My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Malpractice in Maggody by Joan Hess
I was hard pressed to even give this two stars. Honestly the only reason I did was technically the writing was fine and it’s a series (this is #15 in fact) so someone out there was the target market, just not me. I didn’t realize this was so deep into the series or I would have left it on the library sales table. I suppose, like with many series, by the time you’re that far in the series is worn out. It was supposed to be funny. The reviews tell me so.
So tell me, what was I supposed to laugh at? The unprofessional way Arly Hanks approaches her job? Her castigating mother? The misogynism of the town Mayor (and several other men)? The bigotry of the townspeople? The holier than thou church lady? What? Seriously I want to know because I thought this was as unfunny as a toothache. Also this review will be more spoiler-ridden than my usual because well I have things I want to say.
The story opens while Arly Hanks (the protagonist) is still camping with her boyfriend much to her meddlesome, fault-finding mother’s dismay. Even more upsetting is that the state nursing home has been shut down forcing some locals (maybe someone I should know and don’t because it’s so late in the series) to take in their relatives. The nursing home is being converted into they don’t know what. Mrs. Jim Bob (the mayor’s wife) is most upset, trying to get the church ladies involved in finding out what it is, to the point of sitting up in trees and spying while spreading rumors it’s an insane asylum.
It’s actually Stonebridge Foundation, a rehab/detox/tummy tuck place for celebrities who need complete privacy run by a group of professionals who have been run out of most of the states they ever worked in. Stonebridge, the head of it and plastic surgeon, Zumi, the psychiatrist, Brenda, the holistic medicine and dietician, Walter the pot-smoking personal trainer and Molly the local big-boobed receptionist. (and honestly only Zumi, Walter and Molly are likeable in this whole book including the whole town of Maggody).
When Arly finally returns everyone demands she finds out what this place is, easier said than done because the staff only speaks Spanish. Also a townswoman disappears and Arly is supposed to find her (which frankly is about the only investigating she does the whole novel). Naturally someone at the foundation dies. Arly fights to NOT investigate it and honestly all she ever seems to do the whole novel is talk to people and argue, while Harve, her boss, runs down the information on everyone.
Arly talks to Harve in a completely unprofessional manner, to the staff and patients in the same way (someone even comments on it), faints at the thought of plastic surgery and otherwise fails to convince me that anyone has followed this woman through fifteen books. I found her utterly unlikable or believable. Eventually she finds out who does it but the woman escapes without Arly even bothering to give chase (the person who distracted her was in no immediate danger so I have no idea why she didn’t give chase). The killer is caught fleeing the premises by Arly’s law enforcement boyfriend who puts the killer in the trunk. After protesting the person might suffocate, and deciding that won’t happy. Arly and her boyfriend go into the clinic to have sex. Are you kidding me?!?
I don’t know why I finished this. I’m certainly in no hurry to read another. I’ll allow Hess has her fans but I’m not one of them, not based on this. I’ve read two other books (different series) with similar results. I think I’m done with this particular authors. She’s not my cup of tea.
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