In a small upstate New York town, an idyllic lake yields a ghastly discovery when the skeletal remains of a young woman missing for twenty-seven years are pulled from the icy depths—along with unmistakable evidence of her murder. Suddenly, the long-dormant case of Kelly McShane Braden’s mysterious disappearance is reactivated. And for two devastated men, dark emotions and disturbing secrets will also rise to the surface.
For local coroner Dr. Mark Roper, the murder is more than just a grim interruption of his general practice in sleepy Hampton Junction. Kelly Braden had been a surrogate sister. When the police insist the trail of Kelly’s disappearance is too cold to pick up again, he vows to find the missing pieces of the past that will lead him to a killer. Because that’s what cracks cold cases: “One guy who can’t get it out of his head.”
Yet Mark isn’t the only one with Kelly’s murder on his mind. Dr. Earl Garnet, chief of staff at Buffalo’s St. Paul’s Hospital, was once Kelly’s secret lover . . . and would-be savior. Until his plans to rescue her from an abusive marriage were cut short by her vanishing. Now, as the last person to see Kelly alive, he’s in danger of becoming the prime suspect, unless he can unmask the murderer first.
But neither man knows about the twisted chain of lies and corruption that led to Kelly’s death—or the shocking revelations that were meant to go with her to a watery grave. And the harder they push for answers, the easier they make it for their lethal quarry to zero in on them—and push back with deadly force.
With Mortal Remains, Peter Clement remains in total control of readers’ nerves from the very first page, once more wielding heart-racing suspense and scalpel-sharp terror with a master surgeon’s skill.
In this medical mystery, the remains in question are those of Kelly McShane Braden, former lover of series hero Dr. Earl Garnet (Lethal Practice; Death Rounds; The Procedure), chief of the busy emergency room at St. Paul's Hospital in Buffalo, N.Y. Kelly disappeared under mysterious circumstances 27 years ago, and now the discovery of her bones threatens Garnet's personal and professional life. Also involved are physician/coroner Mark Roper and his sheriff friend, Dan Evans, both of whom live in Hampton Junction, a small community in the Adirondacks. Mark takes Kelly's murder personally, as she was his beloved childhood babysitter and a close friend of his physician father. The chief suspect in the original disappearance is Dr. Charles "Chaz" Braden IV, Kelly's husband and son of suave, powerful Dr. Charles Braden III. Mark and Earl join forces in hunting down Kelly's killer, and in a matter of hours, patients begin to turn up dead in hospital beds, and seemingly unrelated civilians perish in violent accidents. Mark narrowly escapes being shot, and Earl is felled by a baffling illness. Veteran thriller readers will diagnose the guilty party quickly enough, though the motive is so complicated most will simply give author Clement the benefit of the doubt and accept his version of events. This is medical suspense, so there's lots of doctor talk: "But the lack of nausea and there being no focal, right-upper-quadrant tenderness means we don't even have to think gallbladder, and with normal urine, it isn't renal. Any history of hypertension, Earl?" Readers who go for this sort of chatter will find the book a compelling read, but those who aren't quite so taken with hospitals and healers might look elsewhere for their thrills.