Thursday, April 24, 2014

A doctor's brush with danger

Poor Dr. Shannon Frasier is really having a bad couple of days.  During a dinner party at her house, a man is shot and killed in front of her house.  Then her junkie sister shows up for an extended visit.  On top of all that, her father has a serious health crisis.  All that would be bad enough, but then a threatening anonymous caller begins harassing her to find out what the murder victim on her front yard said before expiring.  That's the whirlwind beginning of Critical Condition by Dr. Richard L. Mabry.

Shannon has even bigger problems, because when she was in medical school, her fiance was shot and died in her arms.  Although she was in the process of becoming a doctor, she was powerless to save her wounded fiance.  That left her with doubts about her abilities, as well as something of a "post traumatic" response when she encounters gunshot victims in her work.  She does have a new boyfriend, pathologist Dr. Mark Gilbert.  Her unresolved feelings for her dead fiance, however, are also preventing her from moving forward in her latest relationship.

Things get a more complicated when it turns out that Shannon's sister Megan, who hasn't been out of rehab for very long, knew the dead man.  They had been in rehab together, so the victim was also a pretty sketchy guy.  Megan was fleeing yet another abusive relationship when she asked Shannon to take her in.  When Megan's boyfriend also turns up dead, the police begin to question whether the Frasier sisters don't know more than they're telling.  An interesting complication occurs when the investigating officer seems to have more than a professional interest in Shannnon.

Eventually, the mysterious caller makes personal contact in frightening and increasingly violent ways.  Mark urges Shannon to get a gun, but given her tragic history with firearms, she's unwilling to consider the subject.  All of this stress also begins to take a toll on her professional life as well.

The book did lead up to a pretty thrilling conclusion, and the story moved along at a rapid pace.  Shannon's relationship with Mark, who is much more religious than she is (even with a pastor as a father!) also develops in an interesting manner.  The two shootings (the boyfriend and the front lawn guy) are both sort of glossed over and not really explored much, to my mind.  Of course, those are sort of peripheral events, but still, I would have liked them to be explained and tied up in a neater fashion.  That's a small quibble with an otherwise enjoyable and suspenseful read!

Disclaimer:  I received a copy of Critical Condition from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for this review.

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