A Man to Die For

A Man to Die For

3.8 49
by Eileen Dreyer

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The bestselling author of Bad Medicine delivers a heart-pounding medical thriller, filled with authentic forensic detail.

Trauma nurse Casey McDonogh is plagued by the nagging suspicion that Dr. Dale Hunsacke, the new and popular obstetrician at her St. Louis hospital, is a psychopathic killer. The trouble is, no one believes her. When


The bestselling author of Bad Medicine delivers a heart-pounding medical thriller, filled with authentic forensic detail.

Trauma nurse Casey McDonogh is plagued by the nagging suspicion that Dr. Dale Hunsacke, the new and popular obstetrician at her St. Louis hospital, is a psychopathic killer. The trouble is, no one believes her. When Hunsacker begins unearthing secrets from Casey's past, the threat moves even closer to home. With the help of an ex-Marine homicide sergeant, Casey will put her suspicions to work to trap a killer

"A wicked prescription guaranteed to give you sleepless nights." -Nora Roberts

"Eileen Dreyer creates the sort of skin-crawling suspense that will leave her readers looking with a wild and wary eye upon anyone at the other end of a stethoscope." -Elizabeth George

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HarperCollins Publishers
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A Man to Die ForChapter One

His arrival was foretold like the second coming of Christ. Administration, that great hospital prophet of profit and loss, whispered his name with reverence and hope. Men in three-piece suits said novellas, drunk with his potential, aquiver with his proposed patient load. Silver-haired corporate giants wept with joy. A great wind of change was sweeping over Mother Mary Hospital, and its name would be Hunsacker.

The labor and delivery staff took up the song the minute he first crossed Mother Mary terrazzo, the nurses entertaining the cafeteria crowd with psalms to his looks and charisma, teasing the unanointed with his proximity, congratulating themselves on their incredible luck to be so privileged with his presence.

The floors followed, and then surgery, until the reputation of Dr. Date Hunsacker threatened mythological proportions.

He was handsome. He was electric. He remembered names and told jokes and brought in pizzas. The administration loved him because he had managed to siphon the wealthier pregnancies their way when he decided to name Mother Mary his primary hospital, and the labor and delivery nurses loved him because he inspired administration to cough up some badly needed money for their unit. So what if he wasn't the best OB/GYN to hit the halls. Neither were any of the other OBs on staff, and not one of them was nearly as pleasant.

Dr. Dale Hunsacker, doctor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, late of the finer neighborhoods of Boston and New York, had decided to escape the pressures of the East Coast for the settled, homey atmosphere of St. Louis. In no more than a matter of weeks in his new home, he hadproven a rare talent, attracting some of the area's more wealthy women into his practice on weight of word of mouth and an unforgettable smile. Dr. Dale Hunsacker was an up-and-coming commodity in one of the most cutthroat business venues in St. Louis — medicine. And much to the chagrin of the more traditional moneyed hospitals in the area, Mother Mary had him.

Dale was a great guy. Dale was a dream. Dale was a hell of a team player. By the time Casey met him, she knew she was either going to end up hating him or having his children.

Given a choice, she would have picked almost any other night to finally meet the newest staff legend. Friday night was bad enough in the emergency room, but a full moon was worse. And to top it off, the weather was warming up. All those bananamen out there who had been waiting out the cold weather to go back into action were revving into high gear.

Five hours into her shift, Casey was tired, hungry, and crabby. The idea that all this was just a preview of the months to come depressed her immensely.

"It's like a zoo in here tonight," she complained to Janice Feldman when they met at the medprep where the medications were kept.

Tall, elegant, and irritatingly spotless at eight o'clock at night, Janice grinned and waved a manicured finger at Casey's freckled nose. "Watch it, hon. One of the surgery nurses got fired for bandying about that particular euphemism. Administration thinks it's derogatory."

Casey lifted a dry eyebrow. "It is," she assured her friend. "That's why I said it." Drawing up fifty of Vistaril, Casey capped the needle and turned to consider the long hall. "Sounds like it's feeding time, too."

Babies wailed, drunks howled, one particularly colorful psychotic screamed a series of numbers out loud to keep them all from disappearing, and the radio babbled nonstop. Phones rang, monitors beeped, and sirens moaned on their way in.

"Hold ye there, virgin!"

Casey stiffened and spun around. "Oh, shit, Ralph. I told you to watch him!"

A close relative of Gentle Ben was bearing down on her, hair and beard flying, eyes glittering, arms outstretched to her. The leather restraints he'd been wearing flapped in his wake. He was buck naked and ugly as sin.

