Monday, June 3, 2013

Eileen Dreyer -- A Man To Die For

Eileen Dreyer -- A Man To Die For

Rated: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ . ♥   {4.35}
Action: ♠♠♠.♠ / Emotion: ♣♣♣.♣ / Romance: ♥♥ / Sensuous: -- / Suspense: ♠♠♠♠
Action: 3.5 / Emotion: 3.5 / Romance: 2.0 / Sensuous: 0.0 / Suspense: 4.0  //  Laughter: 7½ / Tears: 0

  1991 RITA : Single Title Contemporary
  1990-91 RT Reviewers' Choice : Contemporary Suspense
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Setting:     St. Louis, Missouri (and it's environs)
Era:           Present Day [1991]
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Being in the mood for a 'Romantic Suspense' novel, and having never ventured into her literary world before, decided to read the first book published under the name Eileen Dreyer.   (Dreyer also has books published under the pseudonym Kathleen Korbel.)   On the spine of A Man To Die For, the publisher identified this book as a 'Romantic Thriller' and boy is that a great description of this book.   While the 'romance' factor was very understated, yet, nevertheless, powerful in it's simplicity, the 'thrill' factor was off the charts.   This book really displayed Dreyer's skill as a gifted storyteller.   Even though there were a few times that the story seemed to drag, Dreyer grabbed the readers immediate attention upon opening the first page and made it was impossible not to continue reading this enticing, entertaining, spine-tingling book until reaching the very last page.

The prologue was an excellent introduction.   Dreyer had the reader immediately identifying with Catherine "Casey" McDonough as she dragged her eccentric mother to police headquarters to finally give voice to her fears about murder.   One cannot help but be drawn into the life of Casey because Dreyer was vague enough about what was going on to inspire a feeling of deep fascination.   The need to keep reading to find out what was going on was mandatory.   Dreyer's style of writing made the reader feel as if she were walking in the heroine's shoes.   Dreyer wove {1} the realistic description of the police station along with {2} Casey's fears of not being taken seriously because she was relying on her instincts and {3} began revealing Helen McDonough's oddness.   What a powerful hook to draw the reader's deep interest!

Before delving further into this wonderfully-written story about murder and the 'pugnacious' (Dreyer's vocabulary skills at work) determined, stubborn, 'boy does that woman have a smart mouth on her or what' nurse who recognized evil when it was staring her in the face, a few things about this book should be pointed out.   First, younger readers may not be able to follow many of the similes found in this book because they are twenty-two years old.   And while they were fitting back in July 1991 (publication date), they will have some readers turning to google to understand the people Dreyer referred to and some of the 1990s jargon.   In addition to that, Dreyer's ability to include, with great proficiency and skill, the medical terms and lingo used by a trauma nurse, could occasionally be daunting.   In spite of this, A Man To Die For is still an exciting and worthwhile read.

Dreyer's style of writing was unique in that she would quite often take a step back from Casey's (or Jack's) point of view voice and rhapsodize about actions and events that were happening in the background to bring the reader up speed into what was going on in Casey's (or Jack's) world.   She would also use these descriptive narratives to vividly describe the city of St. Louis and it's environs.   These little descriptive sojourns into events and places enriched the plot and established a smoothly-flowing story line that kept the reader entranced.

An excellent example of Dreyer's venture into the world of explanatory prose can be found in the opening of Chapter One in which she describes the arrival of Dr. Dale Hunsacker to Mother Mary Hospital.

His arrival was foretold like the second coming of Christ.   . . .   until the reputation of Dr. Dale Hunsacker threatened mythological proportions.   (page 6)

By the time Casey met him, she knew she was either going to end up hating him or having his children.   (page 7)

Dreyer drops the reader deep into the world of Casey as she valiantly, competently, and with great humor deals with the eccentrics that inhabit the halls of the emergency room of Mary Mother Hospital -- both patients and staff.   Dreyer began building the layers of Casey's personality as she described the events happening on the 3:00 to 11:00 p.m. shift.   First Casey displays her 'no holes barred' strength and humor as she deals with 'St. Paul', a regular ER patient who "came in every other month when he forgot to take his Prolixin and tried to sacrifice a redheaded virgin to ensure the safety of his virility" (page 8).   Casey's compassionate nature is featured as she administers pain medication to Mr. Willington.   Casey's trials and tribulations in dealing with unhappy co-workers who don't like her is present as Barb, the triage nurse, tells Casey to deal with Mrs. Vivian VanCleve, the society queen whining because she's been waiting 45 minutes for Dr. Hunsacker to arrive.

Dreyer adds one more layer to Casey's personality and increases the degree of suspense as she sends the trauma nurses into emergency mode when it is announced that one of their own, the unpopular head nurse of recovery, Mary Wilhelmina "Billie" Evans, was being transported in full arrest after a being hit by a car.   Casey looks at Billie on the exam table and sees her future.

