Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Price of Life by Greg McCarthy

Title: The Price of Life
Author: Greg McCarthy
ISBN: 978-0982649442
Pages: 266
Release Date: September 2010
Publisher: Otherworld Publications
Genre: Legal Thriller
Rating: 4.0 out of 5

Summary: Eight-year-old Jennifer Haller’s brain tumor is killing her. A timely CT scan would likely have saved her, and a new surgery offers hope for a cure, but Julie Haller is crushed when their insurance company refuses to pay for her daughter’s operation.

Shortly after Jennifer’s diagnosis, Marine Captain Ed Haller loses his leg to a roadside bomb in Iraq. He comes home to rehabilitate while Jennifer wages her own losing battle with cancer and its treatment. Jennifer’s death leads the family to Fort Worth lawyer Grant Mercer, whom they hire to sue Jennifer’s neurologist.

As Mercer works the case, Julie Haller learns the results of recent tort reform efforts, including a $250,000 limit in medical malpractice cases. She and her husband realize that a quarter-million dollar price tag on a beloved eight-year-old girl is simply inconceivable. They have no interest in the money, focusing instead on their responsibility to honor their daughter by seeking justice for her death.

The murders of a lobbyist in Austin, a state senator on a remote country road, and an insurance executive in New York seem unrelated until Jennifer’s doctor is kidnapped. Mercer makes the disturbing connection between the victims and his case, and discovers how far some people will go when the usual avenues of justice are too sharply curtailed.

My review: The Price of Life is a gripping and intense murder mystery that tugs at your heart-strings. A family has suffered an unspeakable tragedy and is hoping for justice. But the Texas legislature and a greedy insurance company stand in their way. As the story progresses you might wonder whose side you're on while you read late into the night unable to put down this thrilling mystery!

Greg McCarthy's debut novel is also an eye-opening look at the tort reform laws passed by the Texas State Legislature. For the most part, these laws have eliminated medical malpractice cases by capping the amount of non-economic damages a jury can award. Plaintiffs can no longer receive more than $250,000 in punitive damages no matter how egregious a doctor's behavior or how much the plaintiff has been emotionally, mentally or psychologically harmed by medical malpractice.

While reading a mystery, I enjoy trying to figure out who is doing the killing and following along with the detectives' investigation as they narrow down the suspect list, eventually apprehending the murderer. Here, McCarthy ingeniously and very subtly suggests a suspect. It seems so obvious that this character is guilty except for one reason. But if not him/her, then who? McCarthy does a wonderful job of keeping things well paced, making us turn the pages as we are immersed in entertaining and interesting dialogue, spoken by captivatingly well-defined and real, recognizable characters. The reader will identify with some for their warmth and inquisitiveness or maybe their suffering. And then there are those without which no murder mystery would be complete: the vile and putrid "bad guys." Even when the case seems wrapped up and the end is near, McCarthy surprises us with a bone-chilling twist that's you won't soon forget. It's the kind of ending that makes the book worth reading simply because you don't see it coming. Add it all up and the author has created a successful legal thriller that works on many levels from the suspenseful and gripping murder mystery to the political and social commentary not often found in the mystery genre, and several levels in between. I highly recommend this book for anyone who enjoys an intelligent, thought-provoking and exciting legal thriller.

I received an ARC copy of The Price of Life from Kelley & Hall Book Publicity.


  1. you like this better than I did. I reviewed it a couple of months ago and while I like the idea, thought it was rather amateurishly executed.
    but glad you enjoyed it!

  2. BERMUDAONION: The initial story is heart-breaking but as the book progresses the suspense builds and it becomes a full-fledged whodunnit!

    CAITE: Thank you! I found the legal part of the story most interesting and enjoyed the end. I'm sorry you didn't care much for it, but I've been there!

  3. Hi Amy,

    Thanks for the nice review. Glad you enjoyed the book! I'll keep an eye on the page, and would welcome the chance for a discussion with your readers.


    Greg McCarthy

  4. This one sounds like it has more depth than usually found in the legal-thriller genre...I like the interesting angle re questions about
    the ramifications of tort reform legislation :)

  5. That was quite a review! I think I might have to read this one. Thanks for sharing.

    Hope you and the seven tails are doing well. Have a great weekend Amy!

  6. GREG McCARTHY: Hi! Thank you so much for visiting my blog! I enjoyed your book, it was very interesting & thank you for the opportunity to read and review it. I'm interested in what you are working on now. If you'd like to guest post on my blog or allow me to interview please let me know as I would be honored to have you post here!

  7. THE BOOKGIRL: The mystery part of this book was good, especially towards the end! but I really liked the issue of tort-reform and how it all works and its impact on the courts, doctors, lawyers, politicians and lay people. It's quite thought-provoking.

    PESKY CAT: Hello! Great to see you! This book would be a great "distraction" for you when you need a break from your work.
    I hope you and your beautiful feline are doing very well!