Thursday, November 28, 2019

Bitter Pill, by Richard L. Mabry (author), Bill Nevitt (narrator)

Richard L. Mabry, M.D., November 2019

An unlikely collection of people in Goldman, Texas find themselves facing life-changing choices, and reaching out to each other in unexpected ways.

"Brother" Bob Bannister is your basic fraudulent evangelical preacher, with a fake "healing" at the end of each Saturday night service. Then one Saturday, a woman bribes an usher and takes the place of the planted shill. And she is, apparently, healed, leaving her wheelchair behind as she dances down the aisle and out the door. Was it a real miracle, or an investigative journalist? Bannister finds either possibility about equally disturbing.

Dr. Abby Davis is a family practice doctor in a town with an aging population, and is finding herself doing counseling as much as treating illness. At the same time, when she has to refer a patient to a cancer specialist, she's sending them out of town rather than to the in-town doctor whom she feels is too cold for patients facing a life crisis, and this isn't going over well in the small medical community in this small town.

Ed Farmer is the past at her church, and he's been diagnosed with a brain aneurysm, which may well prove fatal. Surgery is scheduled, but it means his associate pastor, Scott Anderson,will have to take over temporarily.

Scott is a fairly recent seminary graduate, older than most new graduates because he used to be a surgeon. Then his wife died of ovarian cancer, and he felt unable to continue a medical career. But is the ministry the right choice?

In amongst all this, Bannister is getting threatening notes, and then dangerous acts of vandalism start happening.

Ed Farmer asks Abby Davis, a member of his congregation, to be his prayer partner while he faces the upcoming surgery. Bob Bannister goes to talk to Ed Farmer about his new crisis of faith. Scott Anderson talks to Abby about his conflicting feelings about staying in the ministry or going back to medicine.

This is an interesting group of characters. It is an explicitly Christian novel, but for these characters, religion is a natural part of their lives, and, except for Bob Bannister, they haven't been "selling" it. It's character novel, with a bit of a mystery woven in, and I found it enjoyable and satisfying.


I received a free copy of this audiobook from the narrator, and am reviewing it voluntarily.

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