"Save me, virgin!" he howled, scattering security guards like bowling pins. "Die for me!"

Casey planted herself foursquare in his path. "I have affidavits," she yelled at him, hands on hips, fighting a grin. St. Paul came in every other month when he forgot to take his Prolixin and tried to sacrifice a redheaded virgin to ensure the safety of his virility. Unfortunately, Casey was the only redhead around. "Witnesses. Participants. I-am-not-a virgin!"

"I'll swear to it!" Dr. Belstein yelled from room three where he was sewing up a toddler's chin.

"Me, too," Michael Wilson added, hand in the air from where he was adjusting a pair of crutches at the other end of the hall. "She was great!"


"Did St. Paul live in medieval Scotland?" Janice asked as security gave it another try. Two of them grabbed restraints. Two more tried flying tackles.

"What I want to know," Casey answered, watching the foray passively, "is whether he's only been this ugly since he fell off that donkey."

St. Paul finally came down when Casey just stuck a foot out and tripped him. The ensuing crash of people tumbled two chairs and sent a stock cart rolling into the telemetry desk. Janice delicately lifted a spotless white shoe just in time to have St. Paul slide neatly beneath. Spittle dotted the floor, but not her uniform.

"You'll need to fill out an incident report," Ralph informed them from where he lay amid the tangle of arms and legs.

Casey waved him off. "I'll just copy off the last four."

She was turning back to close up the cabinet when a wild howl split the air. Both she and Janice turned in the direction of room eight, which had been empty only moments earlier.

"What's that?" Janice demanded as the voice rose again, somebody's impersonation of a screech monkey ...

A Man to Die For. Copyright (c) by Eileen Dreyer . Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

What People are Saying About This

Elizabeth George
Eileen Dreyer creates the sort of skin—crawling suspense that will leave her readers looking with a wild and wary eye upon anyone at the other end of a stethoscope.
Nora Roberts
A vivid description guaranteed to give you sleepless nights.

Meet the Author

Eileen Dreyer is a forensic specialist who spent 16 years as a trauma nurse before she turned to writing. She lives in St. Louis, Missouri.

