Go to Homepage   John A. Peak: M and M


Crescent Blues Book ViewsAThomas Dunne Books (Hardcover), ISBN: 0-312-27674-5
Vicki Shea makes her living as a pediatrician. But this career came about belatedly. She quit her residency after the death of her child and entered law school, eventually becoming an assistant district attorney. The combination of her legal and medical backgrounds make her the person hospitals prefer to call on questionable cases. When a young, well-to-do mother brings in an infant with a head injury, Vicki gets the call to determine if this might be a case of child abuse.

Book: John a. peak, m and m
The mother's story -- she tripped and fell while carrying the baby -- doesn't ring true with Vicki or Detective Tim Murphy, who ultimately arrests the mother. Shortly thereafter, the mother kills herself. Or does she? The forensic data doesn't seem to support a suicide, but the woman's parents give little information about her or her friends.

Through the process of the funeral and the infant's recovery, Vicki becomes fairly close with Cynthia and Jack Wilkins, the infant's grandparents. When the Wilkins' extra-curricular activities get out of hand, they call Vicki for help. After patient and extended questioning, Vicki finally gets them to admit the truth: they and their now-dead daughter provided money to smuggle orphans out of Eastern Europe and into the United States for adoption. Only the smugglers panicked after some trouble crossing the border from Mexico. They want money to flee to Canada and cover their tracks as they go.

Vicki, haunted by the memory of the daughter who died long ago, gets too emotionally involved in the case -- and too attached to one of the orphans, Nadya. Disregarding advice from a lawyer friend, she helps the Wilkins try to get the children out of danger's way by busing them to her father's horse ranch. She and Tim Murphy progress from friends to lovers, and she drags him along as well, putting his job in jeopardy. But the smugglers close in on the ranch, putting everyone's life in danger.

This book's plot keeps the reader turning pages as the suspense heightens. But the ending proves a huge let down. Peak wraps everything up in 20 pages. What happened to the orphans? What happened to Cynthia and Jack? Another 20 or 30 pages of resolution and explanation would've improved this book considerably.

Jen Foote

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