Published on Jul 3, 2016
Angela Richman, Death Investigator, is off to a good start with Brain Storm, the first book in my new series The top four review journals gave Brain Storm a warm welcome to the literary world.
Angela Richman is the death investigator for Chouteau Forest, a wealthy enclave near St. Louis. She is responsible for filing all the paperwork for police inquiries and often has to work with Ray Greiman, the laziest detective on the force. In the midst of two separate cases, Angela suffers a series of strokes and ends up comatose. Misdiagnosed by Dr. Gravois, the hospital’s venerable and well-liked neurosurgeon, Angela faces a long recovery after the brash new neurosurgeon Dr. Jeb Tritt saves her life. Then Gravois is murdered, Tritt falls under suspicion, and Greiman is assigned to the case. Will Angela recover her sleuthing skills in time to solve the crimes? VERDICT Cozy veteran Viets (“Dead-End Job” mysteries), a stroke survivor, returns to her crime fiction roots with this intriguing tale that will attract forensic mystery buffs and fans of Max Allan Collins’s “CSI” tie-in series. With its authentic hospital scenes that reflect the reality of stroke victims, this might also be welcomed by family members of such patients.
Viets brings readers a treat with a new series featuring coroner’s investigator Angela Richman, who lives in a wealthy St. Louis suburb in a house inherited from her parents, who were once servants in the community. While working an accident scene, Angela experiences a severe headache and ends up in the emergency room. Dr. Porter Gravois, a well-connected neurologist, sends her home with orders for a PET scan the next morning, but a series of strokes almost kills her. Fortunately, a brilliant neurosurgeon from the wrong side of the tracks, Dr. Jeb Travis Tritt, saves her life and her brain. As Angela works to recover from her strokes, she overhears the two physicians quarreling viciously. When Dr. Gravois keels over in the hospital cafeteria, everyone accuses Dr. Tritt of poisoning him. Angela is sure Tritt is innocent and wants to help him, but her condition and Dr. Gravois’ status are major obstacles. Angela must cope with sexist and incompetent detectives, corrupt hospital administrators, and local snobs as she looks for clues. Viets, a stroke survivor herself, builds her unusual premise into a compelling thriller that moves quickly and builds suspense steadily. — Barbara Bibel
A death investigator battles to clear the neurosurgeon who saved her life.
Dr. Jeb Travis Tritt is far from wealthy Chouteau Forest, Missouri’s favorite son. A large man with a larger ego, he’s tolerated only by virtue of his marriage to a local debutante. But numerous affairs with nurses at Sisters of Sorrow Hospital have pretty much trashed that union, and Tritt may be on his way out. Angela Marie Richman, on the other hand, is a child of the Forest in the truest sense: she grew up on the Du Pres estate, where her parents were caretakers. Now, as death investigator, she’s been a pillar to the Forest elite in their darkest moments, like the night cousins Jordan Hobart and Jillian Du Pres crashed into Sandy Warburton’s red Ferrari with deadly results. But in her moment of need—when she came to the SOS emergency room with obvious symptoms—popular neurologist Porter Gravois sent her home as “too young and fit to have a stroke.” Only quick intervention by the arrogant Tritt saved her life. Now, as Angela starts her long recovery, she’s tormented not only by the cosmic conundrum of how kindly Dr. Gravois almost killed her while obnoxious Dr. Tritt saved her, but by the real-world puzzle of how to get her life together. Left bald and bloated by her treatment, awash in impenetrable medical bills, and plagued by doubts about her ability to function in her job, she leans increasingly on her best friend, pathologist Katherine Kelly Stern. But when Dr. Tritt is accused of murder, Angela gathers her scattered wits to prove she can still investigate a death, even one that’s personal. Viets' new series launch carries more heft than her earlier cozies (Catnapped!, 2014, etc.). Her complicated heroine deserves a return outing.
Devastating migraines send “death investigator” Angela Richman, the heroine of this well-paced, darkly humorous series launch from Viets (The Art of Murder and 14 other Dead-End Job mysteries), to the emergency room of the Choteau Forest, Mo., hospital, only to be heedlessly sent home by Dr. Porter Gravois. Nineteen days, six strokes, and a coma later, Angela awakens in the hospital, her life saved due to expedient brain surgery by the brash, outspoken, brilliant Dr. Jeb Travis Tritt. An outsider, Tritt is despised as much as Gravois is adored by the well-to-do locals, and there’s no love lost between the two. When Gravois is murdered, Tritt becomes the prime suspect. Brain-damaged Angela may have trouble telling fact from fiction, but she knows that Tritt is wrongly accused and is determined to prove his innocence. Angela’s endearing, spirited, and resilient humanity resonates on the page. Viets takes an entertaining detour from her usual cozy territory, though some sections don’t stray too far from the genre’s formulaic path. Agent: Jill Marr, Sandra Dijkstra Agency. (Aug.)
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