I am a huge fan of Elaine Viets’ books.  I have devoured both of her cozy mystery series, the Dead-End Job Mysteries and the Josie Marcus Mystery Shopper Mysteries.  This is the first book in the Angela Richman, Death Investigator series, a harder edged mystery of hers that I have read.

As the story opens Angela Richman is investigating a horrible car crash which kills a Forest Hill teenager and injures another.  But just as her investigation begins, she is hit with a series of strokes.  Dr. Gravois, the resident Forest Hill doctor misdiagnosis her but she is saved by the brilliant neurosurgeon Dr. Jeb Travis Tritt, an outsider to this inbred society.

During Angela’s arduous hospital recovery, she learns that Dr. Gravis has been murdered and Dr. Tritt is accused of killing him.  Despite her brain injury, she decides to investigate to save the man who saved her life.  She faces difficulty as the community closes ranks against the outsider.

I loved this book on so many levels.  First it is a great story.  It is about how we perceive people.  Dr. Gravis was incompetent, but an insider with social skills for the “right people.”  Dr. Tritt was brilliant but a vulgar outsider who was known as a womanizer. Dr. Tritt also didn’t seem to differentiate his treatment between the “right people” and the “wrong people.”

It is also a glimpse of medicine in our society today, from treatment to malpractice to insurance to billing issues.

What brings this whole story together and makes it much more powerful was Elaine Viet’s acknowledgements.  In 2007, Elaine’s husband took her to a top-ranked hospital due to blinding headaches, like Angela’s in the story. The respected neurologist told her she was too young and fit to have a stroke.  Two days later, she had six strokes, including a hemorrhage stroke.  After brain surgery she was in a medically induced coma.  She lost a third of her right frontal lobe and took four years to recover.  She was also a victim of a hospital billing scam and encourages her readers to carefully check their bills and explanation of benefits.

I strongly recommend this book and think it would be an outstanding book for book clubs to read and discuss.

Five stars out of five.


In accordance with the FTC guidelines for reviewers, I would like to clarify that this book was provided to me by the publisher free of charge.  I am not compensated by the author or publisher for my review.  All they expect is an honest review of the work.