, not least of which how it resolves. I won’t give away spoilers, but I had my suspicions and was pleased with how it worked out. The idea of being alone in a room with several different psychopaths/murderers on a weekly basis to conduct a study is so far beyond my comfort level it’s not even funny. I don’t even watch horror movies. However, though there were a few creepy and/or tense moments, this was more focused on the building relationship between the psychologist and the one person in his study who fascinates and draws him in despite his best efforts to resist. It was an entertaining read, and I’ll be seeking out more from this author.