04 April 2014

Book Review: Critical Condition

I'm a fan of Richard Mabry's books. Critical Condition is the fifth one I've read — somehow I missed Heart Failure, but I'll rectify that — and it was not a disappointment. The book will be released on 15 April 2014.

Shannon Frasier, first year medical student, witnesses the shooting death of her fiancé, Todd, and is helpless to help him. Ten years later, as a surgeon in a Dallas hospital, another man is shot and killed in her front yard and she is, again, powerless to help him.

Shannon, her recovering addict sister, Megan, and her almost-fiancé, Mark, get tangled in a bank robbery/murder case. In the midst of all of this, Shanon struggles with her weakened faith in God.

As always, Mabry's medical/murder mystery compelled me to finish. His characters are real, struggling with daily issues of stress, faith, fallenness, doubt. I like and appreciate the fact that Mabry's does not resort to foul language or to sex scenes to "enhance" (tongue-in-cheek) his stories. Even though two of the main characters are doctors, the storyline itself is only tangentially related to the medical profession.

While this was a really good read, there are weaknesses in the plot. Shannon, Mark, and Megan's interferences in the investigation would probably have earned them serious trouble in real life. I sincerely hope that the Dallas police would have taken the threats against Shannon's life more seriously than the story portrays. Some things that seemed weak in the first half of the book made sense later (I won't detail to avoid spoilers).

Shannon's struggles with her own doubts about God may seem trite to non-believers, its a very real struggle for many believers -- how to reconcile one's belief in a loving God with difficulties and evil in daily life. Once again, I highly recommend Mabry's books.

(DISCLAIMER: I received a copy of Critical Condition free from the publisher as a participant in their Book Look Bloggers program. However, I was free to write the review that I believed the book deserved. My only compensation is continued participation in the review program.)