Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Book Review: Diagnosis: Murder - The Double Life by Lee Goldberg (Diagnosis: Murder #7)

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Characters and their interaction
Cons: Plot is a little weak.
The Bottom Line:
Even weak Dr. Sloan
Is very entertaining
Worth it for his fans

Not the Strongest entry for Dr. Mark Sloan

TV tie-ins can be tricky. Some capture the spirit of the show expertly while others disappoint their long time fans. This series of tie-in novels is wonderful. Of course, it helps that they are written by a former writer/producer of the series.

The series in question is Diagnosis: Murder. It starred Dick van Dyke as Dr. Mark Sloan. Mark has an unusual hobby - murder investigations. He often helps his son Steve, a LAPD detective. Mark usually gets two friends and colleagues at Community General Hospital to help. Not that it takes much to get Drs. Jesse Travis and Amanda Bentley to help him.

Mark Sloan is hot on the trail of a killer. Since he doesn't really have any proof yet, he's working with Amanda and Jesse to find something to give to his son Steve. He knows there's something there. He just needs to find it.

Obviously, someone agrees with him. One morning on his way into the hospital, a car tries to run him down. He hits his head and goes into a comma.

When he wakes up, three days have passed. Mark quickly discovers that he's lost his memory of the last two years including his marriage to Dr. Emily Noble. In fact, he doesn't remember anything about this pediatrician.

He's also forgotten the details of the investigation. But he hopes that working on the case will bring back his memory. He quickly begins to find the pieces again. There is a rash of deaths connected to survivors of near death experiences. Too many to be a coincidence. But who is doing the killing? What connection had Mark found?

As with the other books in this tie-in series, this is another fast read. I breezed through this one in 48 hours. The writing could be a little smoother at times, but it is a minor complaint really.

As always, Lee Goldberg has captured the characters from the TV show and brought them to life on the page. There are several scenes that had me laughing at the character's interaction. I really enjoyed a couple scenes between Mark and Jesse's wife Susan. Susan was only a guest star on a few episodes of the show, and I really like how she's been developed for the books.

Unfortunately, the plot was a little weak. I saw a major plot point coming long before the characters did, and I got frustrated with them for not seeing what was obvious to me. And the ending was a little rushed with Mark making a couple jumps I didn't quite follow.

Even though The Double Life isn't the strongest entry in the series, it was still a fast, fun read sure to please fans of the show or the books.

If you enjoyed this series as a TV show or the novels, you'll want to read the Diagnosis: Murder Mysteries in order.

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