A phone call from Meredtith's husband propels her through nine horrendous days and into a deadly snare.
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N ancy G. West, Mystery Writer
Nine Days To Evil
Author: Nancy Glass West
Reviewed by Kevin R. Tipple
For Meredith Laughlin her life is almost perfect. Naive and wealthy, she is for the most part happily married to Dr. Conrad Laughlin, staff member of Methodist University Hospital in San Antonio, Texas. In addition to his hospital duties, he also sees private and clinic patients at locations some distance from San Antonio. He makes a circuit every week of a different area and uses San Antonio as his center point.
As the book opens, he is on the road to see some of his patients and behind the wheel of his beloved Jag. Despite the thunderstorms in the area, he manages to get through to Meredith briefly on his cell phone. They only manage to connect for a minute or so and then Meredith hears her husband scream and what sounds like the noises of a violent car crash before she is cut off. She reports the incident and initially Texas Department of Public Safety Troopers can't find the car and have no record of a crash in the area. As the hours pass into days, Meredith takes the first tentative steps on a long road in trying to find out what happened to her husband.
For Conrad's partner, Dr. Key Walker, the disappearance ads a tremendous amount of work to his shoulders. In addition to everything else, Walker now has to cover Conrad's patients. Something that would be easier if the files were in the proper order and if some of them made medical sense. This isn't the first time Conrad has done something odd and Key suspects something sinister is going on.
Meredith is also beginning to wonder about her perfect husband. While she knows far less than Key, Conrad's behavior with her has been a little odd from time to time. As she begins to attend Grad School, she starts recognizing that her husband might not be all that he appears to be and that she needs to find him and get answers before moving on with her life.
This is an enjoyable mystery featuring an interesting set of characters at the beginning of what appears to be a series. As the ripples of Conrad's disappearance touch other lives, the point of view shifts between those characters adding further dimension to this cozy style mystery. In so doing, the author creates a fuller, deeper work, while sacrificing none of the plot, pacing, and storyline points that make this novel an enjoyable read from start to finish.
NINE DAYS TO EVIL
By Nancy Glass West
Thursday. Day One.
Half asleep, Meredith felt Conrad's hand brush her lips, touch her throat, and explore the mounds of her body. When a thunderclap jarred her fully conscious, she reached for him and found him gone. The ringing phone sent her scrambling for the receiver. “Hello?”
“Good thing I left early,” Conrad said. “Traffic was a bitch.”
He was making weekly rounds to clinics outside San Antonio. He sounded excited, like a runaway. They should be driving north together to escape the August heat.
“I’m off the interstate, looking for a scenic route. See if this Jag can navigate some curves.”
Why must he drive so fast? “It’s lightning and thundering like crazy," she said. "We’re in for a deluge. Is the storm coming toward you?”
“Looks kind of cloudy. What are you up to?”
“Not much before classes start on Monday.” They had argued about her starting graduate school. Conrad was on staff at Methodist University Hospital and saw private and clinic patients. During his precious free hours, he wanted a loving wife waiting for him, not a stressed-out student.
“Maybe I’ll meet Claire for lunch,” she said, knowing that with a storm brewing, eating out wasn't enticing. The summer drought had carved rock-hard crevices in the soil. With torrential rain, water would fill the cracks, overflow, and erupt into flash floods. Meredith had seen San Antonio’s roads under several feet of water.
“Have Claire tell her old man to quit working so hard,” Conrad joked. “Dr. Walker is a little cog in a big old medical wheel. Hey…what are you…Hey! Look out…Oh, my God!”
Meredith heard brakes screech and gripped the phone, straining to hear over thunder detonating on the roof.
“Conrad! What is it? What’s happening? Can you hear me?”
The sky exploded with thunder and lightening. The crash of glass and metal bombarded her like a slap. She dropped the phone. Hand quivering, she recaptured the receiver and drew it cautiously to her ear, afraid of the clatter that would assault her.
“Conrad,” she shouted into the receiver, “Say something. Are you all right? Conrad!” She held her breath, straining to hear over the storm.
The line was dead; their link severed.
Mystery Women, UK Review by Lizzie Hays
‘Nine Days to Evil’by Nancy Glass West
Dr Conrad Laughlin left early for his weekly rounds to the clinics outside San Antonio, but caught up with his wife Meredith by phone, one minute he is asking her what she is up to that day, the next there is a screeching of brakes and then silence….
Meredith immediately reports the accident to the police, but when they investigate they can find no evidence of an accident. Nor, it seems, was Conrad expected at the clinics. In fact they can find no trace of Conrad at all.
The story is told from the point of view of both Meredith, and Conrad’s partner Dr Key Walker. We learn fairly early on that Conrad has disappeared on occasion, be it only for a few hours, but it is enough in the current circumstances for Key to start ferreting around in Conrad’s files.
On day two of Conrad’s disappearance, Meredith officially reports him missing and when asked by the police ‘Did he have any reason to leave?’ realises that after three years of marriage there is still much of Conrad that remains hidden.
