cover image Doc in the Box

Doc in the Box

Elaine Viets. Dell Publishing Company, $7.5 (256pp) ISBN 978-0-440-23620-7

Francesca Vierling's lousy assignment covering a male stripper turns into intrigue when her subject disappears in Viets's newest mystery featuring the columnist/sleuth (after The Pink Flamingo Murders). At the same time, a doctor, receptionist and therapist in a radiation oncology unit are gunned down, and Francesca determines to solve the mystery to further her career. Nobody has anything good to say about these callous medical professionals, nor about the next victim, an internist who, though well-loved, had been known to misdiagnose patients. Surreptitiously escorting her editor and friend to breast cancer treatments conveniently puts Francesca in the right place to dig around. Suddenly, she begins to receive death threats. Is it because of her search for Leo D. Nardo, the missing and most-likely dead stripper, or is someone trying to stop her investigation of the vengeful medical murders? Before the reader has much chance to agonize over these possibilities, Francesca has solved one case and the other is easily narrowed down to three suspects. Those hoping for a surprise ending will be disappointed, but there is a perverse satisfaction in seeing revenge taken for all the people who are not only victims of cancer but of the medical system itself. (July)