Fresh Meat: <i>One Murder More</i> by Kris Calvin Fresh Meat: One Murder More by Kris Calvin Doreen Sheridan Not all lobbyists are created equal, as Maren Kane proves! <i>Collision</i>: New Excerpt Collision: New Excerpt William S. Cohen You're gonna need to find cover immediately! Fresh Meat: <i>The Storm Murders</i> by John Farrow Fresh Meat: The Storm Murders by John Farrow Kate Lincoln This serial killer's gone international! <i>Independence Day</i>: New Excerpt Independence Day: New Excerpt Ben Coes Dewey Andreas has gone rogue, and the CIA couldn't be luckier.
From The Blog
May 25, 2015
A Commemorative Bouquet of Links for Memorial Day
Crime HQ
May 22, 2015
Cremains of the Day: A Digital Version of a Deceased Self
Crime HQ
May 21, 2015
True Crime Thursday: Running and Gunning through America
Crime HQ
May 20, 2015
Burglar Takes a Nap on Victim’s Couch
Teddy Pierson
May 19, 2015
"An Unexpected Guest": Listen Now!
Donna Andrews and John Gilstrap
Sun
May 17 2015 12:00pm

Devil Be Damned: Jack Nicholson Westerns

In a half-century plus career, Jack Nicholson turned to wearing spurs and leveling six-shooters only a handful of times with less than successful box office returns. He even wrote one. Think Jack Nicholson and you picture that sly smirk, devil-be-damned boldness, and slow drawl that’s usually trailed by a sarcastic putdown. Like Marilyn, Clint, or Elvis, he’s an icon that audiences recognize by just his first name and has a record of cinematic achievements that is truly dazzling: Easy Rider (1969), The Last Detail (1973), Chinatown (1974), One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975), The Shining (1980), Reds (1981), Terms of Endearment (1983), Prizzi’s Honor (1985), Batman (1989), A Few Good Men (1992), As Good As it Gets (1997), and The Departed (2006). Sure, he garnered an impressive three Oscars, but he was a natural in the saddle, and those financial disappointments undoubtedly prevented further detours on the range. His very first Western outing, an uninspiring The Broken Land (1962), came when he was just twenty-five-years-old, and is now mainly of note for co-starring Nicholson. However a close friendship with cult director Monte Hellman (Two-Lane Blacktop) resulted in two highly memorable, mid-60’s acid Westerns and set the tone for two further off-the-beaten-path excursions.

[Can you handle the truth?]

Sat
May 16 2015 12:00pm

Fresh Meat: Scarlett Undercover by Jennifer Latham

Scarlett Undercover by Jennifer Latham is a Young Adult mystery featuring a 15-year-old girl hot on the trail of a murder (available May 19, 2015).

When I first came across Scarlett Undercover by Jennifer Latham, what really leapt out at me from the description was the comparison to Veronica Mars. I’m not a Veronica Mars superfan by any means (by which I mean that I haven’t the personality to get as obsessive as true Marshmallows, though I really, really enjoyed what I have watched of the series), but that was enough to sell me on this YA novel featuring a sassy, savvy teenage private eye as she accepts a seemingly easy, if emotionally fraught case. A young girl is convinced that her older brother had something to do with the recent suicide of his close friend. Initially sceptical, our titular heroine soon finds herself confronted with hostile peers, mysterious symbols, and suspicious tails who follow her as she travels through the California town of Las Almas, leading to action-packed scenes such as this one, where she tries to shake them on the subway:

By the time the train screeched to a stop, I'd put three cars' worth of space between the pale women and me. The train doors opened. I hopped on. Three cars down, so did they. I hugged the pole just inside the door, fighting the crush of bodies as it tried to push me further inside, ignoring the nasty looks I got for my trouble. The platform cleared. I crouched low and waited for the recorded voice to tell us to stand clear of the closing doors. The voice came. The doors’ hydraulics kicked in. I dove for the platform.

[It's gonna be a close call...]

Fri
May 15 2015 11:45am

Check Out Agatha Raisin at Twenty-Six!

Just look at Agatha Raisin at twenty-six, already having come a long way from the Birmingham slum where she was born. M. C. Beaton's upcoming short story will find Agatha having dumped both her accent and drunken husband, but landing a job at a public relations office as a secretary. 

