Too Much Blood
by Jane Bennett Munro
reviewed by Barbara Deming
"You'll never guess what just happened?"
Jay Braithwaite Burke, sleazy, ponzi-scammer attorney is on forensic pathologist Toni Day's autopsy table. He had bilked people out of thousands of dollars, and, when the scheme collapsed, he disappeared. Where has he been? Why did he return to the scene of his crimes only to wind up dead?
The autopsy and lab work shows Burke died of a brain hemorrhage. His local doctor had treated him for a heart problem. Was he given the wrong drug which caused excessive bleeding? Or did someone give him an overdose? The lack of concrete reasons for accidental or natural cause of death warrants Toni's conclusion that this is a case of homicide. Complications with the case are almost as worrisome as the verbal skirmishes with her husband, and the anger/fear over her suspicions that Hal is having an affair. But when disaster strikes in mega doses, she temporarily puts her personal angst aside and hits the investigative trail.
People connected to him and his scheme are Toni's co-workers. Several homes burn to the ground. Some family members fall ill. It appears Burke has two wills; the first one leaves money to women he had affairs with. But he claimed to be broke, didn't he? And then a mysterious bleeding illness attacks those people involved with the disgraced attorney. Police cry, "Murder!" As Toni would say, "Christ on a crutch, what is going on here?"
Author Munro, a semi-retired pathologist, has written a can't-put-down tale of murder and poisoning seen through the eyes of a pathologist bent on solving crimes. Munro's writing is entertaining, believable, and fast-paced. She takes you into the autopsy room, shows the fragility of the characters, and makes the reader feel they are inside the story. Readers will definitely be looking forward to solving more cases with this character.
RECOMMENDED by the USR
REVIEW: TOO MUCH BLOOD, A THRILLER in which author, Jane Bennett Munro takes the main character, Toni Day and wakes her in the middle of the night. An autopsy needs to be performed on a low life attorney, Jay Braithwaite Burke. In the investigation to find out what killed the lawyer, Day discovers quite a few people who had a reason to take him out. On the list are most of her friends from the hospital where she works, her neighbors and many more.Burke was involved in some not so kosher deals which drew the attention of FBI agents. He was also father of many children with many women. He leaves an odd condition in his will so the children will be taken care of. this is one big web. Along with the low life lawyer, Day has an idea her husband is not being so faithful. Looks like the pathologist has a full plate.
Ms. Munro herself is a 34 year pathologist, so writing the medical parts of the book are second nature to her. The author wrote a good thriller with lots of webs to untangle.I only have one complaint with the book. too many characters to keep up with. There wasn’t time and room in the book to go into depth on most of the characters.
This was a good read but there just wasn”t enough depth on the characters and the story kept going back and forth all the time, never giving a chance to get to know the characters and their real situations.
I would give this book 3.5 STARS.
Well, I guess that’s better than no stars at all. I’ve sent my books out to be given honest reviews, and that’s what I wanted to get. I shouldn’t complain when I get constructive criticism because that’s what I wanted to get. Most of my reviews have been 5 stars so far, so getting one for 3.5 stars is a bit of a dash of cold water in the face. No matter. It’s life for an aspiring author.
My first reaction was What do you mean, my characters aren’t developed? Of course they’re developed. I spent lots of time developing them. But wait. I did that in Murder Under the Microscope. I didn’t re-do it in Too Much Blood. That’s probably a common mistake inexperienced authors make when writing a series. They assume everybody’s read the first one. But they haven’t.
Besides which, there are an awful lot of characters in Too Much Blood. Many of them are children, who are peripheral. Why did I make the Maynards and the Burkes so prolific in the first place? I’m not a mother, so I didn’t give Toni children. I didn’t think I’d be able to make her convincing as a mother. So I gave the kids to her best friend and next door neighbor, Jodi Maynard.
I didn’t need to give Jay Braithwaite Burke so many children. I did so to make him look like more of a sleaze, leaving not only his wife but four children besides.
It’s too late to do anything about that in Grievous Bodily Harm; it’s already in publication. But I took the criticism to heart. In Death by Autopsy, I’m developing the pure living bejeezus out of my characters, just as if it were the first book in the series.
Let it never be said that I can’t learn from my mistakes. Thanks Goodreads, for setting me straight.
