Review: Stress Test, by Richard Mabry

Stress Test cover artStress Test, by Richard Mabry (Thomas Nelson, 2013)

On his final night of hospital duty before taking up a less stressful medical teaching position that might allow him to marry and settle down, Dr. Matt Newman is kidnapped and barely escapes with his life. Waking up as a patient with a head injury is bad enough, but as he’s trying to piece together what happened to him, his car is found… with a dead body lying on top of Matt’s own wallet.

Suddenly the police think he’s a villain instead of a victim, his prospective fiancée cuts him off, and his new boss can’t finish the hiring process. And there’s still someone out there who wants him dead.

Matt is a likeable man doing his best to figure out what’s going on and to stay alive. His lawyer, Sandra Murray, just broke off a relationship with another doctor because he didn’t share her faith. Matt’s faith has been on hold for quite a while, but there’s something about the attack and false accusations that get him praying again. Sandra and Matt sense a growing attraction that they need to resist until he’s cleared of charges—or arrested.

Most scenes are from Matt’s or Sandra’s point of view, but we also see what’s going on with Matt’s enemies, even though we’re not really sure who’s calling the shots. And there are shots being called, sometimes literally. Matt’s the victim of a complex conspiracy that isn’t fully clear until the story ends.

Stress Test reads like a medical tv drama, with enough facts to flavour the atmosphere but not to bog down the story. I found the opening abduction scene intense enough to not read at bedtime, but the rest of the book carries more of a “mystery” suspense level than that of a thriller.

Award-winning author Richard Mabry is a retired M.D. and his knowledge adds a layer of realism to the hospital scenes—whether Matt is working or being a patient. You can learn more about Richard Mabry and his novels at his website, and you can read a preview of Stress Test at the Thomas Nelson site (scroll down the page). To read an interview with Richard Mabry, visit A Christian Writer’s World.

[Review copy provided free from the publisher through the Thomas Nelson BookSneeze® book review bloggers program in exchange for an unbiased review.]

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