CURED by Donna Huston Murray


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An insurance investigator and cancer survivor becomes a suspect in the death of her former nurse.

At 30, ex-cop Lauren Beck is beginning a new career as an insurance investigator now that she’s been cancer-free for four years. She’s been living with Corinne, a family friend who nursed her and gave her a place to live. At one time, she thought her father and Corinne would marry. But now Corinne is dead, also of cancer; Corinne’s daughter Nina wants Lauren out; and worse—she’s accused Lauren of murdering her mother. Meanwhile, a mysterious truck is following Lauren around. Someone has opened her mail, closed her bank account, trashed her credit and slashed her tires. Is it Nina? Someone she’s investigating for insurance fraud? A work rival? Brave and determined, humorous despite it all, Lauren digs for the truth even when she gets locked up. Murray (No Bones About It, 2012, etc.) has a very appealing heroine in Lauren. She’s tough-minded, self-reliant, with an eye for a good-looking man and thirst for a good drink. Not a shred of self-pity; no pink ribbons. But Lauren’s not hard-boiled, either. She loved the motherly Corinne and mourns her loss. Imagining family holidays that might have been, she pictures her brother’s kids running around, her father and Corinne together: “Corinne would bake ziti and buy pumpkin pies and Dad would serve his disgusting mulled wine. I wanted a whole family, especially since chemo had ruined any chance of creating one for myself.” Authentic details from the book’s Pennsylvania/Maryland setting add interest—for example, the issue of farmland being sold off for development. Murray is an able, engaging writer, though the book has some flaws. At times, Lauren doesn’t seem to act much like an ex-cop; something like slit-open mail ought to have raised red flags immediately. And it doesn’t make sense that she wouldn’t simply call the cops to investigate. Making sense of the timeline, too, can be overly difficult; date headings would have helped greatly. The clues to Corinne’s death are a little too obvious, with only one real medical thread to follow. Still, Murray adds enough complications to keep things interesting, Lauren is good company and the ending (which sets the stage for future volumes) satisfies.

An enjoyable investigation with an admirable, down-to-earth heroine.

Pub Date: Sept. 10th, 2012
ISBN: 978-0985688042
Page count: 262pp
Publisher: CreateSpace
Program: Kirkus Indie
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