Author: Lucy Kerr
Series: A Stillwater General Mystery (Book 1)
Publication: Crooked Lane Books (December 13, 2016)
Description: It’s been twelve years since ER nurse Frankie Stapleton fled the quiet banks of Stillwater, but with her sister’s pregnancy taking a dangerous turn and a string of failed relationships in Chicago hanging over her, Frankie is back–and hoping to put the past behind her. Within minutes of arriving at Stillwater General Hospital however, she ends up saving a man’s life, only to have him turn up dead hours later – and the hospital blames Frankie.
Her instincts say Clem Jensen didn’t die of natural causes, but the more she digs, the more she discovers too many suspects, a few surprising allies, and some hard truths about the first man she ever loved–and left. Now the boy she once knew is a skeptical sheriff’s deputy, her family's hardware store is in jeopardy, and the rift between Frankie and her loved ones is deeper than ever.
With her career–and future–on life support, Frankie must catch a killer, clear her name, and heal the wounds of the past in Lucy Kerr’s enthralling mystery debut, Time of Death.
My Thoughts: Frankie Stapleton has come back to her hometown after twelve years as an ER nurse in Chicago. She wouldn't be back at all except that her sister Charlie needs her because of her high risk pregnancy. When Frankie first arrives at the hospital to see her sister, she spots a man sitting on a bench outside the ER in some distress. The ER is already preoccupied with a school bus crash which leaves Frankie to treat the man until she can attract someone's attention in the ER.
Once she gets help for Clem Jensen, she goes on to see her sister but is surprised to learn that Clem died during the night. Frankie is sure that it wasn't natural causes despite what the hospital wants her to believe. In fact, the hospital is facing a lawsuit from Clem's estranged son-in-law and is determined to pass the blame onto Frankie. She's in danger of losing her nursing license.
Frankie begins to investigate, first to save her license, but also because Clem shouldn't have died. Her investigation leads her to all sorts of things the hospital would rather have covered up. The administrator doesn't want any sort of scandal to interfere with his attempt to sell the hospital. They are running a clinical trial of a new drug and neither the doctor spearheading the trial nor the drug companies rep want Frankie looking too closely at what they are doing.
Then there is the estranged son-in-law who hated Clem because he saw him as the person who destroyed his marriage. Frankie gets to know Clem's daughter Laura and his grandson CJ who is on an expensive medicine to deal with his epilepsy.
Also investigating is Sheriff's Deputy Noah MacLean who was the boy she left behind when she fled to the bright lights of Chicago. She has never dealt with that relationship breakup and neither has Noah. They have a lot to do to rebuild the trust that was shattered.
This was a fast-paced, engaging mystery with a sympathetic main character who has to decide what she wants out of life and who has to confront some of the choices she made.
"Maybe we could start fresh? For as long as you're here, anyway."I got this one in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.
"I'd like that." I wondered if it was really possible to start over after so much time. I wondered if I wanted to turn my back on all that history, if it meant erasing all the good memories along with the bad. I wondered if there was a difference between a fresh start and a second chance and if I'd be around long enough to discover the difference.