Strange Medicine (Dr. Maxwell Thornton Murder Mysteries #1)

Title: Strange Medicine (Dr. Maxwell Thornton Murder Mysteries #1)
Author: S.C. Wynne
Publisher: Self published
Release Date: April 1, 2018
Genre(s): Contemporary, Mystery
Page Count: 276
Reviewed by: Maya
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5


Maxwell Thornton isn’t really a people person, but that never mattered to him because he’d lived for his career. After losing a patient during a routine hysterectomy, he’s shaken and afraid to pick up the scalpel again. He resigns his position in the city and takes a job as sole GP in the isolated town of Rainy Dale, Texas, population 1001.

Rainy Dale is populated with eccentrics who test his patience and seem to think he’s not only there to treat their illnesses, but that he’s also there to hold their hand and be their therapist. When one of his most annoying patients ends up dead and floating in Maxwell’s pool, he has some explaining to do to the local sheriff.

Sheriff Royce Callum is intelligent, determined and more attracted to the new doctor than he would like. He can’t imagine Maxwell is a murderer, but he also can’t exactly ignore a corpse in the sexy doctor’s pool.

Let’s start:

The only reason I stood in this smelly hellhole of a town was because I was running, fleeing something too horrible to contemplate: I was a murderer.

Wait, what? Most murder mysteries don’t out the culprit right at the beginning, but it is a heck of a way to pique my interest. (Spoiler: it’s not the way it sounds.)

I liked Maxwell from the get go: I think people need to be polite mostly to people who are polite in return, so I liked that Maxwell stood his ground in front of town’s unrelenting curiosity. The story has an easy, friendly tone and I enjoyed reading it.

And then:

All I saw at first was a black Stetson and broad shoulders. But as the man entered the room farther, I noticed he was tall and lean with a square jaw and sharp gaze. A gold badge glimmered on his dark blue shirt, and blond hair poked out beneath his hat.

Sign me up! I want one of those too!

Dry humor and sparks of attraction mark interactions between two men. I wasn’t going to stop reading if someone paid me to do it.
The story is told in first person POV switching between Maxwell and Royce. There is a noticeable difference between two voices, and the story has excellent flow.

The plot seems shy to appear, waffling back and forth with strange clues paving their way to interesting mystery. There is no hurry: murder, when it happens, brings a neat little twist to the relationship between two men. It both brings them closer and forces them apart. They both struggle to reconcile what has happened and figure out way forward. Romance and mystery plot are well balanced and fed off on one another, developing naturally. It’s not a complicated mystery, but I wasn’t expecting the villain.

The book finished with a lead in for another story: looking forward to it.

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Advanced Review Copy

Galley copy of Strange Medicine provided by Author in exchange of an honest review.