Uncomfortable situations are part of PR, and Agatha's boss tells her to go to the home of Brian Devese to inform him that he's soon going to be arrested for the murder of his wife and that the agency no longer wants to represent him. Devese, impressed by her bold assertiveness, asks her to represent him instead, even offering her a staff and office. Agatha swiftly decides, of course, the best thing she can do for her first client is to clear his name by discovering who really murdered his wife.

This brand-new Agatha Raisin story will be released in August. We love learning how our favorite sleuths became who they are—what do you think of this smartly-dressed, go-getting young Agatha Raisin?

Fri
May 15 2015 10:45am

Fresh Meat: Vanishing by Gerard Woodward

Vanishing by Gerard Woodward is a historical mystery set in the years leading up to WWII where an artist is found painting a landscape of a new airport, and his motives are questioned (available May 15, 2015).

Near the end of WWII, British Lieutenant Kenneth Brill is arrested. His crime? Painting the landscape around Heathrow Village, where he grew up. The official story is that the village is going to be plowed under and a military airfield will be put in its place. Brill insists he is only painting the village for posterity, to protect the memory of his childhood home before it disappears forever. The trial goes forward anyway and Brill is forced to tell his story – but is he everything he claims to be?

On paper, Brill is a camouflage officer, one of a few men designated to hide Allied troop movement from the enemy. As such, he was a hero of the battle at El Alamein, Egypt. He studied art at Slade. He is married with a son. These things are documented. But as Brill tells his life story to Davies, his trial lawyer, a much more complex picture emerges. A picture of a world as transient as Brill himself. Stories of expulsions, violent encounters, homosexuality, and relationships with fascists are told.  

[Life, like art, is layered with deeper meaning...]

Fri
May 15 2015 8:45am

“Wishful Thinking” Submissions Open for the Next 2 Weeks!

The M.O. submissions mailbox is now open for your “Wishful Thinking!”

That's themostories - aT- gmail (plus dot and com). We're seeking short, original crime stories of 1000-1500 words around the loose theme of “Wishful Thinking” In another two weeks, we'll put up a selected shortlist of finalists in the Rogues' Gallery and in our newsletter. We'll ask registered site members to read samples from each, then vote on which story they'd like to read here in its entirety. After we pay for it, of course, the final selection will be posted to read free online.

We'll have the mailbox open for 2 weeks, so don't worry if you haven't begun a story yet. If you write just 72 words a day—less than the word count of the previous paragraph—you'll have one written from scratch by midnight of May 29th!

Entries should be submitted as e-mail attachments in any standard, not-too-fancy document format with author name (and pseudonym, if applicable), story title, and an e-mail contact all within the document itself.

You will receive an automatic reply to let you know your submission was received. If you don't, please check your spam folder and make sure to add our address to your list of approved senders. (If you try again, and still don't get confirmation, please use our Contact Us page, but only for technical problems. No other questions related to The M.O. will be answered there.)

For more details, please check The M.O. Submission Guidelines here. We can't wait to read what malfeasance you're wishing for!

Thu
May 14 2015 4:45pm

True Crime Thursday: Krystian Bala and Truth-Laced Fiction

On February 11, 2008, in an article for The New Yorker, David Grann published “True Crime: A Post Modern Murder Mystery” about a Polish detective's work in solving a three-year-old cold case murder. The detective, Jacek Wroblewski, unwillingly inherited the case of Dariusz Janiszewski, who was found dead floating in a lake.

Wroblewski attempted to navigate the usual channels that a detective would after finding a body, and by some luck, was able to locate Janiszewski's missing cell phone, which had been sold on an auction site soon after the murder.

That's where things get weird. The man who sold the phone online was Krystian Bala, and further research into Bala unearthed a recently published book, Amok. Wroblewski read the book, and noticed some glaring similarities to the murder of Janiszewski. You can read Grann's full article at The New Yorker, but the reason I bring this up now is because a film adaptation is in the works, and recent reports from The Wrap have linked Jim Carrey to the lead role. This film might give Carrey the perfect role to prove he's more than just a comedian, though it has yet to be announced if the role will be for Detective Wroblewski or Krystian Bala.

Which role would you rather see Carrey in?

Thu
May 14 2015 2:30pm

Batman Eternal: The Only Gotham Story You Need

Setting is character. The iconic image of Batman on the rooftops of Gotham City, protecting his dark, violent world tells the reader all they need to know about what kind of person this masked man is.

The television show Gotham has, to mixed success, attempted to make the city as much of a character as any of its citizens, though it labors under the handicap of not being able to use Batman or any of the city’s costumed heroes.

For that, readers need Batman Eternal, a 52 chapter story published in weekly installments last year. This year-long story, written by all the talent currently writing the Batman books, creates and epic story about Gotham and all its myriad facets.

Batman Eternal features every aspect of Gotham: the mob, costumed heroes, the colorful villains, the GCPD, the press, and the supernatural corners that lurk in the darkness. While an ambitious a story with a large cast could seem intimidating to a newcomers, each plotline has a tentpole that hold the elements together and provides its own point of view the city and its citizens.

[You'll be tearing through the pages in no time...]

Thu
May 14 2015 12:00pm

Empathy Through Art: Understanding War and PTSD

There’s no doubt that experiencing events that are foreign to our daily lives through the eyes of fictional characters is a way of broadening our understanding of the world around us. At times, a well-written novel can open our eyes and hearts to issues better than news reports. T.C. Boyle’s harrowing account of the day-to-day struggle of illegal aliens that have recently crossed over the border from Mexico in The Tortilla Curtain may not change your mind on immigration, but it will break your heart; The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini alternates between being a Afghani history lesson and a study in human depravity while bringing us face-to-face with people who have endured decades of conflict; and Pat Barker’s brilliant and incredibly well-researched novel Regeneration introduces us to the horrors of trench warfare and the long term psychological damage endured by British soldiers following WWI.

Using first person sources from the time, Barker’s novel is a fictionalized account of poet Siegfried Sassoon’s hospitalization and treatment for ‘shellshock’ after he published an impassioned declaration against the war in The Times. The psychologist W.H.R. Rivers, who pioneered research into post-traumatic stress disorder before and after WWI, is assigned as Sassoon’s doctor. Patients at Craiglockhart War Hospital suffer from a variety of conditions. An army surgeon cannot stand the sight of blood. Another patient experiences revulsions to food after being thrown through the air in an explosion and landing head first in the stomach of a rotting corpse. Billy Prior, one of the few entirely fictional characters, suffers from ‘mutism’ and can initially only write his responses to Rivers’ questions. Meanwhile, Rivers faces a moral dilemma. In healing his patients, he prepares them for their return to the horrors of the trenches where the life expectancy of a soldier is less than six weeks. Fast forward one hundred years, and soldiers around the world continue to suffer from PTSD.

[The suffering won't stop anytime soon...]

Wed
May 13 2015 5:00pm

Orson Welles at 100: The Lady from Shanghai (1947)

 Foreign release poster for The Lady from Shanghai (1947)The Lady from Shanghai is a brilliant mess. It is a film that was taken away from its director, edited thoughtlessly, scored with one song endlessly repeated, and then shelved for years before it was finally dumped on the market. And yet it’s still pretty damn close to great.

Before we go further, I should pause to declare something: I am a proud partisan of Orson Welles. No one doubts Welles’s talent, but there is a prevailing opinion in some circles that he died a fallen, undisciplined wunderkind. He made Citizen Kane, the story goes, and the rest was a sharp drop.

Bullshit, I reply.

[After that, some proof better be coming...]

Wed
May 13 2015 2:00pm

Fresh Meat: Boxes by Pascal Garnier

Boxes by Pascal Garnier is a work of noir fiction about a French man who goes through with moving to the countryside despite his wife's sudden overseas disappearance (available May 18, 2015).

The house was sulking. Not one window would look him in the face.

Those dazzling lines from Pascal Garnier’s novel Boxes are enough to make me want to read more and more of his books. But those bits of dizzying surrealism are only part of what makes the late Frenchman’s novels such gems. Boxes, which was released in its original French in 2012, two years after Garnier’s death at age 60, is being brought out in a new English translation, courtesy of Melanie Florence. It’s the latest in Gallic Books’ series of English language versions of Garnier’s noir fiction works. And it’s superb.

Like much of Garnier’s body of noir, Boxes is set in a provincial area of France. Also in keeping with the author’s general approach, it studies a person who is living in such terrain and whose life – and mind, and spirit – is coming apart. Brice Casadamont is a middle-aged man who illustrates children’s books as his profession. (Garnier authored many kids’ books, in addition to his noir novels.) Brice and his wife Emma, an oft-traveling journalist some 20 years his junior, make the decision to vacate their apartment in the city of Lyon and relocate to the countryside. But sometime before moving day, Emma goes missing. She was in Egypt on assignment when she disappeared. Brice goes ahead with the move, anyway, and starts to make a life for himself in the village as he awaits word on Emma.