Too Much Blood
Jane Bennett Munro
Reviewed by Charline Ratcliff for RebeccasReads (9/12)
"Too Much Blood" was an engrossing read, although it was most definitely written by someone with an extensive knowledge of human anatomy and conditions. Author Jane Bennett Munro (MD) is a semi-retired pathologist with over thirty years in the field, which gives her writing the exceptional realism that only comes from personal, hands on, experience. Don’t be worried though, Munro has written "Too Much Blood" in a very tasteful manner so while it’s extremely realistic it’s not over the top for those who, like me, are squeamish when it comes to reading murder mysteries.
Toni Day, the main character in "Too Much Blood" receives a call in the wee hours of the morning because Jay Braithwaite Burke, the local (and sleazy) attorney has been found deceased. Burke’s car was discovered in a small snow bank in the middle of a freeway and wouldn’t you know it, when the police opened the car up, there was Jay Braithwaite Burke, dead as a door nail, in the driver’s seat. Toni is required to perform an autopsy and the question of the day? Was Burke’s death due to natural causes or…was it a homicide?
A man died in his car in the middle of the night during a snow storm? Why wouldn’t his death be from natural causes?? Probably because nothing in life is ever quite that simple… I think I used the word "sleazy" when previously making reference to Burke and it’s an apt description. Apparently Mr. Burke was promoting a pretty impressive hedge fund and almost every single doctor who worked at Perrine Memorial Hospital invested in it. Unfortunately, when the economy tanked, so did his hedge fund and it was revealed shortly afterward to be a massive Ponzi scheme. Needless to say, after losing their shirts and then some, most of the town had reason to want Burke dead. Now it’s just a question of "who done it?"
I don’t want to give away any more of Munro’s tale – suffice it to say it was a great book. Munro writes with captivating flair and her storyline is believable and realistic. "Too Much Blood" reads like front page news and I’m certain that murder mystery fans of all ages will enjoy this title.
Tuesday, August 6, 2013
Too Much Blood by Jane Bennett Munro, Review and Author Interview!
From the author's website.
Too Much Blood is a gripping book that reveals how one midnight call drastically changes everything in the life of a brilliant and young female pathologist—leading her to a life-threatening situation. Between its covers, you will follow Toni Day as she must use all her expertise to unmask a killer and save herself and her loved ones from a gory death. Follow her as she attempts to uncover the truths of the suspicious circumstances and complex web of events and resolve the conundrum. Riveting and action packed, this book will take you on a mind-blowing journey of a lifetime!
Pathologist Toni Day returns in this gory tale of a sleazy lawyer and his scam involving the doctors at Perrine Memorial Hospital, in which their earnings go directly into his hedge fund via an offshore leasing company, avoiding taxation. That is, until the economy takes its worst dive since 1929, and Jay Braithwaite Burke’s hedge fund is revealed as a Ponzi scheme. The Feds move in. Jay declares bankruptcy and disappears, only to reappear two months later, dead in his car in the middle of the snowy interstate.
At autopsy, Toni discovers that Jay bled to death. Shortly thereafter, Jay’s partner also bleeds to death. Jay’s widow and four children are kept on the move by a series of house fires, and soon everybody ends up at Toni’s house. Toni’s life is already complicated enough; her work schedule is brutal, and she fears that her husband, Hal, is having an affair. In the meantime, a mysterious illness casts a bloody pall over the Christmas season. Toni must use all her pathological expertise to keep her loved ones from a similar fate, and in so doing nearly comes to a bloody end herself.
Too Much Blood is the second book in the Toni Day Mystery series by Jane Bennett Munro, MD. Dr Munro is a pathologist in a small hospital in Twin Falls, Idaho, as is Dr Toni Day Shapiro. There, the similarities end, I trust. The citizens of the real Twin Falls are better behaved, hopefully, than those of the fictional Twin Falls. The scheming, homicidal and incendiary nature of a few of the residents of fictional Twin Falls make Too Much Blood a very good read, however.
Toni is a very likable character, well written and three-dimensional. The amateur sleuthing of the protagonist in some other cozy mystery series can seem so far-fetched. Toni's assistance to the Twin Falls police officers is crucial to solve these murders. Her husband Hal, her mother Fiona, and her friends are also well-developed characters, and add a lot to the enjoyment of the book.
I am finding it difficult to explain further about why I like this book so much, without giving major spoilers (and I don't do that), or else just repeating what is in the synopsis. But I do. Really, really like it ― another five-kitty read for Jane Bennett Munro!
