Sunday 13 October 2013

Book ~ "The Trial of Dr. Kate" (2013) Michael E. Glasscock III

From Goodreads ~ In the summer of 1952, Lillian Johnson was found dead in her home, slumped in the wheelchair that had become her cage due to multiple sclerosis. An overdose of barbiturate had triggered a heart attack, but the scene was not quite right. It looked as though someone other than Lillian herself had injected the fatal dose.

Dr. Kate Marlow, Lillian’s physician and best friend, now sits in the Round Rock city jail. The only country doctor for miles, Kate cannot remember her whereabouts at the time of Lillian’s death and the small Tennessee town buzzes with judgment.

As Dr. Kate’s trial approaches, another woman is determined to uncover the truth about the night of Lillian’s death. Memphis reporter Shenandoah Coleman grew up in Round Rock on the wrong side of the tracks, but unlike the rest of her unsavory clan, escaped her destiny. Now, back in the town she grew up in, she’ll have to turn every stone to keep Kate from a guilty verdict.

It's 1952 and Shenandoah Coleman is a  reporter for a newspaper in Memphis.  When she hears that her childhood friend, Kate, has been arrested for murdering her friend and patient, Lillian (who had MS and cancer), Shenandoah heads home to cover the trial.  Shenandoah is from a poor troublemaking family and every time someone hears her last name, they comment on her family.  It happened so often that I was thinking it would be a good drinking game (you have down your drink every time someone asked if she was one of those Colemans).

Kate is a hardworking doctor who had taken over her father's practice when he died.  She is an alcoholic and has frequent blackouts ... which is what happened the day Lillian died.  Though someone saw her car in the driveway, she doesn't remember being at Lillian's house that day and says there's no way she'd kill her friend.  There are rumours that Kate and Lillian's husband, Army, were having an affair, which gives her a motive.

This is the first book I've read by this author and it was okay.  The author did a good job capturing the times ... racism, women's rights, bootlegging, etc.  I liked the writing style and I thought it flowed well for the most part.  It was written in third person with a focus on Shenandoah.  The language at times is for mature readers. I thought the storyline was interesting. I could have done without some of the subplots as they had no bearing on the story.  I liked that there was an epilogue at the end end to let you know what eventually happened to everyone.

I liked most of the characters.  I found Shenandoah's character realistic for that time.  Mr. Applebee was a hoot as was Hattie Mae.  I didn't connect with Dr. Kate.  I thought the love story that developed came together too quickly and I found it unbelievable, especially the sudden end result.  It was odd that Army, the husband of the woman murdered, played such a small part in the story.

This is the second in the Round Rock series and I'd read the others in the series.

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