Viable Hostage by Audrey J. Cole is a tidy, fast-paced medical crime novel sure to please fans of this genre. Unfortunately the book and I were not a good fit.
What I liked best:
- I love reading books in which the author knows her subject matter well. Ms. Cole clearly brings a lot of medical expertise to her writing, and a knowledge of the Seattle area to this novel.
- The book is well-paced. It moves seamlessly from crime to solution and delivers enough of the unexpected to be satisfying.
- There is a diverse and interesting cast of characters, and a quite likeable main character.
- Multiple points of view (particularly that of the killer) are done well, and provide suspense without giving away the ending.
What I struggled with:
- Some of this novel is downright grisly and I happen to be a reader who shies away from such things. In fact, I’m so squeamish I don’t even want to hear about medical details. So, while I admire Ms. Cole’s expertise, I’d steer those of my ilk away from this book.
- I felt the book would have benefited from more character development in general, and especially more depth surrounding the main character. She appears to be a fascinating young medical student, yet we learn almost nothing about her other than her devotion to her missing friend.
I do, however, recommend this novel to anyone who enjoys stories that live at the intersection of solving crimes and of performing medical research. I think this is a tough place to write with both accuracy and suspense, and Ms. Cole is to be commended for doing both.
A personal note:
Why did I pick this book to review? Well, my own book One of One is about a young woman who is taken hostage and rescued by women who care about her. I’m always looking for kindred spirits, writing-wise, and this seemed to be about something similar. Cool, I thought.
Even though the book didn’t quite turn out to be about what I thought, I do think it is good to get out of your comfort zone and read different types of things.
Also, I received a free electronic copy of this book, which would never be enough to make me write a better review for anyone.
For the full blog post giving more information about the book, its author, and the Goddess Fish promotional tour I originally wrote the review for, please see Viable Hostage.