The CareTAKERS by William T. Delamar

The CareTAKERS by William T. Delamar
Publisher: Rogue Phoenix Press
Genre: Suspense/Mystery, Contemporary
Length: Full Length (186 pages)
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

Doug Carpenter, a new administrator, the third in four years, at Eastern Medical College Hospital, fights hospital power politics and physician greed while trying to provide a good setting for patient care. This combative scene forms a constant barrier to a successful, smooth-running operation and creates a threat to Doug’s own position, but that’s not all. A patient commits suicide. A drunk anesthesiologist kills a mother during an emergency delivery. Several patients are victims of an “angel of death.” A patient is poisoned by an unscrupulous doctor. A union strike explodes. A female goon brutalizes two nurses. On top of all that, Doug’s wife is injured in a terroristic attack instigated by the pro-union forces. This all happens in only a matter of weeks, challenging Doug’s every emotion, diplomatic expertise, morals and ethics.

How would you fix an organization that doesn’t want to admit it isn’t functioning properly?

One of the first things I noticed about this tale was how concisely the dialogue was written. It was used to share a lot of information with the audience about where the characters came from and what they were planning to do in the near future. What really caught my attention, though, was that the author accomplished this without slowing down the plot. He was able to pack quite a few details into short conversations which was helpful.

I would have liked to see much more time spent on character development. The narrator relied heavily on common tropes to give the audience a quick impression of what the characters were like and how they behaved. These impressions felt too stereotypical to me, though, because of how often they were used and how rarely they were challenged. It would have been fascinating to peel back at least a few stereotypes so that I could see the parts of the characters’ personalities that weren’t given a chance to shine here.

The subplots were woven nicely into the main storyline. There was a lot going on in this novel, but everything was connected so seamlessly that I never had a problem keeping up with any of it. Seeing the main character balance so many different issues simultaneously actually made a great deal of sense. His line of work requires those kinds of juggling acts in order to keep a hospital running.

It took a while for me to figure out which genre this book belongs to. The mystery elements of the plot didn’t show up right away, but once they did I completely understood why the author had spent so much time setting everything up first. It was definitely worth the wait.

I’d recommend The CareTAKERS to anyone who is in the mood for a medical mystery.

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