Crack-Upby Eric Christopherson Published 14 Jul 2009
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Argus Ward is a former U.S. Secret Service agent who runs a protection agency catering to the rich and famous. His best-kept secret--which he shares with lawyers and doctors and even psychiatrists--is his status as a high-functioning paranoid schizophrenic. One day, with little warning, he turns psychotic for the first time in twenty years. He lands in a secure psychiatric facility, charged with the murder of his most famous client, high tech industry billionaire John Helms, the wealthiest man in America.
Argus has no memory of the killing. A blood test suggests to him that some unknown enemy had switched his anti-psychotic medication with identical-looking dummy pills to purposely drive him insane.
A sign of lingering paranoia? His doctor thinks so. Even his wife.
Yet Argus escapes incarceration to prove his theory. With the law on his trail and a ticking time bomb in his head--due to a lack of medication--he discovers that his disease had been "weaponized" by a powerful group to secretly assassinate John Helms as part of a multiple assassination conspiracy of world-wide significance.
Or has Argus simply lost his mind again? What in the end is "real" and what is only imagination in his story?
And what is justice for the criminally insane?
Come lose your grip on reality. Read "Crack-Up."
I was completely absorbed by this well-written thriller. Crack-Up tells the story of Argus Ward, the schizophrenic owner of a successful security firm. Argus manages to hide his disease from his colleagues until the voice of Darth Vader tells him to murder the billionaire he was hired to protect. The story moves along at a great pace and I finished it in two sittings. Definitely recommended!
Argus Ward has a medical problem. He's a paranoid schizophrenic. But as long as takes his medication, he can function as head of the successful security company he established and nobody need know his secret.
Then he starts seeing things - like a naked flight attendant on his plane. Then he starts hearing things - voices issuing strange and menacing commands. What's going on? Trouble, that's what, and Argus is soon knee-deep in it, charged with the murder of his most famous client.
Did he do it? If so, why, when he faithfully takes his daily medication?
Crack-up is by turns funny, exciting and scary - a truly original premise brilliantly executed. The action never lets up, with lots of twists and turns along the way. With a paranoid narrator, Christopherson has a lot of fun. Just about anything goes when you're in that mental state.
I have to say the behaviour of the cops (who were presumably meant to be sane) strained my credulity at several points. That didn't stop me enjoying this zany tale immensely, but it did cost the fifth star on the rating.
This is an exhilarating roller-coaster read, worth many times the dollar price tag.
One marketing point: I feel there are far too many plot details in the Amazon synopsis - 'self spoilers' if you will.
“Listen to me, son,” said the caller. My father? “Kill John Helms.” Then he hung up.
What happens when the lines between reality and delusion start to blur? Paranoid schizophrenic Argus Ward sees and hears things, but how much of it is real? What about the voices telling him to kill his most famous client…
Crack-up hooked me from the start. By the end, I was almost as paranoid as Argus. A fast-paced, excellently crafted thriller, gripping from start to finish. I look forward to reading more from this author.
I really enjoyed this book by author, Eric Christopherson. It was a fast and exciting read,and well written. The character's battle with his psychotic condition was extremely well done and I felt as if I was a part of him. I liked the character Argus Ward. He was a strong person who did not give up...
Having a hard time getting into this one...
Psychological thrillers are my favorite genre and i love unreliable narrators. This may rank up near the top in my opinion.
Argus is a former Secret Service agent who took a bullet for the president and now owns his own security firm. He’s also a high functioning paranoid schizophrenic. When Argus is arrested for killing one of his clients, it becomes a race against time to discover how much is the truth, and how much is his disease.
I am NOT a psychiatrist so I don’t know how accurate any of this is, but it definitely made a very suspenseful novel. As the saying goes, “just because you’re paranoid, it doesn’t mean they aren’t out to get you!” I felt Argus’ terror at not knowing what was real and what was a hallucination, and even though I’m usually good at guessing the endings, I didn’t predict this one.