[Sounds reasonable enough...]

Wed
May 13 2015 8:45am

Macaroni Salad Leads Police to Arrest Thieves

A New York Sheriff's Office said a hearty trail of macaroni salad helped them find and bust suspects in a burglary.

Deputies from Livingston County, New York were called to a burglary scene at the local restaurant Build-A-Burger at around 6:30 a.m. Sunday. The owner told police a surveillance system and cash register was stolen. Investigators quickly found evidence along a nearby hiking trail  including cash register parts, surveillance system parts, rubber gloves, loose change and a steady trail of macaroni salad, reports the Democrat and Chronicle.

"It was later discovered that the suspects stole a large bowl of macaroni salad, which they took turns eating, along their escape route,” authorities said.

All of the suspects were in custody by early afternoon. The lesson in this is to wait until you are done with a job before eating the profits...

Tue
May 12 2015 2:00pm

Now Win This!: The Disappearing Act Sweepstakes

Now you see it, now you don't! Turn away for one second and you'll miss it! Don't let these seven books get away from you!

Click here to enter for a chance to win!

This is NOT a Comments Sweepstakes. You must click the link above to enter.

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. A PURCHASE DOES NOT INCREASE YOUR CHANCE OF WINNING. Sweepstakes open to legal residents of 50 United States, D.C., and Canada (excluding Quebec), who are 18 years or older as of the date of entry. Promotion begins May 12, 2015, at 2:00 pm ET, and ends May 26, 2015, 1:59 pm ET. Void in Puerto Rico and wherever prohibited by law. Click here for details and official rules.

[Hurry, before it's too late...]

Tue
May 12 2015 12:00pm

Fresh Meat: The Body in the Birches by Katherine Hall Page

The Body in the Birches by Katherine Hall Page is the 22nd cozy mystery in the Faith Fairchild series set in Maine (available May 12, 2015).

Some books make you hungry as well as intrigued. Katherine Hall Page is clearly a master at making her readers crave food while solving a murder, because The Body in the Birches is the perfect cozy mystery for the food lover. The integration of the food in the way the exposition unfolds is excellent. The mystery itself, a slow building suspense that leaves you guessing until the last possible moment, fits perfectly with the relaxed Maine setting of the book. The Body in the Birches is just the mystery you want with a hot summer day – and a plate of great food. 

Caterer and amateur sleuth Faith Fairchild is spending the Maine summer on Sanpere Island enjoying her family and friends. With her son getting his first job at a local restaurant and her daughter clearly becoming a teenager, Faith is starting to come to terms with just how much has happened in her life. She has also come to appreciate the relative joys of her family and how they stay the same even if they change. As Faith and her husband wait for their house to be redone, they stay with friends in a house known as The Pines close to a grand family summer home: The Birches.

[All that's missing is a body...]

Tue
May 12 2015 11:00am

Fresh Meat: Burnt River by Karin Salvalaggio

Burnt River by Karin Salvalaggio is the 2nd book in the Detective Macy Greeley series where a murdered war veteran uncovers secrets that were supposed to remain buried (available May 12, 2015).

Detective Mary Greeley heads to Wilmington Creek in Northern Montana, a place where a man letting his hair grow is front page news for the local paper. So when the deadly shooting of a veteran occurs, it gets much more than passing interest. John Dalton survived action in Afghanistan, but his skills are not enough to help him dodge the bullet which ends his life in a dust strewn alley outside a bar. The Dalton family are powerful and well connected, and more than a few of them are keeping secrets, festering away in the hot unforgiving sun. Friends of the dead man also have buried secrets, which start to rear their ugly heads, one by one, as things you try to hide always seem to do.

Karin Salvalaggio creates a tight, believable central figure in Detective Greeley, as the Daltons are not alone with their demons. Investigating the death of the man seems straightforward at first, but peoples’ reluctance to both embrace and tell the truth, for their own reasons, means that Detective Greeley has more going on. And it's more than just dealing with her own relationships and the complications they bring, at the same time she's trying to solve a case of clear cut murder. The writing is sharp and sparse with just the right amount of grit in the prose and dialogue to keep you interested in what is going on and curious about the outcome of the unfolding events and their subsequent effect on peoples’ attempts to keep their secrets buried and undisturbed.

[Nothing stays buried forever...]

