Another tightly wound medical thriller featuring an intrepid surgeon/detective.


From the A Doc Brady Mystery series , Vol. 2

A damaging accusation throws a Houston doctor’s life and livelihood into a tailspin in Bishop’s latest series installment.

A year after solving the case of a child’s mysterious death in Act of Murder (2020), orthopedic surgeon and amateur sleuth Jim Bob “Doc” Brady is back to deflect a personal attack on his professional reputation. Due to a malpractice lawsuit, the typically strong and resilient Brady is dealing with stress that not even his wife, Mary Louise, or his adoring pets can soothe. During a deposition with vicious lawyers, Doc must defend against claims that he acted poorly and recklessly while providing care for Billy Jones, who developed a serious infection and endured a subsequent amputation after knee-replacement surgery. It turns out that the plaintiff’s team includes the “king-dog-daddy of Houston medical malpractice plaintiffs’ attorneys,” as Doc calls him: Donovan Shaw, who tells Doc that he’ll “destroy you and that pretty wife of yours,” if that’s what it takes to win. Doc’s own investigation reveals Donovan to have had some shady dealings with other lawyers. When another doctor dies under suspicious circumstances and someone mugs Doc in broad daylight, the surgeon knows he needs to step up his sleuthing before he and his family end up dead themselves. Although Doc is represented by defense attorney and friend Pete Huntley, the doctor is determined to dig deeper into Donovan, his sketchy firm, and its history of questionable cases on his own, and readers will find his investigation compelling. The book also offers intriguing reflections on America’s flawed medical system, spotlighting amoral “testifying doctors” and patients “looking for a quick ‘medical lottery win’ ” through bogus malpractice claims. Houston-based orthopedic surgeon Bishop stays true to his narrative style in this installment, providing readers with authentic-sounding dialogue and an engaging plot. Along the way, he adds vibrancy to his characterization of Mary Louise so readers can more easily experience the longtime married couple’s bond. However, it’s the breathless concluding courtroom scene that truly steals the show.

Another tightly wound medical thriller featuring an intrepid surgeon/detective.

Pub Date: June 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-73425-112-8

Page Count: 276

Publisher: Mantid Press

Review Posted Online: July 8, 2020

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Top-drawer crime fiction. The authors are tough on the hero, but the hero is tough.


Patterson and Ellis put their characters through hell in this hard-edged second installment of their Black Book series after The Black Book (2017).

A young girl is one of four people gunned down in a “very, very bad” K-Town drive-by shooting in Chicago. Police are under intense political pressure to solve it, so Detective Billy Harney is assigned to the Special Operations Section to put the brakes on the gang violence on the West Side. His new partner is Detective Carla Griffin, whom colleagues describe as “sober as an undertaker” and “as fun as a case of hemorrhoids.” And she looks like the last thing he needs, a pill popper. (But is she?) Department muckety-mucks want Harney to fail, and Griffin is supposed to spy on him. The poor guy already has a hell of a backstory: His daughter died and his wife committed suicide (or did she?) four years earlier, he’s been shot in the head, charged with murder (and exonerated), and helped put his own father in prison. (Nothing like a tormented hero!) Now the deaths still haunt him while he and Griffin begin to suspect they’re not looking at a simple turf war starring the Imperial Gangster Nation. Meanwhile, the captain in Internal Affairs is deep in the pocket of some bad guys who run an international human trafficking ring, and he loathes Harney. The protagonist is lucky to have Patti, his sister and fellow detective, as his one reliable friend who lets him know he’s being set up. The authors do masterful work creating flawed characters to root for or against, and they certainly pile up the troubles for Billy Harney. Abundant nasty twists will hold readers’ rapt attention in this dark, violent, and fast-moving thriller.

Top-drawer crime fiction. The authors are tough on the hero, but the hero is tough.

Pub Date: March 29, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-316-49940-8

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Dec. 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2021

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Crave chills and thrills but don’t have time for a King epic? This will do the job before bedtime. Not that you’ll sleep.

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Horrormeister King follows a boy’s journey from childhood to adolescence among the dead—and their even creepier living counterparts.

Jamie Conklin sees dead people. Not for very long—they fade away after a week or so—but during that time he can talk to them, ask them questions, and compel them to answer truthfully. His uncanny gift at first seems utterly unrelated to his mother Tia’s work as a literary agent, but the links become disturbingly clear when her star client, Regis Thomas, dies shortly after starting work on the newest entry in his bestselling Roanoke Saga, and Tia and her lover, NYPD Detective Liz Dutton, drive Jamie out to Cobblestone Cottage to encourage the late author to dictate an outline of his latest page-turner so that Tia, who’s fallen on hard times, can write it in his name instead of returning his advance and her cut. Now that she’s seen what Jamie can do, Liz takes it on herself to arrange an interview in which Jamie will ask Kenneth Therriault, a serial bomber who’s just killed himself, where he’s stowed his latest explosive device before it can explode posthumously. His post-mortem encounter with Therriault exacts a high price on Jamie, who now finds himself more haunted than ever, though he never gives up on the everyday experiences in which King roots all his nightmares.

Crave chills and thrills but don’t have time for a King epic? This will do the job before bedtime. Not that you’ll sleep.

Pub Date: March 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-7890-9649-1

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Hard Case Crime

Review Posted Online: Dec. 26, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2021

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