Too late now, she wanted to talk to her, to ask how she'd come to be like she was.   She wanted to ward that wasted, bitter ghost away from her, because that lonely unmourned body looked too suddenly like her own, and she wasn't sure she could bear it.   (Casey, page 22)

And into the hubbub of this full-mooned shift, in walks the golden boy himself.   Dreyer begins painting a picture of Dr. Hunsacker and why he was considered the best thing to happen to Mother Mary Hospital since its inception as he casually chatted with Casey, flashed her an unforgettable smile, invaded her personal space and made 'black humor' comments that Casey didn't know how to respond to when Billie Evans was wheeled in.   And that is when it struck your subconscious that Dr. Hunsacker is the killer and that Billie is his first victim.

After Billie died, Dr. Hunsacker insisted that Casey assist him with Mrs. VanCleve by performing an unnecessary pelvic exam for her bladder infection.   Casey's intuition flared to life as she watched Dr. Hunsacker intentionally hurt Mrs. VanCleve during his exam and the die was cast.   Casey could not explain it to her co-workers who were blinded by Dr. Hunsacker's charm and smile, but she did not buy the façade that Hunsacker presented.

Dreyer is great when it comes to fleshing out her secondary characters simply by the way she dresses them.   For instance, Casey is friends with a fellow trauma nurse, Janice Feldman, who is "tall, elegant, and irritatingly spotless at eight o'clock at night."   However, you have to read between the lines to get a picture of what Janice is really like as she infrequently shows up on the pages of the book whenever she works alongside Casey in the ER.   It was a bit frustrating at times when Dreyer did not spend more time developing the personalities of secondary characters like Janice, but by the time the book ended, it was easy to understand why she took this route.

It was difficult to develop an understanding of the important, and 'not quite fully developed' secondary character Pauline "Poppi" Henderson.   Poppi had been Casey's best friend since fifth grade and even though she looked like a typical middle-class soccer mom, she was a bit of a space cadet who had fried her brains on drugs during her youth (and continued to do so).   But Poppi played a role as Casey's sounding board and she knew all of Casey's deep dark secrets.   Secrets that were instrumental in creating the now emotionally closed off attitude embraced by Casey.   Dreyer inspired a deep and ever-present interest in the story as the reader continued to turn page after page to uncover those secrets.   And even though sometimes Poppi's remarks seemed drug-induced, if you paid attention, there was a wealth of insight in them.

Another example of Dreyer's dynamic writing style that is so expressive that it inspires an unfathomable interest in the story is evident when she describes Casey's back yard on her day off.   Casey sits by the pool with two friends, Poppi, and Evelyn Peters, an honest, reliable nurse that Casey worked with at St. Isidore's.

. . . since the pool was a four-foot wader, the drinks tea, and the music rock and roll from a jam box with only one working speaker, it took a little imagination to come up with the good life.   But then, if Casey hadn't had a vivid imagination, she wouldn't have been such a sharp trauma nurse.   (Casey, page 29)

Dreyer is very impressive with the way she has written Evelyn, a postpartum nurse at St. Izzy's, into the picture to continue to feed Casey's discomfort about Dr. Hunsacker.   Dryer spends a great deal of time giving readers an excellent point of view with it comes to the vulnerability that women suffer at the hands of their gynecologists.   Casey's insight into male Obstetricians -- they either loved or hated women, there was no in between -- was very enlightening.   But it was Evelyn's gossip about Dr. Hunsacker's 'fifty-dollar special' pelvic exam that caught Casey's attention and increased the suspenseful aspect of the story.

It seemed to take a long time to get there, but finally Dreyer replayed the prologue in greater detail in Chapter Six.   Casey meets the hero, Sergeant Jack Scanlon, known as 'The Bishop' to the St. Louis City Homicide Department detectives because after he left the marines, Jack joined the Jesuits.   (Casey was fascinated by Jack's three contrasting career choices.)   It was easy to feel compassion for this very un-hero-like man who was so driven that he almost never seemed to sleep and drank Maalox to soothe his ulcers.   (No dark, handsome, hunky hero here.)   Casey, however, felt nothing but frustration because Jack didn't seem to take her suspicions that a prominent doctor, featured in the society column with the mayor, was a murderer.   As Casey left Jack's office, she decided she would have to investigate Dr. Hunsacker on her own, not realizing that Jack could no more dismiss Casey's lead into his case than she could.

Jack and Casey begin their own investigations into the deaths of {1} Wanda Trigel, a tech who worked in St. Izzy's labor and delivery ward and had a loud discussion with Dr. Hunsacker, calling him incompetent, {2} Evelyn, who couldn't make it to the bar after work to drink with Casey and Marva because Dr. Hunsacker was ignoring her calls about a patient's critical care, and {3} Crystal Jean Johnson, a South Side Hooker, known for servicing Dr. Hunsacker.   Eventually, Jack and Casey begin to work togther and Dreyer displays phenomenal skills as she promotes the interactions between these two deeply wounded individuals over such a serious matter by threading humor into the situation as well.   Again, it all comes back to those pelvic exams.

Casey snorted.   "What, you're going to give me the church line about not having to be married to counsel couples?   Strip, put your feet in stirrups, and make light conversation while somebody's sitting between your legs, and then we'll have something to talk about."   (Casey, page 210)

Casey begins her investigation by dragging Poppi with her to the Ramblin' Rose bar, Wanda's favorite hang out and the last place she was seen alive.   Again, Dreyer shows her impressive skills as she describes the bar, the people inside, and the interaction between Casey and the bartender, Clyde.   Dreyer makes you feel like you are there with Casey and Poppi as she creates original character descriptions to increase the realism.   Look at how she paints a vivid picture of a one-appearance secondary character, thrown into the story just to increase the tension as this guy tries to put the moves on Casey.

She was being addressed by a skinny man with a pool cue in his hand.   She could only hope from the amount of grease he sported that he was on a lunch break from a local garage.   . . .   He grinned with teeth the color of moss.   (Casey, page 152)

One of the most impressive aspects of this book is the amount of detail that Dreyer puts into the story to make it come to life.   As Jack and Casey spend more time talking to each other and continuing their investigation, they must go to work every day and deal with the backlash of pursuing a much beloved member of high society.   While Jack is worrying about keeping his job because his boss passes down the word that the mayor does not like Jack's investigation into his campaign funds contributor, Casey must go to work every day and face severe animosity because she turned traitor -- she accused one of their own.

Dreyer very impressively and beautifully wove so many different threads of the story together in a tight weave.   {One} A cross-dressing heart attack victim is brought into the ER.   Dreyer uses this so {1} Casey can reveal to Janice during one of their girl talks about divorce, that her ex-husband, psychiatrist Ed Baker, was a cross-dresser, and {2} Dr. Hunsacker used it to taunt Casey with his knowledge about Ed's secret.   {Two} Another theme that ran through the book was the results of childhood abuse: {1} Wanda was {a} a "walking encyclopedia of childhood abuses" and {b} a member of the Millard family, who ran the Upper Corner of Lower Arnold with brawn.   {2} Dreyer wove this same thread into the fabric of Casey's life as {a} it finally became obvious that Casey had suffered abuse at the hands of a man once upon a time, and {b} it seems (if put the pieces of the puzzle together correctly) that abuser was Frank Millard.   This particular thread unraveled a bit because of the confusion created by the thought: if the Millard's ran UCLA, why did Frank move to California?   [Spoilers] {3} Helen became a basket case because of husband's abuse.   {4} The last time Casey heard from her brother, Benjamin McDonough, was nine years ago because he was running from scars caused by abuse.   {5} And, finally, Dale Hunsacker became a serial killer because of childhood abuse.

There were many secondary characters in this book, but three stood out as being specifically memorable.   The first being Casey's mother, Helen McDonough.   It must have been difficult for Dreyer to write this character.   Helen had turned her home into a shrine to God (in the Catholic tradition) in restitution for choosing to marry Mick McDonough rather than become a nun.   And even though Helen had moments of lucidity, she was, basically, looney-tunes and a trial to Casey.

Marva Washington was another unforgettable secondary character.   Marva worked with Casey in the ER and hid her keen intelligence behind a deceptively lazy mask of servitude.   While Casey struggled to prove her case against Dr. Hunsacker and dealt with hatred from her co-workers, Marva constantly propped her up behind the scenes.   Marva knew how to play the game of projecting one attitude to her bosses so she could keep her job, but revealed she had a mind of her own as she supported and counseled Casey during her difficult times.

Tom Nevers, the hospital administrator, was constantly calling Casey to task for not being a team player.   Dreyer must be an enthusiastic baseball fan, because she quite successfully wrote scene after scene between Tom and Casey using many baseball euphemisms and throwing out the names of many popular baseball stars to get the point across.   You could just feel Casey's frustration as she had to constantly justify her actions to Tom time after time and bow to his demands to keep her job -- even though she knew she was right.

Dreyer was very proficient at introducing many different minor secondary characters that inspired interest in spite of the minimal descriptions and the amount of time they spent on the pages of the book.   A few that stood out included: {1} Sergeant Bert DeClue, a member of the county police force, Casey's friend, and a regular visitor to the ER unit; {2} Abe Belstein, a short, squat, homely ER doctor known for his genital endowment; {3} Ed Baker, Casey's ex-husband, a rich psychiatrist who specialized in eating disorders and addictive personalities; {4} Sergeant Barbara Dawkins / Dawson (both spellings used), Jack's office mate and partner; and {5} Betty Fernandez, a labor and delivery nurse at St. Izzy's who worked with Wanda and Evelyn.

