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The Broken Heart - N. J. Gallegos

Cover art for The Broken Heart , a novel by N.J.  Gallegos.

Content warnings: graphic murder, mentions of spousal rape, danger against a sociopathic (think The Good Son) child

The Broken Heart is such an intense emotional roller coaster, that I don't even know how to accurately describe it. Anyone with a background in the medical field will especially enjoy this read, having undoubtedly witnessed the desensitization of some Healthcare workers at one point or another. I haven't worked in a hospital in six years, but this still felt like coming home! That being said, previous work in the medical profession certainly isn't a requirement to enjoy this crazy story.

After her second pregnancy, Casey develops just about every medical condition in the books, which lands her on the list for a heart transplant. She has to cope with this new existence without the support of her husband, who is too busy drinking himself into a stupor and having flings with any willing woman he finds in the bars he frequents. Their six-year-old son is a sociopath already wreaking havoc on everyone around him, including multiple incidents where he's causing bodily harm to other children (including his infant sister).

Casey finally gets her new heart, but with it comes some shocking side effects that no one could have predicted, or prepared her for. As tensions build and she realizes her son is rapidly becoming too big of a threat to contain, New Casey takes matters into her own hands. Her methods of exacting justice and revenge are unorthodox (a huge understatement), and trigger one hell of a spiral.

Gallegos does an incredible job of building this world and the (unfortunate) people in it. There's no simple good versus evil, right or wrong. I found myself pulled in so many different directions, and couldn't even begin to imagine what I would have done in Casey's position.

Whether it was intentional or not, Gallegos also brings to light an incredibly overlooked problem. It's no secret that our mental health system is severely lacking, but as any true crime fan has probably heard: there's nothing in place to deal with children who prove themselves to be dangerous, until they've actually committed a crime. I've seen interviews with distraught parents who traversed every avenue they could, only to find out there was nothing available to them, and then suffer the wrath of everyone else when that child inevitably maims or kills another person. "How could you not know? Why didn't you get them help? You could have prevented this!" when in reality, they did try, and the system failed them at every turn.

This book is definitely brutal, and not for the faint of heart (no pun intended). It's absolutely worth a read, and I hope we see more content from her!

Go find N. J. here:

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