While this book kept me turning pages, it was more out of curiosity than intense interest. The mystery was intriguing (until it was revealed) and I wanted to see whodunnit, but other than that, Delayed Diagnosis sort of died on the table.
Dr. Rhea Lynch has been away. She and her fiancé broke up and Rhea took a two-week vacation over the Christmas holiday to go camping by herself. Upon her return, she finds that her dearest friend, Marisa Braswell, has suffered brain damage due to a stroke and is now in a vegetative state. Not only that, but Marisa’s husband, Dr. Steven Braswell, has forbidden anyone to see Marisa. This complicates things because Dr. Braswell is Rhea’s superior at the Dawkins County, South Carolina hospital where they work.
Upon hearing that Steven has been acting in strange and violent ways, Rhea risks her career by examining Marisa on the sly. After lots of tests and digging through the medical records, she discovers that Marisa did not have a stroke, but was the victim of foul play. When two more patients show up at the hospital with the same symptoms as Marisa, Rhea confides her findings to her handsome cop friend, Mark Stafford.
Much of this book is spent with Rhea performing medical tests, using medical jargon, cleaning her house, going jogging, snapping at Mark and mooning over sexy colleague and old friend, Dr. Cam Reston. I think Mark was supposed to be the hero, but Rhea spent a lot more time and energy on Cam. Since this book isn’t a romance, I guess it doesn’t matter except that I found it odd.
The basic premise of the story didn’t work for me. What happened to Marisa was implausible. Even more implausible was why the same thing was done to other characters. Why not just kill them and have done with it? If you can accept the premise and don’t mind wondering who the hero is the book has some good points.
But there were things that bothered me. For instance, Rhea criticizes a single nurse who has standards so high, no man can measure up. Now remember, this is a criticism:
Ugly, married, particularly stupid or overly bookish, sport fiends, poor men, overly religious ones, alcoholics, child abusers and deer hunters were all beneath her standards.
This remark left me speechless. Another problem was that the acknowledgements in the front of the book stated that a particular author is Ms Hunter’s “fellow author and friend.” Then, in the story, she has a character reading one of this author’s books and even talks about it a little. Again at the end of the story, this same author is mentioned. Not only is this tacky, it took me right out the created world of the story into the author’s life, something most writers strive to avoid.
There are other problems. In an apparent effort to capture the essence of South Carolina, all the white characters sound smart and all the black characters sound dumb. I’ve never been to South Carolina, but I sincerely doubt this is the case. It was probably unintentional but I tried to find a place in the book where this wasn’t so, but couldn’t. It bothered me so much, it took me right out of the story. Additionally, much time is wasted; three full pages were devoted to Rhea’s showering and cleaning after her camping trip…talk about boring.
According to the cover blurb, Delayed Diagnosis is the first in a series of novels featuring the redoubtable Dr. Rhea Lynch. I don’t see a series here; Rhea Lynch is not an interesting enough heroine. Since the story is told in first-person narrative, snappy dialogue and humor are needed to make the speaker come alive for the reader. This didn’t happen for me. In the end, Delayed Diagnosis, while suspenseful at times, is only a so-so read.