Eurasian beauty Mai Faca plots to marry Jake Warden, a successful oral surgeon forbidden to her because of family honor. In an unheard-of scheme, fellow oral surgeon, Bret Manley, falls victim to Mai's seduction as she and Jake play a cruel trick to be together. Jake acts with surgical precision to clear the path to Mai's happiness, threatening lives including his own. In a wake of turmoil and destruction, Bret's uncle and well-known criminal attorney, Hubie Santos, attempts to find out if a surgeon would use his knowledge to kill.
I almost wanted to be in Jake and Mai's corner at the beginning. You know the story: true love (or at least true lust) lovers kept apart by a family's deadly prejudices, and the fact that Jake was trapped in a loveless marriage. But what they do to Bret is nothing short of despicable. Jake is a selfish, petulant SOB and Mai - well, I am all about supporting women - but Mai is my definition of a whore. (I know, strong words from a cozy mystery love like myself, eh?) So strong was my dislike of these two characters, it almost made "To Sleep" difficult to read.
Thank goodness, in swoops Bret's uncle, famed lawyer Hubie Santos (based on an actual attorney of the same name), who, with the help of his go-to PI Bob Dillon, begin to unwind the web of lies and intrigue woven by Jake and Mai. The book's Hubie is the kind of lawyer you'd want in your corner if you were ever railroaded into something criminal.
Shakespeare fan that I am. I enjoyed the quotes at the beginning of each chapter. I wouldn't call them foreshadowing, but they did fit the events that followed. The title of the book gives a nod to Hamlet's "To be or not to be" soliloquy.
If ever a character had cause for revenge, I would say that Bret would have that cause. The karmic backlash due Jake, Mai and Sammy (Bret's cellmate in prison) is tsunami-sized. I would be hard-pressed to not want revenge myself if I were in similar situations. By the time "that Friday" was in full swing, I was actually pacing with the book, wanting to shout at Bret to get his attention so he didn't actually mess things up for real for himself at the last minute.
"To Sleep...Perchance to Die" is a gripping medical thriller that will squeeze a range of emotions out of you while you read. It is a 'cold, hard light of day' look into what people will do when their backs are against the wall, or the depths they will go to, in order to get what they want. An extra little chill goes down my spine when I think that "To Sleep" could have easily been a true-crime book; while a work of fiction, the situations in the book (deceit, betrayal, murder) happen far too often in real life.
INFO AND LINKS
Category: Adult fiction, 232 pagesGenre: medical thriller / murder mystery
Publisher: Turn the Page Publishing
Published: June 2013 Hardcover, June 2014 Softcover
Available in: Print and e-book (mobi for Kindle & ePub)
Content Rating: R
Donald R. Grippo, DDS practiced oral and maxillofacial surgery in northeastern Connecticut for more than thirty years. On a daily basis, he encountered patient's fear of undergoing oral surgery and associated anesthesia. To help allay such fear he wrote "A Guide to the Guy or Gal Who Takes Your Teeth Out", a series of short stories dealing with the treatment of typical oral surgical problems. His resume includes working as a dentist at the Tennessee State Prison outside of Nashville and as a guard at the Hartford State Jail on Syms Street in Hartford.
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