Claire McCall is living the life of a country doctor-busy, harried, and frustrated. As she waits for test results to see if she is positive for the Huntington's disease gene she may have inherited from Wally, her father, her mother has to daily deal with the stress of a Huntington's patient. Wally cannot control a majority of his actions, now including bodily functions. Della has turned into a new person ever since her husband's change.
But Claire doesn't have time to think about this with patients constantly coming in with any number of ailments. A recurring theme of rapes among several female patients bothers her when she hears the rapist wears a surgical mask. She fears for herself and for the women she knows.
John Cerelli is still struggling with his relationship with Claire. He wants to get re-engaged to her, but he wants to wait until she reads her test results. Claire believes he is holding back on her for this very reason and descends deeper into depression and frustration.
Lena Chisholm lives a rough life with her ever-drunk husband. When he's not drunk, he's a saint; when he is drunk, he's a devil. He drinks almost every night. Lena is fed up with it. She confronts him after he attacks her one night, and their relationship takes a strange twist.
Harry Kraus has done an excellent job at making the Claire McCall series extremely realistic and believable. Only someone who is in the medical field daily like he is could pull this off. Many frustrating things happen to the characters, and Harry does a good job of not bombarding the reader with tragedy after tragedy.
The characters remain to be imperfect, as usual. Harry does a good job at keeping this cast of characters realistic. I especially like the way he develops John Cerelli. Normally, an author would make a male lead like him perfect, but Harry does the opposite.
The identity of the rapist wasn't all that surprising to me, but it was appropriate because he had a good explanation behind him.
A few too many tragedies occurred at the end of the book, but this does nothing to detract from the rating. The point is, not everything turns out perfectly in the end like some authors would have it. This is Harry's specialty and the reason we like his books.