The Doctor’s Plot: A BookShot, by James Patterson and Connor Hyde

Eight stars

Stumbling across this new BookShot within the recently released Murder in Paradise collection, James Patterson is collaborating with Connor Hyde to come up with this spine-tingling story. Abi Brenner is excited to have been hired as a new medical examiner in the Napa Valley. A Wisconsin farm girl, Abi and her husband, Jeremy, are trying to settle in to the California lifestyle and the pile of cases left by the previous M.E. who died in a freak accident. As soon as she begins working, Abi discovers some oddities in a handful of the bodies awaiting her analysis, all of whom died in a similar manner. Meanwhile, working at a local free clinic, Jeremy also finds himself surrounded by inexplicable happenings that he cannot simply consider coincidental. When Abi begins to poke around, she soon runs up against a wall, but will not turn away until she has answers. There’s something not right going on and she needs to raise a warning flag to those in a position of authority. Abi also has something she needs to tell Jeremy, but is not sure if she’ll have the time before someone tries to silence her for good. Patterson and Hyde have crafted a wonderful short story that will keep the reader guessing until the final sentence. Perfect for those who love Patterson BookShots, particularly of the medical and criminal variety.

This is the first collaborative effort to my knowledge between James Patterson and Connor Hyde, but I hope it will not be their last. The authors seem to have a great literary chemistry, whatever their contractual obligation might be related to this piece. Abi Brenner is a great character and she has some real pizzazz, mixing medical practitioner with all-around sleuth. She may be young, but she holds her own in this piece, keeping it light and yet poignant throughout. Because of his role in the piece, I will also call Jeremy an essential piece of the puzzle and give him protagonist accolades, developing his own narrative to propel the story in a few interesting directions. The handful of secondary characters offer an interesting glimpse into the sinister side to whatever is going on (read to find out) and keeps the reader wondering how large this web of deceit might go. The story itself is strong enough to keep my attention while also entertain me in the short space on offer to do so. It’s a BookShot, but not simply slapped together to fill space. Patterson and Hyde have invested some research and used the short-chapter trademark style that keeps BookShots crisp and interesting for the dedicated reader. I’ll gladly read another collaborative effort, should these two work together in the coming months or years.

Kudos, Messrs. Patterson and Hyde, for an interesting piece. Glad I took the time to check out this BookShot collection, as this story was sandwiched between two I had read before.

A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: