Brain Dead

Brain Dead

3.1 23
by Eileen Dreyer
     
 

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When forensic nurse Timmie Leary-Parker moves from LA to Puckett, Missouri to care for her ailing father, she's prepared for the slow pace, the small-town politics and the feeling that everyone knows her business.

Then, patients in the hospital's Alzheimer's Unit start dying in unprecedented numbers.

Everyone refuses to investigate the town's most… See more details below

Overview

When forensic nurse Timmie Leary-Parker moves from LA to Puckett, Missouri to care for her ailing father, she's prepared for the slow pace, the small-town politics and the feeling that everyone knows her business.

Then, patients in the hospital's Alzheimer's Unit start dying in unprecedented numbers.

Everyone refuses to investigate the town's most lucrative business, and no one will challenge the hospital's Golden Boy director.

No one, except Timmie.

Convinced a serial killer walks the Alzheimer's Unit where her father lies ill, Timmie digs up a burned-out Pulitzer-winning reporter and dives into a quagmire of corruption and greed.

AWARDS:
4 1/2 Stars – Romantic Times

REVIEWS:

"Dreyer writes with great wit and sensitivity, especially about the problems of loving and coping with older relatives." ~The Times-Picayune

"Riveting plot, terrifying premise..." Tami Hoag, NYT Bestselling Author of Down The Darkest Road

"Eileen Dreyer knocks readers off their feet. You won't forget the power, pain and moral ambiguity of this incredible novel." ~Romantic Times

OTHER SUSPENSE/TRILLERS by Eileen Dreyer:
Nothing Personal
A Man to Die For
Bad Medicine
If Looks Could Kill

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Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
Romance author Dreyer (a.k.a Kathleen Korbel) debuts in hardcover with a galloping suspenser featuring a brace of wisecracking sleuths who turn up murder and shady dealings in the medical establishments of a small community. From an Alzheimer research hospital to the ER of a facility about to be HMO-ed, the angel of death has been visiting the elderly before their time.

Timmie Parker, mom of a young child and recently divorced, has returned to her old hometown of Puckett, Missouri, to work in the local ER and keep a 24-hour watch on her senile father, the fabled Joe Leary, who's given to majestic bursts of patriotic Irish anthems and selections from Yeats and Joyce. Timmie first meets Dan Murphy, a booze-worn Pulitzer journalist, at a horse show where shots narrowly miss them. Who, Timmie begins to wonder, were the shots aimed at? Was it Landry, a corporate heavy hired to bring big profit-making to Puckett's charitable hospital? Dr. Alex Raymond, the seemingly benevolent head of Restcrest, an Alzheimer hospital? Or were they aimed at some of the other assorted bigwigs present? When the second ex-husband of Timmie's nursing colleagues is ashed by arson, Timmie and Dan combine efforts to dig and delve into malfeasance past and present. Some of the lesser lights in the medical hierarchy get scrutiny: Raymond's partner, a lab geek who examines the brains of the deceased Alzheimer patients; Raymond's chic executive aide; and a gaggle of closemouthed nurses. Before the denouement, Dan's assaulted; Timmie's run off the road; and there are threats and more murders. Timmie will also have her own crisis of love for a beloved parent. In time-honored fashion, all ends with a fire and rough justice.

Filled with secrets and betrayals, solid medicine, smart-aleck chat—and likable sleuths.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781614173519
Publisher:
ePublishing Works!
Publication date:
08/28/2012
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Sales rank:
9,188
File size:
1 MB

Read an Excerpt


Chapter One

If a person's ex-husband had to come into the ER where she worked, she'd probably want him to come in looking just like Billy Mayfield: pea green, sweating like a pig, and puking up sock lint.

Billy was even considerate enough to show up about eleven on a Sunday morning in October. That way, not only could his ex-wife enjoy his near-operatic distress, so could her coworkers.

The ER at Memorial Medical Center wasn't usually busy, because Puckett, Missouri, wasn't usually a busy place. Tucked along the southern bank of the Missouri River about ninety miles west of the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, the town consisted mostly of a bedroom community that balanced its economy on farming, river traffic, and the encroaching St. Louis suburbs.

