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BOOK REVIEW: THE PAIN NURSE
BY JON TALTON
We hope you enjoy this book review by
Caryn St. Clair.
Jon Talton is well known for his Phoenix based Dave Mapstone series. But he moves halfway across the country to Cincinnati for his The Pain Nurse.
Cheryl Beth Wilson is the pain nurse at Cincinnati Memorial Hospital. Once one of the top hospitals in the country, Memorial has fallen on hard times. It's struggling to stay afloat amidst the urban decay that surrounds it. In fact, the hospital might well go under if not for the top flight neurosurgery department. It's that very department that brings former homicide cop Will Borders to Memorial for surgery to treat his spinal tumor. And it's just by chance that Will's gurney is passing the door of Dr. Christine Lustig's secluded office. An office that is now a crime scene after the doctor was found dead by nurse Wilson. When police discover that not only had Wilson had a relationship with the murdered woman's husband but had been seen with her earlier that very evening, she becomes the obvious suspect. Borders however is sure someone else is to blame. Several years before, he had worked the Mt. Adams Slasher murder cases and had cracked the case. While the man convicted of those crimes is now dead, Dr. Lustig's murder bears some striking similarities. Could they have convicted the wrong man? Is it just coincidence or a copycat at work? Unfortunately, he is confined to a wheelchair and his former partner thinks he's imagining it all.
There are a couple of reasons that this is an interesting book. First, the writer has done an excellent job of setting the scene. I imagine more than a few readers will appreciate the “St. Elsewhere” feel to the old hospital whose better days are in it's past. Also, I'm familiar with Cincinnati and I think the writer got the city right. Like many old northern cities, Cincinnati was founded and settled by waves of primarily German immigrants who eventually moved out. The grand neighborhoods around downtown have deteriorated and become blighted only to have new waves of rehabbers move in and try to gentrify pockets of the area. It makes for an interesting mix of people.
The second reason to love this book is the characters. Cheryl Beth Wilson is an interesting character with an interesting career. I wish I knew more of her backstory. And how can readers not root for Will Border in his fight to regain his life after surgery for his spinal tumor? While The Pain Nurse was written as a stand alone, I for one, would welcome another case for Cheryl Beth Wilson and Will Borders.
REVIEWED BY CARYN ST. CLAIR
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WITHOUT PERMISSION OF THE REVIEWER, CARYN ST. CLAIR
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