Monday, 17 June 2013
Author: Jane Bennett Munro
Genre: Mystery (medical)
Source: directly from author
First Published: July 2012
First Line: "The phone rang."
Note: My sincere thanks to Jane Bennett Munro for providing me with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
Book Description: It is the middle of the night when pathologist Toni Day receives a call from the coroner informing her that the notoriously sleazy local attorney, Jay Braithwaite Burke, has just been found dead in his Mercedes in the middle of a snowy interstate. Unfortunately, everyone at Perrine Memorial Hospital where Toni works knows Burke. Over the years, he managed to talk nearly the entire medical staff into investing into his hedge fund. After it was revealed they had all foolishly invested in a Ponzi scheme, the feds moved in and he disappeared. Now, two months later, Toni is about to perform his autopsy.
It is no secret around town that many might have wished the attorney dead, including Toni and her husband, Hal. As she delves into Burke's autopsy, Toni already knows they have few clues to go on; when she learns the man bled to death, she suspects it was a homicide. To complicate matters further, Burke's partner also dies in suspicious circumstances, and Burke's widow and children are left homeless by a series of house fires. With a brutal schedule and doubts about her husband's faithfulness, Toni's life is already complex enough.
But when a mysterious illness casts a bloody pall over the holiday season, Toni must rely on her pathological expertise to unmask a killer and rescue herself and everyone she loves from a bloody death.
My Thoughts: This is the second book in the new Toni Day medical mystery series. I had reviewed the first book in the series, "Murder Under the Microscope" at the end of May (for my review of that book click HERE).
Unfortunately I had the same issues with this book as I did with the first book in the series. Excessive and oddly placed swearing, slow plot and too much medical jargon which bogged down the pace of the book and left me wondering if I needed to remember all of the technical stuff.
Toni's character changed a bit in this book -- unfortunately not for the better. While she continues to come off as wiser than the cops (who come off as bumbling and in desperate need of Toni's help) I found it odd that Toni is able to get information that a typical pathologist probably wouldn't be able to get her hands on. Unfortunately her tone seemed to change too. She seemed very arrogant in this book and overly pushy as she tried to get more information out of people. In a word, she was really unlikeable.
I will say that the overall pace of this book improved over the first book in the series and the build-up of the suspense was better and led to a very intense ending. Unfortunately the path to that build-up was hindered by Toni's sporadic yet repetitive worries that her husband Hal cheating on her. These concerns would pop out of nowhere and took away from the suspense and seemed rather out of place.
Also, her husband's reaction to being awoken in the middle of the night by one of Toni's coworkers at the beginning of the book seemed over the top. I think this was supposed to be the 'straw that broke the camel's back' and that led to Toni and Hal's marital woes (hence the ensuing 'Hal must be cheating on me!' worries) but it seemed silly. How can a medical professional not know about pagers or putting one's phone on vibrate mode? How can a spouse of a doctor not be used to having the phone ring in the middle of the night occasionally? It would seem to me to be par for the course in marrying a pathologist who needs to be on-call regularly. It just seemed farfetched and made it seem like a lame excuse for the beginning of Toni's mistrust of Hal.
There were also lot of characters in this story and, at times, it got a little hard for me to remember precisely who the author was talking about. With so many characters you also run the risk of them not being developed enough and this was the case here. It's hard to care for characters when I really don't know much about them.
I will say that the ending was an 'edge of your seat/will she make it?' ending which I enjoyed. Unfortunately Toni doesn't strike me as a main character that I want to read more about. Her cursing over mundane things and her arrogance get in the way of me enjoying her as a protagonist.
My Rating: 2.5/5 stars