Speaking of Jane Bennett Munro, I am very pleased to have the author of Murder Under the Microscope and Too Much Blood with me here in the studio today. Studio audience, you are in for a treat! Please join me in welcoming Jane Bennett Munro to Jane Reads!
How similar are the fictional Twin Falls, Idaho and the real Twin Falls, Idaho? The fictional Twin Falls, Idaho has a combination funeral director / coroner. What about the actual Twin Falls?
JBM: Right now our coroner is a retired detective from the Twin Falls Police Dept. However, several other towns around us have had owners of funeral homes as coroners. It’s an elected post. They used to call on local pathologists to do the autopsies. Back in the day when I was in solo practice, the county hospital did all the coroner’s cases for Twin Falls County, but I did them for the surrounding five counties. Now I’ve joined forces with the pathology group from the county hospital; my competitors are now my partners, and none of us has time to spend in court and still get our work done. So now the coroner’s cases go to Boise.
The fictional Twin Falls funeral director / coroner makes middle-of-the-night calls to announce his need for an autopsy tomorrow. Did you receive annoying-yet-useless calls like this, during the 24 years when you were in solo practice?
JBM: All the time. I can count on the fingers of one hand how many of those calls I actually got during the day.
Dr Toni has to perform autopsies at the funeral home, because Perrine Memorial doesn't have a proper morgue. Was this the case, when you were starting out in Twin Falls?
JBM: When I was in solo practice, I had no morgue. I was the first and only pathologist my hospital ever had, up until we were bought out by the county hospital and I joined their pathology group. Since then, we’ve had a morgue. But yes, I did have to travel to funeral homes, lugging all my paraphernalia with me; until I made an arrangement with one particular funeral home to use their embalming room as my “morgue” and keep my equipment there.
Nearly all of the medical staff of Perrine Memorial invested in Jay's hedge fund, later revealed to be a Ponzi scheme. Did something similar happen at the hospital you worked at?
JBM: Yes, back in the eighties. Instead of a Ponzi scheme, it was a leasing company. The way it worked, the doctors became employees of the leasing company, who leased them to the hospital, who paid the leasing company for their services, and the leasing company paid the doctors. This way, they were able to deduct things from their income taxes that most people couldn’t, and there was no limit on how much could be put into a pension plan. At the time, it was perfectly legal.
The lawyer who got us into it had started by putting us all in personal corporations, which lasted only a few months before the law changed and made them illegal for hospital-based physicians who used hospital employees instead of hiring their own. So the next step was the leasing company. My husband and I were skeptical. We figured if the law could be changed once, it could be changed twice, and we declined to participate. But all my other colleagues did, as well as many more doctors, lawyers, and the like all over Idaho and some in other states. It lasted five years, then it all fell apart in 1987, when Black Monday happened. The law changed again and made the leasing company illegal, and all the participants found themselves owing beaucoup bucks in back taxes, interest and penalties. One doctor sued and got some of his money back. But after that, the lawyer declared bankruptcy and left town. Nobody else got any of their money back.
You worked your way through medical school as a medical technologist. I am a medical technologist, and have worked with someone who was working his way through pharmacy school. He worked every weekend, double shifts as I recall. How did you do it?
JBM: That’s pretty much what I did, too. I met my husband in that job, as well as friends who are still my friends today.
Is Dr Toni's freakin' good friend Elliott drawn on anyone in your life?
JBM: Yes, he was a lawyer married to a friend of mine. His name was Elliott, too. They’re divorced now.
How long have you been a fan of Flip Wilson?
JBM: Decades. My husband and I got a German shepherd when we’d been married about a year. We named him Killer.
You gave several teasers about the possibility of a new love interest for Fiona. Will all be revealed in Grievous Bodily Harm?
JBM: Yes, and that’s all I’m going to say about that.
Thanks for this opportunity!
You're very welcome, Jane! Thank you so much for visiting Jane Reads for this interview. I have enjoyed it very much, and I am sure the studio audience has also.
I look forward to reading more about Toni, her family and friends in future books in the series. Book three in the series, Grievous Bodily Harm, is out now, and book four is in progress.
I rated Too Much Blood five out of five kitties. I give it my highest recommendation, for anyone who enjoys medical murder mysteries.