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ACT OF FATE by John Bishop


A Doc Brady Mystery

by John Bishop

Pub Date: May 10th, 2022
ISBN: 979-8-9861596-1-4
Publisher: Mantid Press

In this fifth installment of a mystery series, a resilient Houston orthopedist and amateur gumshoe returns to solve another complex case.

In this volume, author/orthopedist Bishop departs from his typical formula to more intensively incorporate several of Dr. Jim Bob “Doc” Brady’s family members in a new investigation. Previous volumes like Act of Negligence (2021) have featured the good doctor’s longtime wife of nearly three decades, Mary Louise, as a solid foundation of love and support. This time, she is fully embroiled in a scandal that puts her life in serious jeopardy. As typical for a Brady mystery, there are many moving parts successfully suspended in motion. This one kicks off with the coldblooded murder of Meredith Brown James, whose marriage to neurosurgeon Dr. Frank James has seen better days. She is slain while planning a romantic reconciliatory dinner that she hopes will revive their relationship. Meredith’s father, distinguished Houston philanthropist and cancer survivor Melvin Brown, also happens to be Doc’s patient. At the time of her murder, the physician was about to perform knee replacement surgery, his specialty, on Melvin. Further tragedy ensues when Doc learns that Mary Louise has been seriously injured in an automobile accident. Suffering massive cranial and skeletal trauma, she lies in a coma. Desperate to save her life, Doc appeals to Frank James, one of his close colleagues, to tend to Mary Louise. But the “ladies’ man” has bigger problems to deal with, as his wife’s murder has taken on a life of its own with many serpentine detours and suspects galore (himself included). The cutthroat killer shot a newly pregnant Meredith with two bullets, one to the forehead and the other inexplicably through the fifth rib into her heart. With Frank emotionally and physically unavailable to medically treat Mary Louise, Doc turns to physician George Flanagan, an instantly unlikable man “with the bedside manner of a roach.”

As usual in Bishop’s energetic series, Doc is pulled in many different directions. Here, he works with police detectives to uncover Meredith’s murderer and find the driver responsible for Mary Louise’s injuries. But he has found help this time, enlisting his adult son, J.J., and his investigative firm to assist in sleuthing the case details. As the author’s sturdy puzzler plays out, so does a nefarious plot that readers will devilishly enjoy. By placing Mary Louise’s life on the line, the story creates a particular urgency to uncover the killer and solve the mystery, and this aspect infuses a good amount of suspense into the novel. Despite the somewhat tidy ending, this new adventure ultimately lives up to the Brady series standards, as does Bishop’s vivid clinical settings and descriptions. Prolific to a fault, the author includes a teaser chapter of the next volume after a fitting epilogue. With no end in sight, the fierce and fearless Doc will continue his fight for Texas justice as the thrilling tales keep on coming. Fans of interwoven family dramas and mysteries will especially enjoy this installment.

Another potent, vigorously written entry in a series that continues to keep mystery fans rapt.