NetGalley Top Reviewer

NetGalley Top Reviewer
NetGalley Top Reviewer

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Fixed in Blood (#4 Justice) by T.E. Woods

3.5 out of 5 stars -- This is the 4th book in the Mort Grant series, but only the 2nd I have read and it was obvious when I started that it would have been better had I been able to read those intervening stories first. The setting is Seattle, and the two main characters are Chief of Detectives, Mort Grant, and psychologist Lydia Corriger.

Although a bit of back story is given, I had missed some key events -- namely that Mort's daughter, Allie, had been back, was supposed to have been kept safe by the Fixer (Lydia), but she had been kidnapped? had escaped? to be with a billionaire Russian gangster. Mort and Lydia had been trying to find her again, and they thought she might be in London, but had set it aside for the time being.

A young girl's body is found; she had been tortured before her death. During the course of the investigation into this murder, another girl is killed. Both victims had ties to a loan company that charged exorbitant interest -- and when the money could not be paid -- had been lured into prostitution. That was bad enough, but new connections indicate that this may have even turned out worse for those two girls -- perhaps a snuff killing? If so, who was ordering these, and who had set up this prostitution scheme? Many questions for Mort and Lydia to tackle as they delve into a convoluted and deadly business that may lead them to tie up some other loose ends.

This was fast paced and entertaining and although suspenseful, there just isn't enough real depth to the main characters (despite what I know of their backgrounds) to give me more than a superficial interest in their future stories. I'll likely read #5 whenever it's released, but I think the "Justice" concept is only barely part of the whole plot at this point in the series.

Thank you to NetGalley and Alibi for the e-book ARC to review.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

5.0 out of 5 stars -- Anyone who is a nurse, who knows a nurse, or who might one day need a nurse, should read this book.

Although this non-fiction book focuses on four Emergency Room nurses and their personal experiences at various hospitals in an unnamed, large US city, it also includes reflections and anecdotes contributed by many other nurses from all over the world. The meticulous research by the author is evident as statistics and cited material provide a valid snapshot of many issues important to nurses, other healthcare workers, and patients. The voices of the many different types of licensed nurses are heard loud and clear -- LPN, RN, NP, CS, CRNA, DNP with all types of special certifications to add more credentials indicating specialty of practice. Two main points are clear -- nurses mostly love what they do, and they deserve respect and support. Long gone are the days when a nurse dressed in white and wore a cap, stood when a doctor came for rounds, and routinely did as bid without question. Nurses are sentient, compassionate and well-educated practitioners in their own right, doing what they do best, -- provide physical care, give spiritual and emotional support, as well as meticulously assessing, planning, documenting, and evaluating the patient's response and condition at all times. They don't want to be medical doctors, and feel that being a nurse is not a second tier position but one that should be valued on the same level as part of the health care team. When blatant bias against nurses is revealed herein, it's obvious that, although nursing has come a long way since the early days, there is still a long way to go to change perception and treatment of these professionals.

When my family gathers for any occasion, there are among us 4 nurses, 2 medical doctors (one a hospitalist and the other a surgeon) and 2 pharmacists. Everyone in the entire family has grown up in an atmosphere where "work stories" and arguments dominate the conversation as everyone wants to share his or her own point of view in situations that have occurred where each person may have felt that the "others" didn't respond appropriately or give due respect to the title, the work, the need, or the decision. It comes down to this -- each one of us wants to feel that we are equally valued for our area of expertise. That doesn't always happen in my family, and neither does it happen in real life practice. Working on a "team" can sometimes be a game of oneupsmanship or a darned if you do and darned if you don't situation. For example: the doctors may not really want the middle of the night phone calls, but the nurses and pharmacists have to make them whether they want to or not. For all that we each want to provide the best care for every patient, the team situation is often adversarial because it usually boils down to the fact that much of what nurses or pharmacists can do still relies ultimately on a doctor's order (though that is changing). Regardless, each member of the health care team has his or her own role to perform in the complex delivery of effective patient care. Thus, I didn't really care for the "heroes of the hospital" phrase in the title as all members uniquely contribute in their responsibilities.

I've been a Registered Nurse for 37 years and have practiced in many different settings in hospitals, clinics, EMS, education, publishing, and, now as a school nurse. I can't think of another career that provides so many different avenues for change and self-fulfillment from one basic degree. As one quote puts it, "nursing isn't just a job -- it's who I am." I could relate to almost every scenario presented in this book, and only wish that it had followed the stories of nurses from other departments besides the ER. I laughed when I read that some ER nurses consider themselves the "rock stars" of nursing -- that's only their opinion as I'd bet that many other specialty nurses feel that same way about their own (ICU and OR nurses to name two) -- and, really, how is that label even determined? Regardless, this book reminded me again of why I stayed in nursing and I hope that the coming generation of nurses will be just as satisfied as I have been in my chosen vocation.

I'll be recommending this book to everyone as it offers insight into a profession that will be much in demand as baby boomers age and health care initiatives change how health care is provided -- and by whom. I'd like to thank Workman Publishing and Edelweiss for an ARC digital copy of this book for review. 

Saturday, April 11, 2015

The Fixer by T.E. Woods (#1 Justice series)

3.5 out of 5 stars -- An assassin with a conscience. You can hire this hit woman and she will only accept your case if she decides that it will be delivering JUSTICE, not revenge.

Though the premise of this suspense thriller was not exactly new (remember the DEXTER series), the story was one with several unexpected twists, so it was an enjoyable and quick read for me. It is the first in the "Justice" series featuring detective Morton (Mort) Grant of the Seattle Police. Mort, a widower, teams up with his journalist son who is in pursuit of a story about an unusual death -- and the search leads them to uncover related murders that might be the work of a hired killer. A killer who might be a beautiful woman.

From another perspective in the alternating narrative, Lydia Corriger, a psychologist with her own emotional baggage, is visited by a client with even more severe issues -- Savannah Samuels -- who brings a convoluted tale of how she has hurt others. Lydia meets Mort to find out if there are any clues that might link Savannah to recent suspicious deaths and offers her services.

The victims in recent cases seem to be connected to the university and the politics and petty squabbling of the leadership, the department heads and the researchers come to a head when a horrible case of animal cruelty comes to light. In addition, there's a money angle. Mort has his hands full as he tries to see how and why Lydia and her patient are possibly connected. Can Mort find out who hired the hits and see that the person or persons are held responsible?

I won't say more to avoid giving spoilers, but since the series continues and is named "Justice" and has the same two main characters, I think readers can imagine how this one ends. I found that to be a bit of a stretch, but I think many of us like to imagine that horrible people who can't be touched or punished appropriately by the courts and the law get what is coming to them in a sort of vigilante way.

There are now 4 books in the series and #2 and #3 are only in kindle format (not at my library), but I intend to check out #4 shortly to see what's come of the duo. I would imagine that the hit woman has not gone into retirement!

Thank you to NetGalley and Random House Publishing Group - Alibi for the e-book ARC to review.