Murders at Hollings General is a medical mystery involving a series of bizarre homicides at a major teaching hospital in New England. The protagonist, Dr. David Brooks, is an engaging if somewhat quirky doctor/amateur sleuth who confines his practice to making afternoon house calls for other physicians. To date, his investigative experience is limited, but he is pressed into probing the hospital deaths by his police detective
fiancée, Kathy Dupre. And their relationship becomes the stuff of a sub-plot woven into the main story line.
From the opening scene in which a surgical patient (the hospital's Chairman of the Board) is brutally killed on the operating table by an imposter surgeon, to David's last brush with death at the hands of latter-day samurai warriors, the protagonist faces a parade of conflicts. Suspense is enhanced through a story concept rooted in situational uncertainties, plot twists and unforeseen murder victims. As applied to each suspect, the opportunities and means for murder solidly exist, but it is in the area of motives--romantic entanglements, ties to foreign drug cartels, job terminations, hospital rivalries and power struggles--that the bulk of tension and conflict resides.
David's search takes him into a world of martial arts, fortune tellers, Japanese daggers and the dispensing of illegal drugs from the back of an ambulance. In one major scene, he becomes trapped in his Mercedes convertible which is wrapped in barbed wire and in tow up a cliff for certain deposit over the other side. But this and other perils merely harden his resolve to find the killer.
The novel's main characters are:
- Dr. David Brooks: Six-five, floppy mustache, floppy bow tie, black belt in karate, gun aficionado.
- Kathy Dupre: David's fiancée. Police detective. Petite, striking and independent.
- Nick Medicore: Kathy's newly arrived superior. Ambivalent about David's role in the investigation.
- Bernie and Robert Bugles: Half-brothers and sons of the murdered Chairman of the Board. Linked to drug cartels of Istanbul and
- Alton Foster: Hollings General's administrator with a surprising past.
- Musco Diller: Runyonesque cabby and world-class pickpocket.