25 July 2011

Review: Lethal Remedy by Richard L. Mabry

When patients who received an experimental drug, the only cure for a deadly infection, start falling ill weeks after treatment, a team of doctors at the Southwestern hospital must find out how the drug is causing these illnesses. But there are those who do not want the truth discovered and will stop at nothing to ensure the experimental drug goes to market.

The plot of Lethal Remedy is enjoyable but unremarkable, with no major twists and turns that make a good thriller, instead the plot is quite transparent and really as a reader you are following the diagnostic and treatment process, rather than figuring out a gripping puzzle. Mabry has missed many opportunities to build suspense in the plot and the result is that there is no sense of urgency or danger, even at major plot events where these feelings should be in evidence; this is perhaps due to the focus on the mundane details. The ending of the book is also a let down, with a quick, unsatisfying ending that is wrapped up all too neatly in the epilogue, with a unbelievable ‘tell all’ moment from the main antagonist.

On the other hand, Mabry characterises well, and as such the reader can empathise with the characters and they are, in the main, believable. There are several sub-plots involving the characters that develop during the story, but these tend not to be fully explored or concluded, such as the cause of Sara’s nightmares, which promise more than they ever deliver, and leave a reader feeling let down.

As with Mabry’s Diagnosis Death, there is a very strong Christian theme throughout which at times is jarring, more so than in Diagnosis Death. I personally would have preferred the characters to take more responsibility for their decisions rather than leaving it up to God and whilst I understand that Mabry is a Christian writer, I feel the novel would have worked better with the religious theme still intact but downplayed. Elsewhere in the plot there are references to Christian ideals, including in the naming of the killer bacteria as Staph luciferus, which I thought was a nice touch. Also like Diagnosis Death there is a romantic sub-plot that is included, although this time it was much less of a distraction, but again made it a more cozy novel than in traditional thrillers.

Overall an enjoyable but disappointing outing for Mabry. The lack of suspense meant that whilst the book had a thriller plot, it just didn’t read like a thriller, although it was no less gripping. The book is saved by excellent and believable characterisation. The detail in the novel makes it a must read for medical thriller fans, although they may be disappointed at the lack of suspense. In addition the discussion questions at the end of book are a nice touch for reading groups, particularly those of a Christian nature.

Lethal Remedy by Richard L. Mabry is due for release on the 30st October and is currently available from Amazon UK to pre-order for £8.09 in paperback form; it is also available from Amazon US for $11.19. Readers can also pre-order from Barnes and Noble and WH Smith. It is very likely that Lethal Remedy, like Mabry’s other offerings, will be made available on Kindle as well but if you would like to ensure this please let the publisher know, either through Amazon or directly via their website

Note: The previous books in the series were released under the name Richard Mabry, but this one is under the name Richard L. Mabry, which can lead to issues when searching for the book online.

[An ARC was provided by Abingdon Press]

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