The Last Clinic by Gary Gusick

The Last ClinicThe Last Clinic by Gary Gusick

Description from Goodreads

In a fast-paced, suspenseful debut novel for fans of Harlan Coben and Lisa Gardner, detective Darla Cavannah goes Deep South in pursuit of a merciless killer.

Outside the local women’s health clinic, the Reverend Jimmy Aldridge waving his protest sign is a familiar sight. But that changes early one morning when someone shoots the beloved Reverend Jimmy dead. Sheriff Shelby Mitchell knows the preacher’s murder will shock the good people of Jackson—and the pressure to find the killer is immediate and intense, which is why Shelby calls in detective Darla Cavannah.

When police detective Darla moved from Philadelphia to Jackson with her husband—hometown football hero Hugh “the Glue” Cavannah—she never imagined the culture shock that awaited. Then after Hugh dies in a car crash, Darla enters a self-imposed exile in her Mississippi home, taking a leave of absence from the sheriff’s department. Now she’s called back to duty—or coerced, more like it, with Shelby slathering on his good-ole-boy charm nice and thick, like on a helping of barbecue.

Reluctantly partnered with a mulish Elvis impersonator, Darla keeps a cool head even as the community demands an arrest. The court of public opinion has already convicted the clinic’s doctor, Stephen Nicoletti, but Darla is just as sure he’s not guilty—even as she fights her growing attraction to him. From the genteel suburbs to a raunchy strip club, Darla follows a trail of dirty money and nasty secrets—until the day of judgment comes, and she faces down an ungodly assassin.

I gave this book four stars out of five

My thoughts:

I enjoyed this book immensely. It was an exciting detective story, that began with the murder of a revered priest and developed into something a lot more complex.

I liked the main character, Darla Cavannah, a strong woman that had been through some difficult times, working in a generally male dominated  profession. She was an interesting character with an intriguing back story that was slowly revealed as the plot developed. There was plenty of antagonism between Darla and the other detective on the case, Tommy.

Tommy’s attitude towards the dead priest, and the clinic and its doctor, ran counter to Darla’s. Tommy displayed all of the worst qualities a detective could have, being biased and prejudiced, as a member of the dead priest’s church. He was continually seeking media attention, to further his personal agenda.

What at first seemed to be, and ultimately actually was, an isolated incident, an act of violence against a beloved priest, led to a much larger national plot of anti-abortion terror activity. Numerous originally unidentified crimes began falling into a pattern linked to the dead priest, who turns out not to be so innocent and holy as his reputation amongst his flock would have suggested.

I didn’t guess who the killer of Reverend Jimmy was until quite late in the book after sufficient breadcrumbs had been scattered for the reader. I liked that there were numerous storylines that complemented the initial premise of the book, and ultimately turned out to be far further reaching than the initial crime of violence.

I think the author did a great job, providing sufficient suspense and interest to keep me wanting to read, and creating likeable characters that I was able to invest in. I would recommend this book to anyone that wants a gripping detective story, filled with twists and turns.

This review is based on a digital ARC provided by Netgalley and the publisher.