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The Pain Nurse

A Will Borders Mystery by Jon Talton

The Pain Nurse by Jon Talton

Review: Jon Talton, author of the David Mapstone mysteries, introduces a new series with ex-homicide detective Will Borders investigating a murder in the hospital where he's recuperating from back surgery in The Pain Nurse.

Borders is confined to a wheel chair and fears he may never walk again. Cheryl Beth Wilson is a pain management nurse, the only one of her kind at the hospital, working with him. Both are in the basement in the oldest part of the hospital at just about the same time, Cheryl Beth having been summoned by Dr. Christine Lustig who was in the process of working on a new program to put all the hospital records on computers, and Borders for an MRI, when Wilson finds Dr. Lustig naked on the floor, multiple stab wounds all over her body, her ring finger cut off. As Borders, who is being wheeled back to his room, passes the murder victim's open door, now a crime scene, he sees the body and her mutilated hand. This brings to mind his former investigation of the Mt. Adams strangler who, with the same MO, had killed at least three women years before. He wasn't convinced the arrested man was guilty, but the evidence against him was compelling. Was it possible the wrong man convicted of, and later executed for, the crime?

But Cheryl Beth Wilson is a "person of interest" for the murder, and Borders' ex-partner is investigating. She had recently ended an affair with the victim's ex-husband that started when they were still married. Borders, working through his pain with the help of Cheryl Beth, becomes convinced his former colleagues aren't looking in the right place, and sets out to prove his pain nurse's innocence and find the true killer.

Set in Cincinnati, The Pain Nurse is a well-crafted, well-paced mystery. Readers who have spent any time in a hospital, especially following major surgery, will appreciate the realism and detail depicted here. Even better are the characters of Will Borders and Cheryl Beth Wilson whose relationship, though based on mutual need, seems genuine and sincere. The Pain Nurse is a captivating story and a terrific introduction to this series; it is highly recommended.

(Reviewer's personal note: Cincinnati is my home town, and Jon Talton has captured the city beautifully. I lived in Price Hill and still have family in Oakley. It was a thrill to go back to the neighborhoods of my youth and see them again through the eyes of this author and his characters.)

Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of The Betz Review for contributing her review of The Pain Nurse.

Acknowledgment: Poisoned Pen Press provided an ARC of The Pain Nurse for this review.

Review Copyright © 2009 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved

Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author

Mystery Book Review: Cactus Heart by Jon TaltonCactus Heart
Poisoned Pen Press (Hardcover), May 2007
ISBN-13: 9781590583524; ISBN-10: 1590583523

Mystery Book Review: Deadline Man by Jon TaltonDeadline Man
Poisoned Pen Press (Hardcover), May 2010
ISBN-13: 9781590587140; ISBN-10: 1590587146

Location(s) referenced in The Pain Nurse: Cincinnati, Ohio

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The Pain Nurse by Jon Talton

The Pain Nurse by A Will Borders Mystery

Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press
Format: Hardcover
ISBN-13: 978-1-59058-624-2
Publication Date:
List Price: $24.95

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