Friday, April 8, 2011

Diagnosis Death by Richard Mabry

book cover

Diagnosis Death
by Richard Mabry, MD

ISBN-13: 9781426710216
Trade Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: Abingdon Press
Released: April 1, 2011

Source: eBook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description from Back Cover (somewhat modified):
When her comatose husband dies in the ICU while on life support, the whispers about Dr. Elena Gardner begin. Another death during her training puts her under suspicion. When the pattern is repeated in the hospital where she is attempting to start over, the whispers turn into a shout: "mercy killing."

Elena doesn't remember killing anyone, but she also isn't sure what did happen. She secretly fears she really did kill these patients but doesn't remember it. Despite her move to a new city, the midnight phone calls that started after her husband's death follow Elena. Who is the woman who sobs out, "I know what you did" and promises to make her pay? And what can Elena do to prevent it?

Several men, one of them a physician who is a divorcee, offer support to beautiful, Hispanic-looking Elena. Is it safe to trust anyone with her secret fear?

My Review:
Diagnosis Death is a medical suspense novel with a romance. While I was able to figure out whodunit before the big reveal, the answer to the last mysterious bit was a surprise. While the reader wasn't told from the beginning who was behind the calls, etc., the story wasn't really about investigating the mystery. The mystery wasn't solved earlier only because Elena was terrified that she might be the killer. She avoided investigating what was going on though she hated what not knowing as doing to her and what the rumors were doing to her career. She had to find the courage to face the truth.

The suspense was created by wondering who was behind the calls, what was going to go wrong next, various medical emergencies, and some physical danger to the characters near the end. The characters were complex and acted in realistic ways. The details about the job and setting brought the story alive in my imagination without slowing the fast pacing.

Many of the characters were Christian. Elena struggled with why God didn't answer her prayers to heal her husband. She wasn't on "speaking terms" with God during most of the book though she still believed in Him. The story had a Christian theme running throughout it. There were frequent mentions of "I'm praying for you," a brief sermon summary by a pastor's wife, and a Bible verse that impacted Elena.

This book was the third in the series, but you don't need to read the previous novels to understand this one. However, the characters from the first novel, Code Blue, show up in this one, so reading this novel out of order will spoil the romantic outcome of Code Blue. There was no sex and no bad language. Overall, I'd recommend this suspenseful novel.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Excerpt from Chapter One
Dr. Elena Gardner approached her apartment as she had every night for six months--filled with emptiness and dread. The feeling grew with each step, and by the time she put the key in the door, fear enveloped her like a shroud. Some nights it was all she could do to put her foot over the threshold. This was one of those nights.

She turned the key and pushed open the door. The dark shadows reached out at her like a boogeyman from her childhood. The utter stillness magnified every sound in the old apartment, turning creaking boards into the footsteps of an unknown enemy.

She flipped on the light and watched the shadows turn into familiar surroundings. Even though the thermostat was set at a comfortable temperature, she shivered a bit.

Elena dropped her backpack by the door and collapsed into the one comfortable chair in the living room. The TV remote was in its usual place on the table beside her. She punched the set into life, paying no attention to what was on. Didn't matter. Just something to drown out the silence, something to remind her that there was life outside these four walls.


Richard Mabry said...

Thanks for your kind words about Diagnosis Death. I hope your readers enjoy it, as well as the other books in the Prescription For Trouble series.

Genre Reviewer said...

Richard Mabry,

Thanks for dropping by!