I wavered between three stars and four on The Complication, ultimately settling on a three for reasons I’ll explain.
Camille Delany, former nurse, current lawyer, has a job with a high-price firm. When her friend Dallas dies after a routine procedure, his widow asks Camille for help. Problem: her firm doesn’t handle medical malpractice. Solution: quit your job, establish your own firm, and take on the case yourself. And that is what Camille does.
She has her PI pal Trish helping, along with a few other side characters. The investigation is where my issues with the story began.
I’ll say this first: I read Coma (Robin Cook) when I was younger. At the time, the mystery at the heart of that book really creeped me out, as it was supposed to do. I think that if I read that now – after years of getting familiar with medical procedures, doctors, nurses, hospitals, operations, and so on (thanks, cancers!) – I would have the same issue with it as I have with this book.
The investigation itself is fine. It proceeds, as these things do, with medical staff leery of and sometimes hostile to legal staffs, hospital personnel turning their backs while leaving records out, etc.. It gets bogged down from time to time, trying to convey information to the reader about procedures and processes that may be unfamiliar to them, and sometimes introducing characters that don’t really mean anything in the story. Every time someone entered an already-crowded stage, my brain said, “Too many notes.” If you’ve seen Amadeus, you will understand. If not, well, you should watch it. The solving of the mystery relied a bit too much on coincidence for my tastes.
Finally, my biggest issue with the story: I just didn’t believe the crime. I’ll rephrase. I believe that A crime like the one in the book could occur. What I don’t believe is that the crime could be committed on the scale it is in the book, nor as publicly as it is. There are far too many people involved in operations that the manner of the crime would be exposed long before it is in the book.
That said, if you are able to suspend your disbelief, it’s a perfectly fine beach or place book, a couple of hours of time in an almost-real world.
Three stars out of five.
Thanks to Girl Friday Books and NetGalley for the reading copy.