It was a routine, but busy night at the emergency room, when everything changed for Dr. Mark Baker as he sees Nurse Kelly Atkinson being forced to wheel an injured man into the trauma area. Behind her is another man with a gun aimed directly into her back. Later, Mark will confess that his first thoughts were how was he going to save himself, while Kelly relays that she was thinking just how much she liked Mark and wished she had told him so. What happens in the tense, danger-filled minutes that night will plunge both Mark and Kelly into a large drug Cartels plot for revenge. Just as the two begin to make plans to protect themselves, another doctor, Anna King, and a colleague are killed, and since Mark had dated Anna, he is a possible suspect in her death. As Baker realizes that not only his life, his career and his freedom are all being threatened, he also begins to realize that he cares for Kelly Atkinson more than he has anyone for a very long time.
I think writing realistic Christian suspense must be extremely difficult. Add in a medical setting, and I believe the task must be super difficult. Richard Mabry, a retired physician, has a reputation of creating books that combine suspense, medicine, and faith successfully. I've heard his stories described as "having heart." While I liked FATAL TRAUMA, it seemed to fall a little short, and I can't quite explain why. I think it tried too hard to accomplish all things. Mark has been lax in his faith and he rediscovers that. He makes a commitment to a woman when he hasn't done that since high school ( there is a connection to that part of his life that I thought was very contrived, but it may open the way for a future book). There are other details such as a child abuse incident that maybe were meant to fill out the realism of the story, but I just felt were confusing. Then there are the cast of minor characters and of course, there has to be a villain hidden within the workings of the hospital.
I will say there is a surprise villain at the end of the story, one I never saw coming. The presence of this person fits the plot, but I wish readers had had more exposure to this person so we would buy into that person's "evilness." I am giving FATAL TRAUMA a 3.5 -- worth reading, but not my favorite suspense title. I received a copy of this novel from Litfuse for my review. I was not compensated in any other way.