The murder of a Congressman who’s been hurt along with dozens of other recent arrivals at a suburban Seattle hospital kicks off Osborne’s debut.
What a way to start the week. Before the sun is up, Patient Relations manager Robyn Kelly learns that a traffic pileup will flood Madrona Bay Hospital with injured patients. Then the whiner who demanded immediate pain medication from Rob files a complaint against her—and it turns out that he’s influential Congressman Jake Hamilton. Luckily, the complaint is swiftly forgotten when Rob goes to make nice with the patient and finds him smothered to death. Though she’s a suspect herself for only one chapter break, she’s no happier when Det. Matthew Pierce arrests Pham Nguyen of the housekeeping staff just because he had a motive and he’s the only person known to have entered Hamilton’s room during the critical period. Osborne isn’t afraid of genre clichés. Madrona Bay is crawling with all the likely and unlikely suspects indicated by the generic title, and when widowed mom Rob is caught between her unsuitable former lover, reporter Peter Armstrong, and antipathetic Det. Pierce, it’s obvious whom she’ll pick, assuming she survives the obligatory lethal assault on her own person. But Rob tells her story so matter-of-factly that she almost has you believing it’s happening for the first time anywhere.
A meat-and-potatoes debut in which Osborne’s convincing hospital background and respect for evidence substitute for originality and inspiration.