HARD CASE by Barbara D'Amato

HARD CASE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Dispatched to Chicago's Motriss/Beale Trauma Center for a routine article, freelance reporter Cat Marsala (Hard Women, 1993, etc.) is right on the scene when no-nonsense Dr. Hannah Grant, recently appointed director of trauma services, is found dead with a surgical sponge shoved down her throat. The manner of her death indicates a planned murder by a professional colleague. But who would've been able to get away from the hectic trauma floor long enough to kill her? And who would've wanted to? As she cultivates the other members of Grant's team -- emergency medicine specialists Sam Davidian (a warm and sure-handed ten-year veteran) and Jacob Coyne (who remembers his patients' problems but forgets their names); residents Billy Michaelson (intense and empathetic) and Zoe Peters (angry and power-hungry); and the nurses, nursing students, and fellows who round out the staff -- Cat's attitude changes from wide-eyed lollygagging to cool appraisal. But she's not so cool that she doesn't worry about why Sam, who's been showing an interest in her that seems to be sending her ex-boyfriend over the edge, is prescribing the new medication Tegucaine in record amounts, or whether the unit's second murder will be its last. The plot is nothing more than the customary series of one-on-ones seasoned with a you-are-there parade of medical emergencies and capped with the obligatory duel to the death, but D'Amato juggles the suspects with all her usual deftness in this neatly fashioned puzzle.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1994
Page count: 258pp
Publisher: Scribners