Tue
May 12 2015 9:30am

Cremains of the Day: Sex and Death from the Netherlands

21 Grams by artist Mark Sturkenboom: A spot for the wedding ring, the scent, the favorite song, and more...“Sex and death” is a phrase with more resonance when you put Marvin Gaye on the iPod and open the lid of the 21 Grams memory-box. Artist Mark Sturkenboom of the Netherlands has created a way to... well, see, the deceased's ashes go into a... oh, we'd rather let him explain:

21 Grams is a memory-box that allows a widow to go back to the intimate memories of a lost beloved one...By bringing different nostalgic moments together like the scent of his perfume, ‘their’ music, reviving the moment he gave her her first ring opens a window to go back to moments of love and intimacy... The urn offers the possibility to conserve 21 grams of ashes of the deceased and displays an immortal desire...

Most importantly, the artist's goal is, he says, to display “an accusation against the unavoidable passing of life. 21 Grams speaks in metaphors, not in shock value.” (I'm not sure I agree with you a hundred percent on your police work there, Lou.)

21 grams is a reference to what's been hypothesized as the weight of the soul, a slight difference in body mass after death measured by Dr. Duncan MacDougall in 1901. And in soulful fashion, cremains have now even become what was once euphemistically called a marital aid. Don't even think about trying to bill us for brain bleach.

Mon
May 11 2015 5:30pm

Familiar Yet Foreign Noir: The Late Show

The opening of Robert Benton’s private eye film The Late Show is chock-full of deception. We first see the Warner Brothers logo, but it’s not the Warner logo of 1977, the year the film was released. It’s a sepia colored 1940’s era Warner logo, and right away we hear soft 40’s style piano music playing and a woman’s voice that starts a song. It’s a melancholic, romantic song that a singer in the background of a 40’s film noir lounge scene might have crooned. The logo fades to give us a shot of an old manual typewriter, an Underwood, with a sheet of paper in the carriage. “Naked Girls and Machine Guns,” the title on that page says. “Memoirs of a real private investigator, by Ira Wells.” As the camera pans, it passes a small framed photo of Martha Vickers, who played Carmen Sternwood in Howard Hawks’ adaptation of Raymond Chandler’s The Big Sleep. It shows us a somewhat shabby room that has an unmade bed and a little bit of mess and a black and white wall picture of two younger men in natty suits and fedora hats. The movie’s coloring is subdued – everything from the wallpaper to the furniture seems to be done in some shade of brown – and by the time we get to a beefy, older man, Art Carney, seated in a recliner chair as he studies a racing form, his back to an old-fashioned black and white television set, we’d be forgiven for thinking we’re going to see a film that is either a film noir parody, an exercise in noir style nostalgia, or perhaps a straight-on pastiche, imitative in the extreme. But surprise, surprise. The Late Show is none of these. Benton’s film adheres to the classic structure of private eye film and literature, but within that structure, it mixes its components in a way not quite like anything else. The film is a reflective character study with a first-rate plot, continual tension, and comedy worthy laughs. Its dialogue crackles, at times fast and furious, but underneath the banter there's a melancholy mood. The pace seems unhurried, but at 93 minutes long, the movie is air tight. In a decade that saw a revival of private eye films, some more revisionist in intent than others – Chinatown, Night Moves, The Long Goodbye, Farewell My Lovely, to name a few – The Late Show remains one of the very best.

[That's no small praise...]

Mon
May 11 2015 12:00pm

Game of Thrones 5.05: “Kill the Boy”

Showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss love to give the episodes of Game of Thrones titles that work on multiple levels, and last night’s “Kill the Boy” does just that. It was Maester Aemon’s (Peter Vaughn) eponymous speech that delivered the line, but the phrase was present just about everywhere else.

Jon Snow (Kit Harrington) is no longer a boy; he’s a leader of men, and that’s a responsibility that often comes with difficult decisions. In a speech straight out of George R.R. Martin’s A Dance with Dragons, it’s time for Jon to kill the boy, and let the man be born. A man makes decisions, but a smart man makes decisions that breed longevity. I can only hope that Jon arrives at the latter – for his boyhood might not be the only one at the wall that needs killing.

Back in Winterfell, we learned how very close Roose Bolton (Michael McElhatton) came to actually killing his boy when he nonchalantly tells Ramsay (Iwan Rheon) how he not only raped the miller’s wife, he did so underneath the swaying corpse of her husband after Roose killed him for not seeking permission to marry. This story came about after Ramsay questioned his father’s intentions after the news of Walda’s (Elizabeth Webster) pregnancy. If the child were to be a boy, Ramsay’s place as Roose’s heir could be challenged due to his past illegitimacy. Knowing Ramsay’s penchant for torturous violence and self-preservation, I don’t like Walda’s chances at surviving.

