May 19, 2015

Book Review: The Last Clinic

Outside the local women’s health clinic, the Reverend Jimmy Aldridge waving his protest sign is a familiar sight. But that changes early one morning when someone shoots the beloved Reverend Jimmy dead. Sheriff Shelby Mitchell knows the preacher’s murder will shock the good people of Jackson—and the pressure to find the killer is immediate and intense, which is why Shelby calls in detective Darla Cavannah.

When police detective Darla moved from Philadelphia to Jackson with her husband—hometown football hero Hugh “the Glue” Cavannah—she never imagined the culture shock that awaited. Then after Hugh dies in a car crash, Darla enters a self-imposed exile in her Mississippi home, taking a leave of absence from the sheriff’s department. Now she’s called back to duty—or coerced, more like it, with Shelby slathering on his good-ole-boy charm nice and thick, like on a helping of barbecue.

Reluctantly partnered with a mulish Elvis impersonator, Darla keeps a cool head even as the community demands an arrest. The court of public opinion has already convicted the clinic’s doctor, Stephen Nicoletti, but Darla is just as sure he’s not guilty—even as she fights her growing attraction to him. From the genteel suburbs to a raunchy strip club, Darla follows a trail of dirty money and nasty secrets—until the day of judgment comes, and she faces down an ungodly assassin.

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First off, I wanted to give this author kudos for delving into such a touchy issue without coming off biased or preachy. One was able to pick up the character's point of view but like a good detective, Darla pushed it aside. Well done.

THE LAST CLINIC started off really slow and would have been an almost impossible read if it had continued at that pace. I do have to say that the slow pace worked though. It gave me a chance to really get to know the characters and become invested in Darla’s success.

I found this an interesting look into the Old South and the ‘good ole boy’ network. There are places however where it is overdone and apt to offend some people. As long as one takes it with a grain of salt, I found it amusing.

Darla as an outsider brings a fresh insight and clear eyes that are needed even if her partner doesn't appreciate it.  She has a couple strikes against her from the beginning as she is both a woman and a Northerner.  Good thing her late husband's fame as a local boy made big works in her favor.

I am looking forward to reading more of this series and seeing just where and what Darla is up to next. It is worth pushing through the slow beginning to a breathtaking ending.


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