"Urgent Care," CJ Lyons

Pros: Strong medical mystery; intense dark thriller material; plenty of personal drama
Cons: Personal drama is a little less focused than in “Warning Signs”
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Review copy courtesy of Penguin Group.

 

I absolutely loved author CJ Lyons’s Warning Signs, and Urgent Care is nearly as wonderful.

Nora Halloran is a charge nurse at Angels of Mercy Medical Center. One of her coworkers was just brutally attacked and killed—and Nora is accused of losing key evidence in the investigation. Worse, Nora recognizes the handiwork of the killer, and is having more than a little trouble coping. She wants to turn to her ex, Seth, for comfort, but she can’t forgive him for his betrayal, and he comes under suspicion as the investigation continues.

Helping Nora are her friends: Lydia is an ER doc who’s hiding from the people who killed her mother when she was a child. Amanda is a med student who’s engaged to be married, trying to save a girl’s life (when she doesn’t even know what’s wrong with her), and in danger of ruining her career by following her conscience. And Gina is struggling to figure out whether she’s happy with the man she wants to marry, and how she can balance her parents’ demands with her job.


 

CJ’s “Angels of Mercy” novels center around the four women, and it would be best to start from the beginning with Lifelines and Warning Signs. That said, I dove in with the latter of those two and didn’t find it difficult to catch up. I think by the time you get to Urgent Care that would be a little tougher since the relationships between the women and their loved ones have evolved a bit and grown more complex.

The medical material is fascinating. The author doesn’t coddle the reader and explain every term, but the prose flows so well that regardless of this, I didn’t feel lost. (I don’t have the background to evaluate its accuracy, however.)

The personal drama felt a little more scattered than in Warning Signs and a little less focused, but that’s a minor quibble. With four women dealing with love life and family issues, things get a bit hectic—it might have been better to serialize the stories a little more, even if that would be a tad less “realistic.”

The suspense & thriller material is wonderfully handled, and definitely kept me guessing on the edge of my seat. Please note that there’s some very dark and adult material in here, so don’t pick up this book if you aren’t willing to handle that! It deals with trauma of both sexual and non-sexual natures. This material isn’t sensationalized, but it is necessary to the story and the characters.

In particular I enjoy the women of Angels of Mercy. They’re each unique and unusual, with non-stereotypical quirks and foibles. Some of the men are equally interesting, although a few less so—not too unusual with this large a cast, however.

I’m looking forward to the next book in the series!

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