Memorial Medical Center especially wasn't a busy place on Sunday morning, when the greater percentage of the town was still in church. Therefore the only problems occupying the staff of the emergency department were a brace of abdominal pains and a mother who needed her ten-year-old cured of his flu by the big hockey game the next day.

There was one dead body in room five, but he didn't demand much attention. He certainly didn't press the Call button or complain about the wait. A perfect guest with all the time in the world, which was a good thing, because his nurse had been waiting at least two hours for the coroner to call back so she could stamp Mr. Cleveland's morgue pass.

That was the bad news. The good news was that Butch Cleveland was Timmie Leary-Parker's only patient, which meant she could waste a little time on a phone call to her daughter.

"You ready for Mass, Meghan?" she asked, cleaning herstethoscope with an alcohol wipe as she talked. She was perched on a charting desk with her feet on a chair, the crumbs from her breakfast bagel still caught in her lab coat pockets.

"I already went, Mom," the six-year-old informed her in arch tones. "Grandda and I have been singing."

Timmie stopped rubbing. She heard the whoop of a siren in the ambulance entrance, but chose to ignore it. "Singing what?"

"'Spar-Strangled Banner.'"

"'Star-Spangled Banner,'" Timmie corrected in relief, knowing just what other tunes her father could have been sharing. "You watching baseball?"

"The Astros. Renfield doesn't like the Astros. He wants the Dodgers. We haven't seen the Dodgers since we left home."

Timmie smiled. "Renfield's a lizard, hon. Lizards don't get to vote."

"He is not a lizard. He's a Jackson's chameleon. And he lives here, too, now."

"Well, find a show on flies and grasshoppers, and we'll tape it for him, okay? California grasshoppers."

Timmie was rewarded by a bright giggle and another "Mo-o-om," which, for a six-year-old girl, said everything.

"Hee-e-e-elp me-e-e-e-e!"

Timmie looked up. The ambulance had evidently arrived, carrying what sounded for all the world like that little girl in The Exorcist. Definitely new business. Somebody else's, Timmie fervently hoped. Whoever it was was making retching noises, which Timmie hated more than anything but drunks and lawyers.

"Whoa, what's that?" Dr. Barbara Adkins demanded as she sauntered over with her lunch Mountain Dew in hand.

Timmie considered the hoarse wails that echoed off the tiled walls like reverb at a rock concert. "Hangover," she said.

"What hangover?" Meghan demanded in Timmie's ear.

"Nah," Barb said, dropping into one of the other chairs and draining half the can in one gulp. "Childbirth."

"Hog caller with a kidney stone," Timmie countered.

"Mo-o-om," Meghan intoned with marginal patience. "You were talking to me?"

Timmie focused on her daughter. "Yes, I was, baby. In fact, I was just about to ask you if you had your room cleaned, so you can go to the horse show with me this afternoon."

"After I write Daddy, for when he finds us."

"We're not lost, honey," Timmie reminded her. She didn't add that it was Meghan's dad who was lost, or that given enough time he'd remember to look for them. Probably any minute now, considering how badly Timmie's week was already going.

"He-e-e-e-e-el-p . . . "

"If I'm any judge of tonal qualities," Barb observed laconically as she lobbed her empty can toward the trash, "he's in room three. Wonder who's gonna get him?"

"New patient, room three," the intercom promptly announced. "Timmie Leary-Parker, room three."

The can hit the bucket with a clang for a three-pointer and Timmie sighed. "Of course."

Two years ago, Timmie had been married to an up-and-coming Los Angeles lawyer, mother of a beautiful preschooler, and employed as forensic and trauma nurse at the busiest gun-and-knife club in the country. Now she was divorced from a cocaine addict, her daughter was best friends with a reptile, and her career was reduced to puke patrol in a stop-and-go ER outside St. Louis. Was life wonderful or what?

"Okay," she capitulated. "Will somebody put out yet another call to the coroner about Mr. Cleveland? I know he's dead, but that doesn't mean he should have to put up with all that noise. In the meantime, as soon as I get off the phone with Meghan, I guess I'll be in doing the spew samba." Brain Dead. Copyright © by Eileen Dreyer. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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What People are saying about this

Elizabeth George
"Skin-crawling suspense."
Tami Hoag
"Riveting...terrifying."

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