Book Two in the Redwood County Medical Mystery Series. “Sickest quickest” is Dr. Fiona Tyler’s mantra. Fiona is the Emergency Department chief at rural Redwood County hospital. This Saturday night, sickest includes the loopy patient playing with the entrails spilling out of his belly. Most people wouldn’t be quite so happy about crocheting their intestines into doilies. Who is spilling the guts in Redwood County? Bart Hargraves, the local police detective, nominates Fiona’s boyfriend Gary, but Gary is confined in the state facility for mentally disordered forensic offenders at Atascadero.
When a call comes in about a woman whose husband whupped her upside the head with a chainsaw, Fiona is dragged off to the scene by Bart and ends up crawling around on the lady’s kitchen floor trying to pump fluids in faster than they’re squirting out. A trauma surgeon is able to repair the massive neck wound, but a judge releases the abusive husband.
The next patient claims a cop popped up outside his window and shot him. He had a mobile methamphetamine lab in his van. He said this way he combined production and distribution in one operation.
Fiona’s friend Clary Sage Walker arrives at the ED with the freshly-battered woman who suffered the chain saw injury. The husband is then brought in to the ED with fatal stab injuries. Clary’s fingerprints are found underneath some of the blood smears when the police process the crime scene after the abuser’s death.
The police detective keeps trying to interest Fiona in the eviscerated patient. Fiona consults Gary, who has some insight into disordered minds, both his own and those of his fellow inmates. Gary has a theory that the perpetrator is building an insanity defense as a fall-back plan in case he’s apprehended, but isn’t really mentally ill. On the other hand, haruspicy was practiced by the perfectly rational Greeks and Romans and derived from the Etruscans and Babylonia, and who is to say this grisly method of divination doesn’t work? Fiona is afraid if he goes too much further down this path her boyfriend will never be released.
The mobile methamphetamine van explodes in the hospital parking lot, sets the woods on fire and sends the ED into disaster mode.
Clary is followed by a person she says does not have pleasant intentions, he radiates violence. His aura is shot through with darkness. Clary takes Fiona to Panther Beach, and if she doesn’t want to sit there and confront the pursuer with the dark aura, she has to follow her friend through the rocks. They crash through a rocky passage pursued by a shooter and land on the tiny sand spit of Hole in the Wall Beach. The tide’s coming in, they can’t get out, and the beach is underwater at high tide.
About the Author
Twist Ranger is like a lively and elegant wine: bright, rich, rounded with an energetic red fruit top note and purple forest ending.