HEART FAILURE by Richard L. Mabry, M.D. ~ a review

Heart Failure

Devastated by the untimely death of her husband, Dr. Carrie Markham could not imagine she would ever fall in love again. She is a member of a medical practice that is doing well and she thought that would be enough. However, when Adam Davidson enters her life, almost in spite of herself, she falls in love and they become engaged. Unfortunately, he is hiding something. After an evening at the movies, they become the victims of an apparent drive-by shooting. The author sets this up beautifully and pulls the reader in.

Worried that he might be putting Carrie in danger, Adam reveals his secret. He is not who he claims to be. Although she believes him to be a paralegal, he’s actually a lawyer. His is real name is Keith Branson and powerful and dangerous people are out to kill him. He has been in the government’s witness protection program. Quite understandably, this news unnerves Carrie. She’s not sure she wants to continue in a relationship with a man she’s just discovered has lied to her, and who could possibly bring about her demise.

Of course you can count on this author to deliver a thriller with accurate medical details. Yet I wasn’t bombarded with medical jargon that went over my head.

What makes the story compelling is how page, by page, the reader becomes invested in the characters. Carrie comes across as a highly likeable, living, breathing woman who has suffered bereavement but who is determined to get on with her life. As a successful doctor, she deals with the intricate office politics of a thriving medical practice, sometimes wondering if the male doctors in the practice are overlooking her because she is a woman. I was drawn to Carrie’s concern for her patients. The character’s struggles to understand and forgive Adam/Keith for lying to her make her come to life in a very real way. My heart broke for Adam who is a decent man, struggling to survive, and who dares to fall in love. He is the kind of man who does the right thing for the right reasons, and unfortunately has had to pay a high price for those ethical standards. Woven through this novel is a gentle spiritual message showing us how God is always there, even when it looks as if everything is falling apart.

There is no shortage of red herrings leading the reader in different directions. Supporting and minor characters are used to keep the reader guessing who the killer is. Although there is romance, the chase to catch a killer is the main thing. This is exactly the way I like my thrillers.

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