Welcome to Murder by the Book's blog about what we've read recently. You can find our website at www.mbtb.com.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Near Death by Glenn Cooper

Lascaux Media, 334 pages, $12.75

I find Glenn Cooper’s books entertaining as hell. From a theological standpoint, there’s a good chance that hell will enter into it, too. Cooper mixes regular people — well-drawn regular people — with the bizarre. There’s ordinary investigative work here and far-out, science-stretching stuff there. He rubs them together and makes it work. John Case (the pseudonym for husband-and-wife authors Jim and Carolyn Hougan) was another author who could do this well.

Alex Weller is a pediatric doctor who is treating FBI agent Cyrus O’Malley’s young daughter, Tara. Tara has a brain tumor and she doesn’t have long to live. Given that parents sometimes look to doctors to be the gods who somehow miraculously will save their children, it is stunning how quickly O’Malley suspects Weller of having something to do with a series of murders in the Boston area.

In fact, straight from the start, you know that Weller indeed does have something to do with the murders — he is committing them. (Still, O’Malley comes to that conclusion stunningly fast.) The why is the far-out, science-stretching stuff. Weller thinks he has found the bridge between life and death, and the other side is way-groovy. Too bad people have to die for him to achieve it.

Good escapist reading.

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