Mask of Sanity

Jacob Appel

Permanent Press, 2017

Agent: Jill Marr

On the outside, Dr. Jeremy Balint is a pillar of the community: the youngest division chief at his hospital, a model son to his elderly parents, fiercely devoted to his wife and two young daughters. On the inside, Dr. Jeremy Balint is a high-functioning sociopath--a man who truly believes himself to stand above the ethical norms of society. As long as life treats him well, Balint has no cause to harm others. When life treats him poorly, he reveals the depths of his cold-blooded depravity.

At a cultural moment when the media bombards us with images of so-called sociopaths who strive for good and criminals redeemed by repentance,The Mask of Sanity offers an antidote to implausible tales of evil gone right. In contrast to fictional predecessors like Dostoyevesky's Raskolnikov and Camus' Mersault, Dr. Balint is a man who already has it all --and will do everything in his power, no matter how immoral, to keep what he has.

"Appel...avoids glamorizing his sociopath or wallowing in blood-bath crimes. Instead, this is a thoughtful, subtle dissection of how a certain kind of sociopath, found 'in the highest echelons of power,' operates....Intelligent and chilling."
Kirkus Reviews

“Through matter-of-fact, nonjudgmental prose, Appel shows us the world through Balint’s eyes and leaves the reader with a horrifying understanding of his actions.”
Publisher's Weekly