From the "Kate Pomeroy Mysteries" series, volume 1
by Linda Watkins
In Watkins' (Sarah and Zoey, 2017, etc.) mystery-series starter, a young doctor is haunted by hallucinations and anxieties regarding her mother's death.
When Kate Pomeroy, a second-year surgical resident at a Los Angeles hospital, wakes from a nap before a scheduled procedure, she overhears a conspiratorial conversation between assistant chief of psychiatry Dr. James Conway and an unknown man about an apparently illicit exchange of money. Kate thinks that it's probably just a common bribe by a pharmaceutical rep, and heads into surgery. However, as she's about to start the procedure, she's waylaid by some kind of nervous breakdown and collapses into a mental fog. She's committed to the psychiatric unit, where she experiences hallucinations as Conway illegally treats with her experimental drugs. After Conway's subterfuge is uncovered, Kate's father, Hamilton, sends her to Storm Island, where the family vacationed as a child, to recover. However, she's still plagued by dark visions—including some involving her mother, Cassandra, who died on the island, an apparent suicide, when Kate was young. Kate then discovers several of her mom's old journals, but the last, recording the year of her death, is missing. The young woman becomes determined to find out what happened to it, and in the midst of her investigations, she realizes much of what she thought she knew about her mother was false. Throughout this mystery story, Watkins artfully captures the distinction between reality and fantasy. Indeed, her depictions of Kate's hallucinations are terrifying, and it's often deliciously unclear whether the protagonist is experiencing a mental mirage or a clearheaded epiphany. The author builds the suspense in a cautious manner, meting out just enough information to keep the tale moving forward, but not so much as to lessen the gripping drama of the story. That said, the plot is a touch convoluted, overall, but one can't help but be impressed with the aplomb with which Watkins weaves all the errant threads into a single narrative tapestry.
An engrossing and suspenseful mystery.
To see the review on the Kirkus webpage, click here: KIRKUS REVIEWS: STORM ISLAND