"The Case of the Desperate Doctor," by Jacqueline Diamond
Cozy Medical Mystery
Two women are dead. A doctor desperately seeks justice for them both.
Haunted by the loss of his wife, Dr. Eric Darcy discovers she was linked to another woman, a female obstetrician, who has just died. Was it suicide or murder? His inquiry sets him at cross purposes with his sister-in-law, a private investigator, and his close friend, a homicide detective.
The pursuit of truth drives Eric on a quest to Israel, and back to his small town in California. There he uncovers shocking secrets that lead to a stunning climax.
USA Today bestselling novelist Jacqueline Diamond explores the deadly effects of hidden trauma in the third Safe Harbor Medical Mystery.
I know I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again: why in the name of all things good have I been hiding exclusively in Romancelandia for so many years? While, yes, romance is and will always be my favorite genre, I’ve recently discovered a rash of books that fall outside that realm, and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed them. The Case of the Desperate Doctor (A Safe Harbor Medical Mystery) by Jacqueline Diamond happens to be another shining example.
Ms. Diamond is a well-established author—with over 100 books to her name—and the quality of her writing, storyline, characters, and overall craft speaks to that experience. I was happily surprised by just how much I truly enjoyed this book, despite it falling into a genre I’ve never read.
For starters, the main character—Eric Darcy—has a wonderful voice. This is written in first person single POV—it’s only Dr. Darcy’s head we’re in—so there’s always that question whether the voice is the character’s or author’s. But in this instance—in single POV—it doesn’t matter. The voice is strong, relatable, and charismatic while not stealing the show from the story itself.
And the story… oh, folks, I was hooked from the beginning. For starters, I’m an L&D nurse when I’m not obsessively doing all things writing, and the main character is an OB-GYN! I was kinda stoked to dive into a medical mystery, especially one based around my personal area of interest and expertise. However, for those of you who might pump the breaks at the idea of something so out of your sphere of understanding, I can honestly say this: while touted as a medical mystery, there is nothing about this book that should deter anyone from reading it for fear of confusion or repulsion. Not at all. The “medical” aspect is more a backdrop than anything delved into great detail on, so this story can truly be for anyone, from any walk of life.
In addition, I absolutely adored how Ms. Diamond weaved characters into her story often considered controversial or, at best, difficult to properly portray. The most telling of the bunch is a man who admits, nearly on page one, to being schizophrenic. Rather than depicting him as a monster or shoving his character into a corner and only using him for punchlines, Ms. Diamond draws Dr. Jeremiah Schwartz into the heart of the story. He becomes a hero in his own right, and in ways you might not expect.
But be warned. While this is a “cozy mystery,” and the medical aspects are in no way anything to be leery of, this book does tackle a few topics that might make some readers uncomfortable. Namely, the themes of suicide, rape/sexual assault, and bigotry toward the LGBT+ community. Now, let me say this: while these are certainly trigger-filled subjects, and something to avoid if the mere mention of them is enough to harm your mental wellbeing, I believe Ms. Diamond handles all three in a very careful manner. None of the rape or sexual assault is shown or discussed in any detail, and the bigotry I mention is not perpetuated by any of the main characters and is used only to support the plot, as opposed to used to purposefully or cruelly harm. It is obvious Ms. Diamond is aware these are tender areas and she treats them as such.
The only matter I believe truly does deserve a full-fledged trigger warning is the issue of suicide. I’m not easily triggered, but I’ve had more than one person close to me pass away due to this heart wrenching act. I found several scenes and points of discussion difficult to get through without dredging up painful feelings and memories. Not impossible, but definitely difficult.
Overall, I would highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good cozy mystery with a strong voice and entertaining characters. As long as the reader goes into the story aware of the possible triggers, and doesn’t have issue with them, then this can and absolutely is a very enjoyable read.
Until next time,