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Man to Die For 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 49 reviews.
romancemistress More than 1 year ago
I've been recommending Eileen Dreyer's medical thriller A Man to Die For ever since it came out in 1991. It's out of print in book form so I was thrilled to see it offered as an e-book (along with some of her other excellent titles- yay!)and pumped that I can start recommending it again. Like all good books set in hospitals or police stations, this book has that dark, dark sense of humor that keeps these two stressed-to-the-max professions sane. And Casey McDonough needs help keeping her sanity. Survivor of a traumatic childhood, the sole support of her emotionally fragile mother, and one helluva fantastic trauma nurse, Casey thinks there must be something wrong with her because she just doesn't get why everyone is bowing down to worship Dale Hunsacker, the new star OB/GYN at St. Louis' Mother Mary Hospital. There's...something wrong with his eyes, i.e. there doesn't seem to be anything human or compassionate behind them. And the way he does pelvics? Well, let's just say any woman reading this may never have another without an additional cringe. When nurses who haven't seen eye to eye with the good doctor start turning up dead, Casey begins to have some suspicions that get her in hot water with hospital admininistration. Still, she can't have a physician bumping off her co-workers just because he brings big money into the hospital...can she? No, Casey's something of a crusader and she just can't keep her mouth or her eyes shut when something so terrible is happening right under everyones'noses. When Sgt. Jack Scanlon, former marine, former Jesuit, meets Casey at the precinct where she goes to report her suspicions, he's already got more than enough on his desk to worry him...he certainly doesn't need a feisty red-headed nurse with authority problems telling him that St. Louis' latest golden-boy physician (and friend to the mayor)is a serial killer. But as bodies keep appearing across the city and county jurisdictions, Jack's ulcer tells him Casey might be right...and may be the next on the doctor's hit list. Dreyer mixes situational humor with one of the creepiest villains and two very flawed, but touchingly human crimefighters in a book that I've read multiple times. Casey's mother, the downtrodden but still faithful Irish Catholic who wanted to be a nun, but instead married a man who gave her two kids and a whole lot of beatings, is a sensational invention. She drifts in and out of clarity, always pious and often hilarious, and can always be counted on to offer tea to Casey's guests, whether they are paramedics and detectives...or murderers come to call. Read anything you can get your hands on by Dreyer who also wrote spectacular series romances under the name Kathleen Korbel, especially A Rose for Maggie (child w/special needs); Soldier's Heart (the Civil War label for PTSD); and Jake's Way (illiteracy). Also look for the out of print If Looks Could Kill under the Dreyer name as it's my next favorite in this too-talented-not-to-be-on-your-favorites-shelf author.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Excellent book. Fast paced. I love it when a book catches your interest from the get go.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
These medical suspense hold up well. Although they do remind how many tech and forensic advances there have been
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Did not care for this book. How is this a medical thriller? I love medical thrillers and avoid the violence-against-women novels. I got tricked into reading this one. Just because the suspect and heroine work in a hospital does not qualify it as a medical thriller. I ended up sticking with it just to see all the characters get justice in the end. I won't spoil it by saying if they did or not. Regardless, I will continue to avoid this type of book and this author.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
slow going --- wish it were faster because it sounds like a great story... but alas I put it back and did not finish.
Sparky_Patches More than 1 year ago
Overall Rating:  4.35 // Action: 3.5 / Emotion: 3.5 / Romance: 2.0 / Sensuous: 0.0 / Suspense: 4.0 // Laughter: 7½ / Tears: 0 A Man To Die For: 4.35: A fascinating, interesting and spine-tingling account of the repercussions faced by an ER trauma nurse as she tries to prove that the new golden boy doctor at her hospital is a serial killer.  The story lagged occasionally, but for the most part, this well-written story was filled to the brim with suspense and a couple of moments of romance were added to the mix to increase the reader's enjoyment. Hero: 3.0: Homicide Detective Jack Scanlon: Jack was not your typical romance book hero.  Rather than a handsome hunk of alpha male, Jack is presented as a sleep-deprived, ulcer-suffering hero.  Jack's dedication to his job and his walled up heart, however, demanded sympathetic feelings for this wounded man.  Because background details about Jack's history were sparse, it was difficult to understand what drove him. Heroine: 2.75: ER Trauma Nurse Catherine "Casey" McDonough: Casey was determined to live life on her terms, and had the determination, drive and perseverance to do so.  It was difficult to warm up to Casey because of her strong personality and demanding 'my way or the highway' and 'full speed ahead' nature.  In spite of that, Casey's sense of humor was a wonderful addition to the story. Action: 3.5: The story moved at a rapid pace most of the time as readers were regaled with emergency room activities on a regular basis along with Casey's efforts to find a way to prove Dr. Hunsacker was a serial killer. Emotion: 3.5: It was easy to become attached to Jack and Casey and their plight, but not at a depth that inspired tears.  It was easier to understand what Jack and Casey were feeling, rather than actually "feeling" their fears, frustrations, etc. Romance: 2.0: The romantic aspect of this story was definitely lacking.  Jack and Casey have both walled up their feelings and they had difficulty letting each other past their barriers. Sensuous: 0.0: There were only three kisses in the book.  No sensuality whatsoever. Suspense: 4.0: Dr. Dale Hunsaker, the villain in this story kept the degree of suspense at a high level.  Not only did Jack and Casey struggle to find proof of his misdeeds, but Casey had to work with him as he taunted her with his kills. Secondary Characters:  3.0: Although the secondary characters in the book were plentiful and some of them were richly described and developed, the fact that most of them were single-dimensional made it difficult to feel a sense of connection with them. See Wolf Bear Does Books for a more in-depth, detailed review of *A Man To Die For*.
Robin_Greene More than 1 year ago
I read it when it first came out and I loved it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Fantastic! Suspenseful, thought provoking, hated to put it down
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Thoroughly enjoyed this book, As an RN; I related to the medical environment and facts, and as a 2 to 3 mystery novel reader per week, I enjoyed the characters and development of plot.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Every bit as good as the reviewer said.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What a mind bender. A really good thriller. Love the book! Pages a little over 300.uo
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good book...with a villian you will want to hate
321HM More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book.  I was pleased to find that it was more thriller and less romance.  I will be looking for other titles by this author.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great reaad
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Kept my interest. Suspenseful for sure, but only a hint of romance found in the entire book. I liked the characters. Let me clarify: I liked to hate one of them, was cheering another, thought one an oddball but rather likeable. There weren't twists and turns, it was easy to see who the bad guy was, but the suspense and wondering "what next" kept me turning pages.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
More than a murder mystery ... you have to keep reading as the story unfolds. Entertaining. Well written.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
good story/characters - you know who but its still enjoyable right up to the end - a must read
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Took me a long time to get into this book. I made myself finish it. Would not read it again--but that's just me. If you like the style, then you'll probably like this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Full of suspense and an interesting read.