From the A Doc Brady Mystery series , Vol. 2

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

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


Loyal King stans may disagree, but this is a snooze.

A much-beloved author gives a favorite recurring character her own novel.

Holly Gibney made her first appearance in print with a small role in Mr. Mercedes (2014). She played a larger role in The Outsider (2018). And she was the central character in If It Bleeds, a novella in the 2020 collection of the same name. King has said that the character “stole his heart.” Readers adore her, too. One way to look at this book is as several hundred pages of fan service. King offers a lot of callbacks to these earlier works that are undoubtedly a treat for his most loyal devotees. That these easter eggs are meaningless and even befuddling to new readers might make sense in terms of costs and benefits. King isn’t exactly an author desperate to grow his audience; pleasing the people who keep him at the top of the bestseller lists is probably a smart strategy, and this writer achieved the kind of status that whatever he writes is going to be published. Having said all that, it’s possible that even his hardcore fans might find this story a bit slow. There are also issues in terms of style. Much of the language King uses and the cultural references he drops feel a bit creaky. The word slacks occurs with distracting frequency. King uses the phrase keeping it on the down-low in a way that suggests he probably doesn’t understand how this phrase is currently used—and has been used for quite a while. But the biggest problem is that this narrative is framed as a mystery without delivering the pleasures of a mystery. The reader knows who the bad guys are from the start. This can be an effective storytelling device, but in this case, waiting for the private investigator heroine to get to where the reader is at the beginning of the story feels interminable.

Loyal King stans may disagree, but this is a snooze.

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2023

ISBN: 9781668016138

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: July 13, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2023


Lots of violent action with little payoff.

Jack Ryan Jr. is back to risk life and limb in saving a teenage girl from international killers while his father, U.S. President Jack Ryan Sr., figures out what to do with Iran’s clandestine uranium enrichment facility, hidden in a mine.

Junior, head of the secret intelligence outfit The Campus, which was functionally wiped out in Tom Clancy Flash Point (2023), is heading across Texas to a rendezvous with his fiancee, Lisanne Robertson, a one-armed former Marine and cop. He’s waylaid by the aftermath of a multi-vehicle accident that he discovers resulted from a gun attack that left a driver hanging on for life, and now puts Jack in the crosshairs of the gunmen. A tip leads him to a 4 a.m. meeting with Amanda, a single mom whose impetuous daughter, Bella, has run off with her highly undesirable boyfriend only to be abducted by the baddies. the nation’s capital, American surveillance has determined that Iran is on the cusp of nuclear armament. The only way to stop them is unleashing an unpiloted and untested super plane with massive destructive power. The book’s treatment of Iran’s “existential threat to the entire globe” as a subplot is rather curious, to say the least. You keep waiting for Bentley to connect the two stories, but that happens only superficially. Late in the book, we are told as an afterthought that Iran’s immediate threat had been “mitigated.” Unfortunately, there is no mitigation of the novel’s hackneyed prose—"The analytical portion of Jack’s brain couldn’t help but be impressed.”

Lots of violent action with little payoff.

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2023

ISBN: 9780593422816

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: Aug. 12, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2023

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