From the A Doc Brady Mystery series , Vol. 3

Another rewarding Doc Brady adventure.

Awards & Accolades

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

The murder of an insurance company executive puts a plastic surgeon in jeopardy in this mystery series installment.

Houston orthopedic surgeon and author Bishop returns with a third adventure with Texas-based orthopedist Jim Bob “Doc” Brady, who has a penchant for detective work. The action starts while the doctor is attending a medical conference at a Colorado ski resort. While on the slopes, he accidentally sideswipes another skier, causing injury to fellow Houston-area plastic surgeon Lou Edwards. Despite this, they become friends, and Brady discovers that Edwards is drowning in malpractice lawsuits, as was his now-deceased partner; his malpractice insurance has been canceled, as well. Edwards’ wife, Mimi, suffers from severe lupus, allegedly acquired from leaking silicone breast implants, and across Houston, physicians are scrambling to keep their practices afloat amid scores of implant-related lawsuits. Then shady Texas Mutual Life and Casualty Insurance Company magnate Paul Thompson, who’s been canceling policies, winds up dead—shot in the head. Brady immediately begins investigating the crime alongside Houston police and becomes more involved after Edwards becomes a prime suspect. Employing his talent for investigation and persuasiveness as a “silver-tongued devil,” Brady and his wife, Mary Louise, attempt to lift suspicion from his friend, who quickly goes missing. The narrative’s exploration of breast augmentation’s problematic history adds a sense of authenticity, as do realistic forensic details, as in Thompson’s autopsy scene. Bishop sifts through suspects speedily and satisfyingly, and Brady ties up the murder after dodging a gunshot and encountering a last-minute twist. Fans of medical thrillers will enjoy the work, although it treads some familiar territory, and seasoned devotees of the Doc Brady series may find it just a bit repetitive. Still, the author’s patented mixture of homespun humor, mouthwatering culinary descriptions, and charming characterization is on full display here in a novel full of mischief and mayhem.

Another rewarding Doc Brady adventure.

Pub Date: Sept. 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-73425-114-2

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Mantid Press

Review Posted Online: Oct. 8, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2020


Fascinating main characters and a clever plot add up to an exciting read.

A thriller with bloody murders and plenty of suspects and featuring an unlikely partnership between two FBI investigators.

FBI consultant Amos Decker has a lot on his mind. The huge fellow once played for the Cleveland Browns in the NFL until he received a catastrophic brain injury, leaving him with synesthesia; he sees death as electric blue. More pertinent to the plot, he also has hyperthymesia, or spontaneous and highly accurate recall. On the one hand, his memories can be horrible. He’d once come home to find his wife and daughter murdered, dead in pools of blood. Later, he listens helplessly on the telephone while his ex-partner shoots herself in the mouth. On the other hand, his memory helps him solve every case he's given. Now he's sent to Florida with a brand-new partner, Special Agent Frederica White, to investigate the murder of a federal judge. Both partners are pissed at their last-minute pairing, and they immediately see themselves as a bad fit. White is a diminutive Black single mother of two who has a double black belt in karate “because I hate getting my ass kicked.” (The author doesn't mention Decker's race, but since he's being contrasted with his new partner in every way, perhaps readers are expected to see him as White. Clarity would be nice.) Their case is strange: Judge Julia Cummins was stabbed 10 times and her face covered with a mask, while her bodyguard was shot to death. Decker and White puzzle over the “very contrarian crime scene” where two murders seem to have been committed by two different people in the same place. The plot gets complex, with suspects galore. But the interpersonal dynamic between Decker and White is just as interesting as the solution to the murders, which doesn't come easily. At first, they’d like to be done with each other and go their separate ways. But as they work together, their mutual respect rises and—alas—the tension between them fades almost completely. The pair will make a great series duo, especially if a bit of that initial tension between them returns. And Baldacci shouldn’t give Decker a pass on his tortured memories, because readers enjoy suffering heroes. It's not enough that his near-perfect recall helps him in his job.

Fascinating main characters and a clever plot add up to an exciting read.

Pub Date: Oct. 11, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-5387-1982-4

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Review Posted Online: Sept. 13, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2022


Forget about solving all these crimes; the signal triumph here is (spoiler) the heroine’s survival.

Another sweltering month in Charlotte, another boatload of mysteries past and present for overworked, overstressed forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan.

A week after the night she chases but fails to catch a mysterious trespasser outside her town house, some unknown party texts Tempe four images of a corpse that looks as if it’s been chewed by wild hogs, because it has been. Showboat Medical Examiner Margot Heavner makes it clear that, breaking with her department’s earlier practice (The Bone Collection, 2016, etc.), she has no intention of calling in Tempe as a consultant and promptly identifies the faceless body herself as that of a young Asian man. Nettled by several errors in Heavner’s analysis, and even more by her willingness to share the gory details at a press conference, Tempe launches her own investigation, which is not so much off the books as against the books. Heavner isn’t exactly mollified when Tempe, aided by retired police detective Skinny Slidell and a host of experts, puts a name to the dead man. But the hints of other crimes Tempe’s identification uncovers, particularly crimes against children, spur her on to redouble her efforts despite the new M.E.’s splenetic outbursts. Before he died, it seems, Felix Vodyanov was linked to a passenger ferry that sank in 1994, an even earlier U.S. government project to research biological agents that could control human behavior, the hinky spiritual retreat Sparkling Waters, the dark web site DeepUnder, and the disappearances of at least four schoolchildren, two of whom have also turned up dead. And why on earth was Vodyanov carrying Tempe’s own contact information? The mounting evidence of ever more and ever worse skulduggery will pull Tempe deeper and deeper down what even she sees as a rabbit hole before she confronts a ringleader implicated in “Drugs. Fraud. Breaking and entering. Arson. Kidnapping. How does attempted murder sound?”

Forget about solving all these crimes; the signal triumph here is (spoiler) the heroine’s survival.

Pub Date: March 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9821-3888-2

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

Close Quickview