Malpractice in Maggody

December 29, 2007 - Malpractice in Maggody (Joan Hess). The author returns to the friendly confines of Maggody, Arkansas for the 15th time. It's a small town and, after so many visits, it seems there's less and less to see.

The story begins with Police Chief Arly Hanks enjoying some one on one time with Jack, a single dad she met a couple of books back. While Arly's away, everyone in Maggody is trying to figure out what's going on out at the old county home. It shut down and there's now a big renovation project going on.

Turns out, the place will be home to the Stonebridge Foundation, a secluded rehab facility for the rich and famous. The problem is that the people running the clinic have as many problems as the people they're supposed to be helping. And, to top it off, within a week of opening, the secretary is murdered. Even though it's out of her jurisdiction, Arly is assigned to figure out what's going on.

Before she can, the facility's psychiatrist dies under mysterious circumstances and a patient needs urgent medical care. Without giving too much away, the case is wrapped up with help from Jack when he decides to pay Arly a visit.

This book is a lot like cotton candy. It's easy reading, and you keep reading and reading. But, when you get to the end, you wonder why you bothered. The characters that give Maggody its, well, character are largely absent as the bulk of the action takes place at the Stonebridge Foundation. I mean, who cares about those people? The resolution to the main plot is less than satisfying, and the side plots - which are given short shrift to start with - are wrapped up in just a few sentences. The only redeeming feature comes in the last couple of pages which hint at a major change coming in Arly's life.