5 STARS!   5 of 5 stars

Dr. Rhea Lynch returned from a two week vacation to find out her best friend, Marisa, was almost dead.  The official diagnosis was a paralyzing stroke.  Rhea disagreed.  However, Marisa's husband, Dr. Steven Braswell, refused to let anyone near his wife, especially close friends and family!  So Rhea did her own, illegal, examinations and her diagnosis was totally different ... and horrifying!

Then two more men show up in Rhea's ER with the same symptoms and the same diagnosis. All three were unable to communicate what happened to them and who did it. Rhea's findings put her in danger. The more she discovered, the more someone wanted her dead!

***** Move over Robin Cook and Echo Heron!  I had to stop reading a few times to calm myself down!  My mother would call this exciting novel "A WOO-WOO!" (Her version of "Wow" and "Lu-Lu" mixed.) You will not be able to turn the pages fast enough. (I probably left skid marks!)  Here is a novel that I highly recommend to everyone!  A KEEPER! *****

Reviewed by Detra Fitch

5 of 5 stars Excellent medical thriller, June 6, 2001
Reviewer: Harriet Klausner

After being on vacation for a week, ER Doctor Rhea Lynch returns home to learn her best friend Marisa Braswell suffered a sever stroke. However, instead of being at the hospital, Marisa's husband, Dr. Stephen Braswell, head of ER, has kept her at their home and will not allow any visitors. Rhea cannot fathom why Stephen is keeping his spouse out of the hospital and how such a healthy young woman like Marisa could have suffered such a debilitating illness.

Rhea is unable to ignore her friend's plight. She sneaks into the Braswell home, but what she sees horrifies her as a comatose Marisa drips a strange liquid from her nasal passages. Her quick exam fails to verify Stephen's diagnosis. Later that same day, a patient enters ER with similar if not the identical symptoms as Marisa has. Rhea begins to investigate what is happening to her adopted small South Carolina town though someone will go to any lengths to insure she fails including murder.

DELAYED DIAGNOSIS is an exciting medical thriller that centers on the theme of friendship and how far a person will go in the name of that friendship. The heroine is a person will risk everything for a friend. The intrepid Rhea is a flawed person whose weaknesses turn into strengths. She goes the extra mile to help her best friend over the objection of Marisa's spouse, who is the patient's doctor and Rhea's boss. Though the reason for the conspiracy seems thin, readers will fully enjoy this action-packed medical drama because Rhea, who tells much of the tale, hooks the audience. -- Harriet Klausner

From Romantic Times

Dr. Rhea Lynch returned home after a week's vacation to discover that life had changed while she was gone.  Her best friend, Marisa, had been a vibrant, loving woman.   Now, after only a week away. Marisa is in a virtually vegetative state, the result of what appears to be a stroke.

Marisa's husband, Dr. Steven Braswell, has cut off contact between his wife and her family and friends, keeping her home and practically a prisoner.

Rhea sneaks in to check on her friend and becomes determined to discover what happened to this woman who was like a sister to her.  Her resolve is strengthened when she returns to work in the emergency room and her very first night back sees a patient whose symptoms are remarkably like those of Marisa.  Rhea begins collecting information secretly, trying to piece together what has actually been happening in her small South Carolina town.

It quickly becomes obvious that someone wants to keep Rhea from discovering anything.   Her house is ransacked and attempts are made on her life, but nothing will stop her from helping Marisa.

Ms Hunter's exciting tale, told in first person, pulls readers into a strong woman's fights for friendship.  Her heroine is well developed and inspirational--not in her perfection, but in fighting through her weaknesses
    -- Debbie Richardson, Romantic Times   June 2001

from Ann Patterson's column - BOOKED & PRINTED

...When emergency room doctor Rhea Lynch returns from a vacation, she finds her best friend, Marisa,  in a cationic state, being treated at home.  Marisa's husband, Dr. Stephen Braswell, is treating his wife for a severe stroke, but lynch isn't buying that diagnosis.

When several other people begin showing up in the ER with the same symptoms as Marisa, Lynch traces the trail of bizarre injuries and symptoms to the door of doctors who have invested in a rival clinic.

I like Hunter's new style.  I know she's not really a doctor, she just writes about one.  But after reading Delayed Diagnosis, I think I'll list her as my primary care physician with my insurance company...

From The Mystery Reader

Delayed Diagnosis by Gwen Hunter
(Mira, $5.99, PG) ISBN 1-55166-803-3
Delayed Diagnosis offers readers the first glimpse of Dr. Rhea Lynch, who will be featured, according to the author, in a series of romantic suspense novels. Set in a small town in a rural county of South Carolina, author Gwen Hunter captures its essence while advancing an inventive and imaginative well-orchestrated plot.

Growing up in a dysfunctional home, with a mother who was not only an alcoholic but a manic depressive, Rhea was essentially rearing herself when she met Marisa, who would become her best friend through their school years. It was Marisa’s family who showed Rhea a true family life.

As the novel begins, Rhea has made the decision not to return to Charleston to a lucrative medical practice with her significant other, John. She will remain an emergency room physician in the small hospital in Dawson County where Marisa and her new husband Steven live. Steven is a physician and works at the same hospital.

Rhea returns from a two-week vacation to find Marisa unexpectedly unable to communicate and near death. The diagnosis is a severe stroke. Steven has checked Marisa out of the hospital and is providing home care. Slipping in to see her, Rhea is stunned by her condition and finds enough inconsistencies in her appearance to doubt the diagnosis.

Determined to help her friend, Rhea starts to examine the charts and data at the hospital. The author, Gwen Hunter, does a magnificent job detailing medical practices from the perspective of doctors, nurses, EMTs, and clericals. Adroitly she chronicles emergency room activity, using the events to advance her plot and add depth to her characters.

One emergency room admission turns up another patient with Marisa’s symptoms. With a clandestine record search Rhea is able to identify a common thread between the two cases. While she conducts her search, Steven is falling apart emotionally, exhibiting fits of rage and abusive physical behavior. Meanwhile Steven’s stepson is accused of rape and this, coupled with the entry of a competing health service provider in the area, combine to provide the ingredients for an exciting story.

Hunter does everything right in this novel. Her pacing is great, scenes shift seamlessly, dialogue is crisp, often humorous and always to the point. Her character definition is complex and her plot development is logical.

While the resolution of Delayed Diagnosis is a bit too quick and contrived, it does not interfere with the pleasure of the read.

Readers should know that a large number of technical and medical terms are used in Delayed Diagnosis. If your eyes glaze over with simple emergency room terms, you will not enjoy this book as much as those who eagerly embrace medical vignettes.  --Thea Davis




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