Patients in Purgatory by William T. Delamar

Patients in Purgatory by William T. Delamar
A Reverend Christie Mystery Book 2
Publisher: Rogue Phoenix Press
Genre: Suspense/Mystery, Contemporary
Length: Full Length (176 pages)
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

Reverend Oxford Christie visits a patient in a strange nursing home, one of a number owned and operated by The Group, Inc. Its profit far exceeds that of the typical nursing home, and patients seem to disappear. The state’s system of nursing home inspections is deeply flawed to the extent that severe and continued abuse easily goes unchecked. The Group, Inc. becomes aware of Christie’s nosing around and orders are given to do whatever is necessary to stop his snooping. Ox, aware that he is being watched, is torn between the possible danger to his wife and children and the suspicion that the incredible abuse of helpless patients is even worse than what’s been observed.

Few people are more vulnerable in modern society than the ones who are sick or frail enough to require a nursing home. Who would ever take advantage of this group?

The dialogue was nicely done. A lot of the character and plot development happened as a result of certain conversations people had, so it was nice to see all of these things develop. I often felt like I was eavesdropping on other people’s conversations in a good way. It was simply that smooth and natural.

There were a few too many clues provided about what was going on at the nursing homes. I was able to figure out the mystery early on in the plot because of this. While I enjoyed the rest of the chapters, I would have had an even better time if I’d needed to put more effort into piecing everything together. Reducing the numbers of clues or making them more difficult to figure out would have made it a more challenging reading experience.

One of the things I liked the most about this story was how complex it was. Nearly all of the characters had completely understandable reasons for everything they did regardless of which side they happened to be on. Sometimes the bad guys had a surprising amount of empathy, and sometimes the good guys actually made things worse when they tried to fix things. No one was ever one hundred percent helpful or harmful. That made the plot incredibly interesting because I was able to relate to the motivations and thought processes of so many different characters at the same time.

This is part of a series, but I had no trouble at all reading it as a standalone novel. I’m now looking forward to discovering the first book.

Patients in Purgatory was full of intrigue. I’d recommend it anyone who likes mysteries that explore real-life issues.

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