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by Charles Atkins
Leisure Books, August 2006
342 pages
ISBN: 0843957573

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

In 1991, at the Cadaver's Ball, which is similar to a senior prom only for medical students, Beth turns down Ed Tyson's proposal. Instead she agrees to marry Dr Peter Grainger. Their marriage moves slowly through professional life until Beth dies in a car crash in 2004. Peter was driving the car and survived with few injuries. Not only did Beth die but their unborn child also died as well.

Peter is guilt-stricken but is now finally going back to work. His son Kyle and extended family are hopeful that this is a sign of improvement. Unfortunately Ed Tyson wants revenge and will use Peter's weakness against him.

Peter finds himself treating a young college student, Ann Walsh. Ann resembles Beth physically and they have some of the same characteristics. The plot thickens as Peter finds himself the police's main suspect in a murder investigation. Unless Peter can maintain his mental well-being in order to find the answers, Ed Tyson will finally have his ultimate revenge.

Writing a suspense thriller can be a difficult task to undertake. This is the one genre where either a book really works or it does not work at all. The public is fickle with their praise and their fears. What one person views as psychological suspense another person views as mind-numbingly trite. THE CADAVER'S BALL falls into this category: no part of this book is suspenseful nor are Peter's personal struggles entertaining.

In addition to the lack of suspense, the characters in THE CADAVER'S BALL could use some strengthening and other improvements. The characters are not strongly developed nor are they very interesting or original. The dialogue between characters is stilted and their emotions seem false. While one wants to empathize with Peter trying to recover from his past and with Kyle trying to help his father, their characters make it difficult.

Reviewed by Sarah Dudley, June 2006

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