Delayed Diagnosis by Gwen Hunter
Pros: Decent premise, dares to be “different”
Cons: Dull book, annoying dialog, repetitive, and repetitive.
I usually love “medical thrillers”. Robin Cook and Michael Palmer always produce a reliable read in this genre. Gwen Hunter gives it a try in a series starring Dr. Rhea Lynch. Delayed Diagnosis is the first book in the series, and my first Hunter read.
In short, this book is “ok”. It’s not great, didn’t have me perched on the edge of my seat, didn’t have me flipping those pages ’til the wee hours of the night. However, it held my interest, and provided a bit of a surprise towards the end. Best of all, it was quite “different” from the typical story found in this genre.
Rhea is an ER physician. When we meet her she’s just coming home after a vacation during which she and her boyfriend parted ways. Coming back home after that kind of vacation should have been a relief. However she comes back to discover her best friend Marisa in a vegetative state, diagnosed as a victim of a massive stroke. Further, Marisa’s husband is restricting visitors to his wife; even Rhea is unwelcome.
Not one to follow rules, Rhea sneaks into Marisa’s room and makes a shocking discovery. Her symptoms just don’t match the diagnosis. Worse, some of her symptoms seem to have been omitted from the chart.
With Rhea her only advocate, Marisa’s life hangs in the balance. Rhea must figure out what really happened to her. But before she can get too far, more patients are showing up, with the same strange symptoms. And someone is sending Rhea clear signals to mind her own business lest she end up in the same state.
There you have it – a premise that certainly piqued my interest. I admit to wondering what really happened to Marisa and the other patients. And who’s behind the shenanigans.
Sadly, though, the book is a bit dull. Long passages go by where absolutely nothing of any importance happens. A few themes are repeated over and over. One has to do with Rhea’s dry skin. Her skin is dry. We know this because it’s mentioned approximately a dozen times. Is this fact important to the story at all? Nope. It’s just something that Hunter apparently felt was vital that we know about the protagonist.
Dialog is annoying, with two characters speaking in heavy southern accents which Hunter seems intent on exaggerating to extremes.
Characters are fairly flat, although I admit to actually liking Rhea, and her current suitor Mike. I haven’t done any research into further books of the series to know if Rhea and Mike get together or not, but I would hope so!
In the end, it’s a pretty weird story, one that’s quite a bit “different” from the typical book in this genre. The big reveal at the end surprised me. Perhaps, as I was a bit bored with the book, I wasn’t paying as much attention as I should have been to earlier clues. Still, even after everything is out in the open, I felt let down. Delayed Diagnosis isn’t a terrible book, but it just doesn’t pack the same wallop that I usually get from other medical thrillers. Still, I’d be happy to try another book in the series.