The second installment of the Doctor Joe Nelson mystery series, this novel delves into the sleazy underworld of child prostitution in Las Vegas which the titular good-hearted protagonist refuses to ignore, even though he’s supposedly there to relax.
After a life-changing bout with malpractice, murder, and betrayal, Dr. Joe Nelson, his soon to be ex-wife Carolyn, the woman who shot the murderer Natalie, and Carolyn’s potential professional companion Carl decide to go to Las Vegas to recuperate. The dynamics between Carolyn and Joe are so noble as to be almost unbelievable: Carolyn wants to move away from Joe not out of personal dissatisfaction but in order to pursue her career hundreds of miles away from Joe. Joe is very supportive of Carolyn’s choice, while Carolyn not so subtly encourages Joe and Natalie to hook up. It’s thoughtful divorce with emotional support. After a quick teaser introduction, the first few chapters of the book spend an inordinate amount of time chronicling the group’s dress choices and hotel room decor, eventually introducing conflict in the form of a potentially shady driver. This glacial, heavily repetitive section takes away from the narrative speed of the teaser introduction. However, once the novel gets into the meat of the story, questions arise: Does this driver have connections to child prostitution, or is he a secret agent for good? After a visit to the morgue with a suspicious homicide detective, Dr. Joe can’t pretend to relax: he must solve the murder of an innocent while simultaneously forging a new connection with Natalie and letting go of his beloved Carolyn.
WITH A LITTLE MORE PRACTICE is a competent sequel in a medical detective fiction series, exploring highly unusual relationships and a seedy, tragic mystery.