The Trial of Dr. Kate by Michael E. Glasscock III
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
The Trial Of Dr Kate by Michael Glasscock
Dr. Kate Marlowe is about to go on trial for the murder of her good friend and terminally ill patient, Lillian Johnson. Another friend of Dr. Kate's from childhood, Shenandoah Coleman, a journalist for the Memphis Express, goes to the small town of Round Rock, Tennessee to cover this story for her newspaper as well as to do some research for a book she's writing about the workings of the area's influential politicians. Shenandoah comes from a family notorious in the area for trouble. She has not been home in years because she wants nothing more than to distance herself from her roots because of all the bad blood that exists there between her family and almost everyone else in town. Upon arriving in Round Rock, Shenandoah visits Dr. Kate in prison hoping to renew their acquaintanceship and get more information on the story for her paper. At first Dr. Kate doesn't trust an association with someone she has not seen in years, but eventually she comes around and begins to confide in Shenandoah when she realizes Shenandoah will help her try to prove her innocence. This is the second book in Michael Glasscock's series about Round Rock, but it is a stand alone novel that never made me feel like I was missing something I would or should know if only I'd read the first book.
This story takes place during the Summer of 1952 when racism was prevalent in areas of the South, and small town folks knew everyone else's business. The story also deals realistically with alcoholism and the way it affects different people.
Michael Glasscock does a good job of relating what small town life is all about. How the mistakes one makes when young can follow a person throughout his or her life no matter how much situations change. He also writes realistically about the ways in which racism reared its ugly head, and how little was done to stop it. While the core story is about whether or not Dr. Kate killed her friend Lillian and what her motive for that might have been, the story closely follows the life of Shenandoah while she stays in town insofar as who she meets, who she sees, and to whom she becomes closest. There's one particular aspect of Shenandoah's story in which she comes off a bit schizophrenic in that what she thinks and says one minute shifts to the opposite end of the spectrum in the next minute. For me, the way that particular storyline was handled simply didn't make much sense. I found that to be an issue with other characters in the book as well. For me, there should have been much better development of Lillian's husband. He came off as abrupt and uninvolved for no particular reason, even though he was a key point to the story and it was his wife who died suspiciously.
I gave this book a 3 Star rating because of the flaws I felt it had, but I would still recommend it to readers who enjoy stories about small town life and what effect it has on those who live it.
I received an ARC of this book from Net Galley in return for feedback.
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