Book Review: Critical Decision

5 Mar

It began with an innocent-appearing package on her front porch.

The box contained a cell phone, which rang as soon as she opened the package. A voice that called Dr. Kathy Hoover by name said that her husband had been kidnapped. To get him back she would have to poison one of her patients. 

At first, she didn’t believe that her husband had been taken from the conference he was attending, but soon she discovered that the kidnappers really had Darren. If she wanted to see him again, she had to give medication that would murder Kelton Rush, former Vice-President. What was she to do? How would she handle this critical decision?

Dr. Richard Mabry is a retired physician, now writing “medical mysteries with heart.” In addition to his medical books, he is the author of one non-fiction book, six novellas, and thirteen published novels. His novels have been finalists for the Carol Award, the Inspirational Reader’s Choice Award, the Reviewer’s Choice Award, the Selah Award, and others.

He and his wife live in north Texas. In addition to regular efforts (thus far unsuccessful) to improve his golf game, he spends much of his time trying to convince his family that sitting at his desk staring into space does indeed represent work.


My Impressions:

Richard Mabry has long been a favorite author of mine. He blends medical drama with suspense as his characters deal with some very shady characters. In Critical Decision, his latest novella, he again created a page turner that kept me up past my bedtime. If you are looking for a puzzling mystery then I recommend you check this book out.

Kathy and Darren Hoover are very ordinary people. She is a physician in private practice and he is a professor of mathematics in Dallas, Texas. But their life soon spirals out of control as they are involved in a kidnapping and murder plot. While Critical Decision is plot-driven, I did like how Mabry puts these two characters through their paces. Much of the direction of the novel is due to their resourcefulness. I also liked that they are a married couple — their relationship is real and relatable. The story line kept me guessing and turning the pages as fast as I could. There is a good bit of the cloak and dagger as well as some really sinister bad guys. As always, Mabry adds a spiritual element in this book. The main characters attend church while in the midst of their crisis. They (and the reader) don’t get a long-winded sermon, but some good teaching on God’s wisdom. This element was naturally integrated into the book.

I read Critical Decision at a time when I needed a good distraction from the cares of the day. It proved a great one! A quick read, this novella will appeal to all who love a good whodunit.


Audience: adults.

(Thanks to the author for providing a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)