Another rewarding Doc Brady adventure.

ACT OF REVENGE

From the A Doc Brady Mystery series , Vol. 3

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

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A compelling portrait of a marriage gone desperately sour.

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THE MYSTERY OF MRS. CHRISTIE

In December 1926, mystery writer Agatha Christie really did disappear for 11 days. Was it a hoax? Or did her husband resort to foul play?

When Agatha meets Archie on a dance floor in 1912, the obscure yet handsome pilot quickly sweeps her off her feet with his daring. Archie seems smitten with her. Defying her family’s expectations, Agatha consents to marry Archie rather than her intended, the reliable yet boring Reggie Lucy. Although the war keeps them apart, straining their early marriage, Agatha finds meaningful work as a nurse and dispensary assistant, jobs that teach her a lot about poisons, knowledge that helps shape her early short stories and novels. While Agatha’s career flourishes after the war, Archie suffers setback after setback. Determined to keep her man happy, Agatha finds herself cooking elaborate meals, squelching her natural affections for their daughter (after all, Archie must always feel like the most important person in her life), and downplaying her own troubles, including her grief over her mother's death. Nonetheless, Archie grows increasingly morose. In fact, he is away from home the day Agatha disappears. By the time Detective Chief Constable Kenward arrives, Agatha has already been missing for a day. After discovering—and burning—a mysterious letter from Agatha, Archie is less than eager to help the police. His reluctance and arrogance work against him, and soon the police, the newspapers, the Christies’ staff, and even his daughter’s classmates suspect him of harming his wife. Benedict concocts a worthy mystery of her own, as chapters alternate between Archie’s negotiation of the investigation and Agatha’s recounting of their relationship. She keeps the reader guessing: Which narrator is reliable? Who is the real villain?

A compelling portrait of a marriage gone desperately sour.

Pub Date: Dec. 29, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4926-8272-1

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark

Review Posted Online: Sept. 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2020

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

A CONSPIRACY OF BONES

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. 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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