By Elaine Viets
I've been celebrating for a week. Brain Storm, the first novel in my new Angela Richman, Death Investigator series, is finally out. It took eight years and ten rewrites to produce this book – and that's before it was bought. I had to revise it three more times.
What took so long?
Brain Storm is a very personal story. Angela Marie Richman, my death investigator, had the same medical crisis that I did – six strokes, brain surgery and a coma, plus months of rehab. Like me, Angela was misdiagnosed by an ER neurologist, who said she was "too young and healthy to have a stroke" and sent home, where she had the medical catastrophe that nearly killed her.
In Brain Storm, Dr. Porter Gravois, the man who misdiagnosed her, is the bitter enemy of the talented, gauche Dr. Jeb Travis Tritt, who saved Angela's life. Tritt is arrested for Gravois's murder while Angela is still in the hospital. Bald, crippled, and hallucinating after her surgery, Angela has to use to her death investigator skills to save the man who saved her life.
Here's the first chapter of Brain Storm:
The doctor who nearly killed Angela Richman was buried today, and the Missouri medical establishment turned out to honor him. The eulogies were heartfelt: doctors, nurses, and patients praised Dr. Porter Gravois’s compassion and skill as a neurologist. Their tears were genuine. His funeral cortege was nearly a mile long on the road named after his powerful St. Louis family. Everyone called him by his nickname, Chip, as if they were all part of his inner circle. Chip made them feel that way.
Angela didn’t attend his funeral. She was still in the hospital, recovering from the damage he'd done to her. She’d been in there three months. Angela was glad Porter was dead, and so were the people who knew the real Dr. Gravois. They didn’t call him Chip.
As she lay on the scratchy hospital sheets, she wondered how Dr. Gravois looked in his coffin. He had a long, pale face and a knife-blade nose, like a stone figure on a British tomb. Had the mortician managed to duplicate the fatherly smile that fooled so many? That smile didn’t quite reach Gravois’s hard, blue eyes, but those were closed forever.
Which suit was he buried in? Chip wore Savile Row suits from Kilgour in London. Chip pronounced it Kilgar and said only parvenus called the tailor Kilgore. His bespoke suits were lovely silk and light wool. It was a shame to put one in the ground. But Angela had no qualms about shoveling Gravois six feet under.
What about Dr. Gravois’s bitter enemy, Dr. Jeb Travis Tritt?
He and his awful, off-the-rack suits were barred from the funeral. No matter how much he paid for his suits, he still looked more like a small-town insurance agent than a neurosurgeon.
His unwed mother had named him after her favorite country music star. Dr. Tritt was a country boy, from his badly cut hair to his thick-soled brown shoes.
Is he wearing a jail jumpsuit now? Angela wondered. Everyone heard Tritt threaten Gravois.
He’d called him a crook and a killer and said the best thing Porter Gravois could do for his patients was die.
The next day Dr. Gravois was murdered.
Femme Fatale and New York Times bestselling author Charlaine Harris calls Brain Storm a "complex novel of crime, punishment, and medical malfeasance." Win a free copy of Brain Storm at Kings River Life.