Email this review


A debut suspenser that takes something from Patricia Cornwell, something from John Grisham, and manages a bland blend of both. Like E.A Robinson’s Richard Cory, Dr. Phillip Madison, orthopedic surgeon, glitters when he walks. A talented, caring physician—they don’t call him “King of Sacramento General Hospital” for nothing—he is, in fact, a medical golden boy. At home, he has a beautiful, appreciative wife and two adorable children. But thriller writers specialize in turning gold into dross, and in a blink there’s poor Phil arrested, charged with vehicular homicide, and hauled off to jail. Two people have been run down and left for dead—and there’s not much doubt that the killer car belonged to Phillip. Moreover, he has no alibi. A worrisome situation, Jeffrey Hellman, his friend and lawyer, tells him, while proclaiming enduring belief in Phillip’s innocence. If Phillip is innocent, though, then he must have been framed. But by whom? To Phillip the answer is obvious: Brittany Harding. Hired by Phillip to fill a key hospital job, Brittany seemed at the time a perfect fit. The braininess, however, is merely packaging—for a female viper. Complaints about her arrogance and rudeness mount, and soon Phillip has to tell her the hiring might have been a mistake. She goes ballistic. Faster than you can say Catherine de Medici, she becomes a stalker, degrades his life, accuses him of rape, and ends, he insists, by planting the evidence that has him facing 20 years. Beleaguered, he enlists the aid of forensic investigator Ryan Chandler (that’s the Cornwell part). Ryan finds the critical DNA evidence that results in Phillip’s release and Brittany’s jailing. She goes on trial big-time (the Grisham part). Will she be convicted? Will she walk? What is justice in Brittany’s case? Good questions, but the characters, meanwhile, are stick figures and the plotting’s unconvincing—including the final twist, which in its awkwardness is more irritating than breathtaking. (Author tour)

Pub Date: March 2nd, 1999
ISBN: 0-671-02678-X
Page count: 448pp
Publisher: Pocket
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15th, 1999


IndieTreacherous Obsession by Kenneth A. Studstill
by Kenneth A. Studstill
IndieTHE GOOD LAWYER by Thomas Benigno
by Thomas Benigno