Geoffrey M Cooper’s ILL INTENT, book 4 in his Brad Parker and Karen Richmond Medical Thrillers is a murder mystery set in the cutthroat world of scientific academia, with decades-old secrets and deceptions coming to light and a murderer willing to kill to keep them hidden. Parker is a cancer researcher and his romantic partner, Karen Diamond, is an FBI agent, giving them both access in different ways to the ins and outs of this case, and letting them explain to each other – and therefore to the reader – the nuances of their professional perspectives without resorting to jargon or excessive backstory. The story itself unfolds naturally and gradually, with a number of twists and turns and, as the book goes on, it’s easy to get caught up in the plot.
Both of the protagonists are professionals, experts in their field, and they have a solid respect for each other’s skills, working together in a hearteningly complementary fashion to solve the case. There are no annoyingly petty soap-opera-ish complications to their romance to distract from the mystery, and they behave and communicate like wholesome adults in love throughout, which is refreshing. There are a few bureaucratic hang-ups, which are enough to add some useful obstacles to the story without getting in its way, and they are rather satisfyingly dealt with by the end. The action is more cerebral than adrenal – though there are certainly some moments of physical danger and action, the solution here comes about through carefully piecing together the story of what happened, rather than an excessive amount of bullet-dodging or heart-pounding car chases. The story is intriguing and involves enough potential suspects to keep the reader speculating until near the very end. Seeing the situation from Brad’s perspective, readers get a clear and direct picture of his professional world and of the stakes involved in the peer-review process, which is central to the story. The book is the perfect length – not short enough to feel incomplete or too quickly resolved, and not too long that the reader loses interest. This is good, because once you start, it’s very easy to get caught up in the story and hard to put the book down until it’s resolved.
An intriguing and engaging mystery mingling science, crime, and academic backstabbing, Geoffrey M Cooper’s ILL INTENT has enough twists and turns to keep readers turning pages until the very end.
~Catherine Langrehr for IndieReader