Dunne, Nov 2002, 24.95, 320 pp.
Only a few months old, Charlotte Sanderson is at Gunnison Memorial Hospital Emergency Room, the victim of traumatic brain injury most likely caused by severe shaking or banging. Dr. Vicki Shea, as a pediatrician and former medical malpractice attorney, concludes that someone almost killed the baby though the mother Julia claims an accident happened. Vicki discounts Julia's assertion and reports the battering to the authorities. San Francisco Psych Police Officer Tim Murphy handles the abuse case.
As the child heals, Julia evidently commits suicide. SFPD closes the book based on the note at the scene, the victim using heroin and her depression over the baby's health and her arrest for probable cause. Vicki disagrees with the conclusion. With the help of Tim, she begins her own inquiries that will lead her into an illegal immigration smuggling ring with a bunch of new kids and more then just threats on her life as the mobsters running the train will kill to keep the business going.
M AND M is an exciting medical thriller that is at its peak when Julia, her medical associates, and other interested parties from related fields deal with the Charlotte case. The varying perspectives are seen up close as the audience observes the medical, criminal, social, and family angles to a baby-battering situation. When the story line spins into illegal immigrants, it takes quite a detour, but though well written and cleverly linked to the original theme, this subplot seems distant from Charlotte. Sub-genre fans will enjoy this exciting thriller in which the caring lead protagonist feels so devotedly human.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner