Review: Match: A Medical Murder Mystery
In Match: A Medical Murder Mystery, Amy S. Peele crafts a chilling intricate mystery around the investigation of the death of a living donor coordinator, Kayla Newman, who was a member of the staff at the San Francisco Global Organ Transplant Institute.
As the tale opens, Sarah Golden, Kayla's manager, is horrified when she receives a phone call from a doctor at the Institute regarding the mysterious death of Kayla in Miami. Initially, the cause of death was presumed to be suicide arising from an opioid overdose. Ultimately this is ruled out due to a lack of a solid suspect.
Coincidentally, one of the lead detectives in Kayla's murder investigation is Rodney Strong, a former boyfriend of Sarah. She nicknamed him Detective Handsome, and she still has the hots for him!
The couple had met in Miami the previous year when Sarah was a traveling transplant nurse working at the Miami International Transplant Institute.
Several of the Institute's medical team and some others are queried by Detective Strong and his partner Lupe Campos. However, nothing points to one individual who may have had a motive to murder Kayla, even though she was disliked by several of her co-workers.
To enliven the story, Peele intertwines a captivating family drama and a race against time involving an eight-year-old youngster, Wyatt, who is waiting to receive a kidney donation. He is the son of Sarah's best friend, Jackie, who is married to Laura. The marriage relationship between Jackie and Laura is on the rocks due to Laura's extra-marital affair.
To help find a kidney donor for Wyatt, Sarah will become part of a paired kidney exchange. We are informed that this is when a kidney recipient has a living kidney donor, but the donor doesn't match them, and another. recipient has the same situation with their donor. Donors are swapped, and each patient gets a transplant, but not from their original donor.
To sustain the momentum of the plot and to keep her readers hooked, Peele inserts a unexpected tossed salad of clues such as the blackmailing of one of the Institute's doctors, who was involved in several affairs with members of his staff, drug dealing, huge unexplained bank accounts, and a creepy nerdy IT employee at the Institute. Then there is the matter of Kayla? Do we absolutely know who she was, what secrets did she keep, and her agenda while working at the Institute?
The novel's ending is something readers would not predict, and it would be a sellout to indicate any sort of hint of it. Peele keeps the story humming and neatly knits together the novel's two separate narratives as she ties it all up.
Peele uses her thirty-five-year experience as a transplant nurse in re-creating the setting and mood of the story. She effectively climbs inside her characters' souls, revealing their weaknesses and strengths, and she pulls out all the stops, blindsiding the reader with plot shifts. Her ability to reveal character in slight gestures and poignant reflection adds to the authenticity of the story.
By the time you have completed your read of this brainy thriller, the realism of the world of transplant organs and the characters' emotions will make you believe it is true.
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