by Barry Johnson
Incensed by a recent case involving a doctor and medical fraud that blew up because of corruption from his superior Department of Justice agent Bryan Hampton decides to transfer from Chicago to Las Vegas to work for his old college buddy, U.S. Attorney Paul Dixon.Hampton’s first case involves a lawyer collaborating with a doctor to defraud the insurance and medical system. Working with a former FBI agent and state of the art technology, Hampton and his associates discover a tangled web of deceit and murder.
Interesting plot. A bit different from a normal mystery thriller in that it involves medical fraud. Medical/health issue are hot topics in today’s world and medical fraud is wrought with corruption and under the table deals just as much as anything else. It’s a nice change of direction for a mystery.
Bryan Hampton: 54, Department of Justice investigator living in Chicago, formerly with Florida DOJ, divorced, has two married daughters, attended Utah University, father was in the Army, drives a Corvette
Paul Dixon: U.S. Attorney for the Nevada District, Hampton’s friend from college, attended Stanford Law, former Clark County Commissioner, has married daughters
Gayle Baker: mid 40’s, former FBI agent, working medical fraud investigations in the Southwestern Region, formerly worked in DC, single, attorney, attractive, athletic physique, only child
Josif Stolic: physician (orthopedic surgery), bearded, big man, runs a health care fraud prevention company, married, five children
Ari Mirzoyan: chiropractor, runs the Accident and Health Restoration Clinics, married, wife is a paid consultant whose only client are the clinics, Armenian ancestry, 55, divorce four times, wealthy, practed medicine in six states, drives a Jaguar convertible
Descriptions vary with enough background information, but I never had a clear image of each character.
Lectures and a lot of details spoken by most of the characters. There is so much explanatory dialogue the characters sound the same. Johnson goes into a lot of detail about various aspects of medical fraud but the individual voices don’t carry through because everybody lectures or has lengthy explanations. Agents don’t speak like agents and criminals don’t speak like criminals. Everybody blended into one voice.
Chapters are headed by Location/Date/Time. Not that it makes any influence on my ranking decision, but I found it interesting to note that the format was not justified, but ragged right. Johnson feels the need to explain a lot more than is necessary up front. The events leading to Hampton’s transfer was too long and could have been done in a few chapters. Because of the explanations beforehand, there was no tension or buildup. POV changes within the scene.
Little action. A lot of meetings between people discussing matters. I realize that it is not a shoot ’em up type of story, but even what action existed was over detailed.