Mysterious, Oct 2003, 23.95, 296 pp.
In Colorado Doctor Carmen Nguyen works the emergency room at St. Mary's Hospital. The Vietnamese-African-American finds herself attracted to two new patients. Sixty-nine years old crusty but likable Luke Redstone, owner of the most highly regarded fighting cocks in the area, is dying from leukemia. Ruggedly handsome former marine Walter Rios was rushed to ER when he fell during a fly fishing trip and ruptured his brachial artery.
Somehow Luke persuades Carmen to search for his prize winning cocks. However, while biking in the desert, someone fires shots at Carmen. Walter joins Carmen on her investigation into the stolen cocks and the shooting. Soon they learns that a Denver biotech executive Jack Kimbrough is experimenting on duplicating the physical skills of Luke's birds in human beings. However, with billions at stake that knowledge could prove deadly to the two amateur sleuths.
The remote Colorado desert is brought to picturesque life in this thrilling amateur sleuth tale. Besides the scenery which takes on a characterization of its own, the three key good guys are fully developed and their new relationships are realistic and fun to observe, especially with a wary Carmen. The medical thriller aspects seems more like an underpinning so that fans of that sub-genre may be disappointed by the dose of that subplot as the amateur sleuth camaraderie is the strength of HEAT SHOCK.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner