Text Box: Katie: A Novel of Autism

A young girl with severe autism is accused of murder.

The novel Katie is a murder mystery played out against the heartbreaking and misunderstood backdrop of severe autism. The title character, Katie Hale, is a 17-year-old girl whose mental and physical abnormalities, which include a complete inability to communicate, make her the perfect scapegoat for a heinous murder. As the story evolves, Katie goes from being the obvious villain, to a defenseless victim, and eventually to an unlikely hero.

 

In the opening chapters it is obvious from her blood splattered clothes and her fingerprints on the murder weapon that Katie has had some kind of horrific mental breakdown, and has stabbed Sandy, her live-in au pair, to death. But the small town’s deputy chief of police, a strong-willed, intelligent young woman named Marty Price, begins to detect flaws in the “obvious,” and goes from being Katie’s arresting officer to being her staunchest advocate, trying to get her released and to clear her name by figuring out who really killed Sandy, and why.

 

Marty wants to handle the investigation professionally and by the book, but she runs into legal obstacles and is being pressured by the attorney general, who is receiving political pressure, himself, to make an arrest immediately whether the facts support it or not. Unexpectedly, even Katie’s father insists that Marty proceed with charging Katie. Price teams with a young lieutenant from the State Police in a race against time to sort out the facts, keep Katie from being sent to a state institution, and find the real killer.

 

In the course of the investigation, Marty’s all too common misunderstanding of severe autism being a form of mental retardation are corrected not only by Katie’s mother, but also through Marty’s personal and endearing interactions with Katie herself. An entirely different world opens up between the two when Marty discovers that Katie is able to converse by typing through a controversial process known as facilitated communication, and she comes to the humbling realization that not only is Katie not retarded, but that she is in fact an interesting, intelligent, and often clever young lady who just happens to be trapped in a wretchedly malfunctioning body.

Text Box: Copyright © 2007-2018 by Ken Blaisdell  All rights reserved.

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