And finally, to wrap up the final titular theme, we’re reminded of the man formerly known as Theon Greyjoy (Alfie Allen), and his alleged murders of Bran and Rickon Stark. Though we know he didn’t actually kill the boys, Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner) does not, and seeing the man who played a big part in orchestrating her family’s downfall serving her wine cannot be a pleasant experience. Sansa’s been maturing quickly this season, and at this point, it’s not a question of if she’ll get revenge on Theon, but when.

Elsewhere, this week’s episode of Jorah the Explorer ended with a waterlogged Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) and a grim future for Jorah (Iain Glen). Stannis Baratheon (Stephen Dillane) took off for Winterfell in an attempt to beat the ever-coming winter, but not before urging Sam (John Bradley) to stay in school. Brienne (Gwendoline Christie) seems to have found a way to get word to Sansa inside Winterfell, where we’ve been hit over the head with the fact that “the North remembers.”

We watched Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) go from wielding fire to wielding logic as she turned from Führer to fiancé. Hizdahr zo Loraq’s (Joel Fry) I’m-about-to-be-dragon-food turned I’m-marrying-the-dragon-queen reaction was spot on.

I guess you know this week’s Riser.

[What kind of name is Hizdahr zo Loraq?]

Mon
May 11 2015 9:00am

Fresh Meat: Anatomy of Evil by Will Thomas

Anatomy of Evil by Will Thomas is the seventh Barker & Llewelyn historical mystery, and in London in 1888, who would they seek but the Ripper (available May 12, 2015)?

I’m always up for a clever take on the Jake the Ripper mythos, and who better to take on the famous killer than private enquiry agent Cyrus Barker and his assistant, Thomas Llewelyn? Thomas has it in his head to search for the killer himself, but gets caught on a late night outing with a friend by Barker, who is puzzled as to why Llewelyn didn’t let him in on the search. Turns out Barker is happy to help, and as luck would have it, is recruited to act as liaison to Scotland Yard’s Criminal Investigation Department.  Navigating the jurisdictional infighting between departments is one thing, but finding a killer who seems to strike at any time, and so brutally, is quite another.

[That's one tough task ahead of them...]

Sun
May 10 2015 1:00pm

Fresh Meat: Trauma by Michael and Daniel Palmer

Trauma by Michael Palmer and Daniel Palmer is a medical thriller about a neurosurgical resident, who, after an awful mistake, retreats home, where her brother's PTSD offers an irresistible medical challenge (available May 12, 2015).

Who isn’t captured by the horror of a single error yanking a life off the rails, and not one's own, but someone else's? Most of our blunders mess up our own lives—sleeping through our big presentation, getting a facial peel at a pop-up salon, signing on for a weekend with GoT reenacters. Medical thrillers may demand patience for clinical details, a head for the jargon, or interest in fine points of the science. But few actions truly ruin others’ lives like the doctor who makes what anyone outside the profession might consider an easy error. Like Dr. Carrie Bryant does.

Carrie’s choice to jump right into triathlons was perhaps not the wisest, but she never did anything half measure. She enjoyed pushing her body to new limits. She’d also used the race to raise more than a thousand dollars for BCH: a tiny fraction of what was needed, but every bit helped.

BCH served the poor and uninsured. Carrie felt proud to be a part of that mission, but lack of funding was a constant frustration....

If the constant budget shortfalls had a silver lining, it could be summed up in a single word: experience. With each BCH rotation the hours would be long, the demands exhausting, but Carrie never groaned or complained. She was getting the best opportunity to hone her skills.

Fatigue-slammed neurosurgeon Carrie Bryant’s error costs a man the best of what’s left in his life. That’s what sets in motion Trauma by father-son duo Michael and Daniel Palmer. Based on a premise by the now-deceased Michael, his son Daniel writes the story of how a doctor claws her way back toward wholeness after such an incident. Her response to the trauma is immediate: she resigns her residency and retreats to her parents’ house, where she joins her volatile brother Adam, an army vet with PTSD, who has also gone to ground. It creates a powerful hook into a character-driven plot that elevates the tale above many medical thrillers.

[But is there any retreat from one's calling...?]