Seattle attorney Camille Delaney rushed to the hospital where her friend Dallas Jackson has to undergo an emergency operation with a fatal outcome. When the former nurse accidentally sees his folder, questions arise. What happened in the operation room? And why was nobody aware of the seemingly critical state her friend was in? As her company only represents hospitals and high profile doctors, thus she cannot pursue her inquiries. Instead this brings her to a point where she has to ask herself if she has given up her ideals for the money and status. As a consequence, she decides to run the risk and leaves the company to start her own firm with her first case. She soon realises that nobody wants to talk about Dr Willcox, responsible surgeon in the operation room, but her gut feeling tells her that something is totally going wrong in this hospital.
There are some similarities between the author and her protagonist. Amanda DuBois herself was a trained nurse before she became a lawyer and medical malpractice has been her area of specialisation. “The Complication” is her first novel which highly relies on her profession knowledge combining medical aspects with law. From a seemingly unfortunate operation, the case develops into a complicated conspiracy which brings the protagonist repeatedly into dangerous situations since she has to deal with reckless people who do not care about a single life.
What I liked about the novel was how the medical details were incorporated and explained along the way so that the reader with limited medical knowledge could smoothly follow the action. The characters are authentically drawn, especially Camille’s discussion with her mother about her ideals and principles raising the question what use she makes of her legal capacities while working for a law firm that puts more interest in the billing hours than helping to serve the law was interesting to follow.
Even though I would estimate that the case is realistically depicted with Camille again and again coming to dead ends and only advancing slowly, I would have preferred a higher pace since as a reader, you have a lead and soon know what scheme is behind it all.
When Marissa and Matthew Bishop contact Avery Chambers for counselling, she senses immediately that they are hiding something but believes that the couple is perfect for her ten-step-therapy programme. First, it all goes according to plan. Marissa confesses her affair with somebody from her gym and Matthew reacts as one would suppose. But then, the picture blurs and Marissa’s employee Polly appears on the scene, as well as Matthew’s ex, and the couple is more and more under stress. Avery gets stressed, too, since she has her own battles to fight while caring for her clients. When Avery’s private life suddenly mixes with the Bishop’s, it becomes obvious that there are a lot more secrets than you would ever have expected.
I have already enjoyed “The Wife between Us” and “You Are Not Alone” by the writing duo Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen and quite naturally was curious to see what their latest mystery “The Golden Couple” would come up with. I was not disappointed, a complex story which only slowly unfolds it whole potential and develops into a web of lies and secrets not easy to untangle.
The protagonist Avery is an interesting character. Admittedly, I’d say her professional approach might be questionable, but she is really concerned about the people she works with and puts a lot of effort in the counselling. Why she herself is always close to freaking out and on high alert only becomes obvious after some time, adding another aspect to her personality.
The couple at first seems to be rather average but then develops into a fascinating pair which oscillates between fighting together and fighting each other. The other characters at some point become highly suspect in the way they act, what they obviously hide and the links they have which are not apparent at first.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading the novel and I am eager to any further read of the duo.
Emma Webster is a backbencher but she gains publicity after a Guardian interview with striking photos and especially when she makes the case of a girl who committed suicide after being cyberbullied with a private video of her ex-partner her prime topic. But then, things go quickly down the hill, she is harassed and threatened increasingly by frustrated men, her daughter Flora becomes the victim of bullying at school and online and makes a huge mistake. Emma, too, loses her temper and thus becomes the prime suspect in a murder case. How could this all go so wrong when she just wanted to protect her own and her daughter’s reputation?
I totally adored Sarah Vaughan’s novels “Notes on a Scandal” and “Little Disasters”. Her latest, “Reputation”, too, did definitely not disappoint. The author greatly used an important topic to fire up the plot and brilliantly outlines how, still in 2022, there is much more men can do than women and how fragile their public picture is. With Emma, she created an authentic protagonist whose point of view shows the contradictory feelings and constraints a woman in a public position is under.
On the one hand, the novel is a murder mystery in which you are repeatedly surprised as little bits and pieces surface unexpectedly making things appear in a different light. On the other hand, the novel lives on the personal perspective of Emma and her daughter being subject to bullying and harassment. Sarah Vaughn greatly develops the characters who come under ever more pressure until it gets too much and they do things they themselves would have considered unimaginable. The female characters are brilliantly developed since they have mixed feelings which make it all but easy to decide what to do and thus underline that life is far from being just black and white.
A great read with an important topic that outlines how cruel people can be and how important it is to have good friends you can rely on.