Meredith had decided to attend graduate school studying English Literature. She feels that even in the difficult circumstances it will be good for her to attend her first class. The first play on the syllabus is Shakespeare’s Othello. The use of the play was very skilfully woven into the fabric of the story.
I confess that this is my kind of book - the real suspense mystery. A book that will keep your attention until it reaches a satisfying conclusion. A book of deception and betrayal, and of course money. But then I so often wonder how much we really know of anyone, even people we think that we know well.
MBR Bookwatch, Review by Shelly Godowski
Nine Days to Evil
By Nancy Glass West
ISBN: 0974770507 $16.95
Nancy Glass West is a writer and poet. She has been a guest poet on "Theme and Variations," a show aired by National Public Radio. She is currently writing her next mystery.
Meredith Laughlin is a traditional wife of a doctor, but her stirrings are telling her to go back to graduate school to study English Literature. She adores her husband, who is a magnificent looking man with a lot of charisma who practices gynecology. However, he acts remote at times, and then there was the time he disappeared for two days with no explanation. Now he is missing again, after a troubling phone call which he made from his car phone just before she heard a crash:
"'Have Claire tell her old man to quit working so hard,' Conrad joked. Dr. Walker is a little cog in a big old medical wheel. Hey what are you Hey! Look Out Oh, my God!'
Meredith heard brakes screech and gripped the phone, straining to hear over thunder detonating on the roof. Conrad! What is it? What's happening? Can you hear me?'"
The scene is set for Agatha Mundeen and Homicide Detective Sam Vanderhoven to enter Meredith's life, as well as the play OTHELLO and a course in abnormal psychology. As each day of Conrad's disappearance drags on, the threesome put together a probable cause for his disappearance, and all these elements serve as signposts in the investigation.
West writes a striking mystery, with deception and sociopaths galore. Detective Sam and Agatha have plenty of juicy history, and act as guides for Meredith's self awakening, even as they hunt for her husband. She intertwines good and evil in a ghostly dance, even as she clearly delineates her characters. The action is nonstop, and West is careful to peel the layers of evil with a practiced eye. The denouement is chilling, and Meredith's discoveries almost lead to her demise. But all is well in the end, and the reader cheers for Meredith's growth and survival. NINE DAYS TO EVIL is a fine effort, and is a well written book with many tentacles. Nancy Glass West is a wise woman with a knack for suspense. NINE DAYS TO EVIL is an engaging first effort.
BVS Reviews, West's Evil Story Review by Bruce Von St iers
West's Evil Story
Bruce Von Stiers
Meredith Laughlin gets a call from her husband. He is on his cell phone and she can hardly make out what he is saying. All of a sudden, something is happening in the background and the phone goes dead. Did something terrible just happen? This is the beginning of Nine Days to Evil, a mystery novel by Nancy Glass West.
You get the feeling from the first that this is not just your average missing person mystery. Ms. West gives you a lot of things to think about. Meredith is not just your average doting doctor's wife. She is smart and the people surrounding her really care about her. They too want to find out what happened to her husband Conrad. And the cops think that Meredith is making way too much of the whole thing.
After Conrad disappears, Meredith tries to find out where he was going. He was on staff at the Methodist University hospital and made stops at maternity clinics in the areas surrounding San Antonio . It was on the way to one of these stops that Conrad disappeared.
Meredith gets support and help from Key Walker and his wife, Claire. Key and Conrad worked together at the hospital and were both up for the chair in their department. Meredith also gets support from her parents and a new friend named Agatha Mundeen.
The cop investigating Conrad's disappearance is somewhat unusual. Slow and plodding, Sam Vanderhoven has his own set of problems. He came from the Chicago area with a lot of emotional baggage. Can he be truly effective in this investigation?
The book gives the reader the entire story broken down over a nine day period. Hence the title of the book. There are forty-eight chapters in the book and it has 306 pages. It is soft covered and was published by Booklocker.
As the book progresses, we find that the idyllic life that Meredith portrays for her and Conrad isn't exactly true. He has disappeared before and something about his life prior to Meredith is shrouded in mystery.
The characters interact well here and the author adds some interesting plot devices to tie Vanderhoven to Meredith and her new friend Agatha.
The storyline of a missing husband who isn't what everybody thought isn't exactly new. But Nancy Glass West brings a different and interesting approach to the idea. Meredith is strong and wants to get to the bottom of all of this. If Conrad is truly missing, why can't they find him? And if he is up to no good, will she be able to survive the fallout?
Nine Days to Evil got an endorsement from a top notch mystery writer, Barbara D'Amato. She calls this book “a fascinating tale of betrayal and deception.” I agree with that. I also think that the author made the characters seem real and the situations very intense. You really don't get the true picture of what's going on until nearly the end. That makes for a great read.
Nine Days to Evil is available through Booklocker, Amazon or Barnes and Noble.
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