You will not find a lot of romance in this book.   However, Dreyer did an outstanding job of slowly breaking down the barriers that both Jack and Casey had wrapped around their hearts and emotions to let them find solace in one another.   At first, it didn't seem that Jack nor Casey would ever act on the attraction that began to develop between them as they learned more about each other as they pursued their murder investigation.   And even though there were only three kisses during the entire telling of this story, the romance aspect of the book worked because it was more about breaking through barriers than it was about sex and sensuality.   As a result, there were no love scenes in this book.

Dreyer very skillfully and impressively detailed the fear that Casey felt whenever she had to face Dr. Hunsacker in the ER unit.   When Dr. Hunsacker realized that Casey could see the evil in him that nobody else was able to see, he began taunting her and spreading rumors that made her life and investigation even more difficult.   It was through these interactions between Dr. Hunsacker that we finally realized the reason Casey was so determined to bring him to justice -- he reminded her of the man who made her beg and crawl.   Since Casey was determined to never again resemble that woman, that she was made of sterner stuff now, she stood on her 'I'm right and I'll prove it even if it kills me' pedestal and continued her investigation despite incredible odds.

Since this is not exactly a romance novel and it is more Casey's story than Jack's, it almost makes sense that Dreyer did not spend as much time developing Jack's personality as she did Casey's.   Although it was easy to admire Jack and his dedication to solving murders, the missing background information on what made Jack the man he was today made it difficult to understand what was driving him.   The background information on Jack as the oldest son of Irish cop, who joined the Marines did nothing to explain why he became a Jesuit priest and then what caused him to leave the Jesuit's to become a homicide detective.

. . . fascinated anew by the concept of a policeman who had been both a priest and a soldier.   What an incredible dichotomy of ideologies to carry into the station with him.   What a burden to carry through life, if that sadness in Scanlon's eyes had meant anything.
She wondered what scars the marines had left him with, what guilt the church had left him with.   (Casey, page 255)

To be quite honest, it would have been nice if Dreyer had spent more time developing the background information on Jack.   It was so easy to see Jack as a hero because he was portrayed as a man more concerned about doing his job than playing political games.   His dedication to his job, at the risk of his health, made you want to reach out and offer him some much needed comfort.   His aloneness and aloofness was heartbreaking.

For some reason, did not understand why Dreyer was unable to move me to tears as I read this story.   It was so easy to become emotionally invested in Casey's story as she struggled to stand alone in a world of destitution.

She knew what a person could expect in this world, and what she couldn't.   And she knew that the only way to survive was to just keep putting one foot in front of the other and focus on the next step and the one after that.   (Casey, page 199)

But, apparently Dreyer did such a good job of putting a shell around Casey's heart as she told her story, it was difficult to empathize with this self-sufficient woman when she felt fear, rejection, acceptance, acknowledgment and finally succumbed to tears.   Even though it was difficult to identify with Casey, it was just as easy to admire her strength and perseverance (although stubbornness may be a more appropriate term in this instance).

Dreyer finished the book with a very exciting, suspenseful, action-packed finale that ended the book on a realistic turn.   Although it would have been nice to have Casey's (and the reader's) questions answered, it was definitely appropriate to leave them unanswered, as is usually the case in the real world.

In summary, A Man To Die For is an extremely interesting, well-developed, very thrilling read about a woman who has closed off her heart.   It was beautiful to watch two lost souls find a degree of peace with one other as they struggled to right a horrible wrong -- no matter the consequences.   Even though the romance factor was minimal as compared to the suspenseful nature of the story, would readily recommend this book to any reader who enjoys the Romantic Suspense genre.
--Vonda M. Reid (Sunday, June 2, 2013 : 9:10 p.m.)     [315]

This Book Is Not Part of A Series

Characters Found In "A Man To Die For"
Character Description
Sergeant Jack Scanlon[Hero] The Bishop (5) officer Casey referred to (5) seemed like a hermit; not handsome; lean and hungry looking; kind of controlled ferocity to his movements; network of crows feet that betrayed his age; face of angles and shadows; lot of forehead; deep-set eyes; face all bone structure and character; pasty-looking skin; heavy brown hair; undetective-like attire: dark plaid shirt, knit tie, pleated pants (127) deceptively passive eyes, almost hooded in their lassitude; quick, surgical sharp mind behind those eyes; Marine Corps paperweight; infinitesimal elevation of left eyebrow (129) steely gray eyes (130) hid thoughts well (132) snub nosed gun rested on hip in discrete holster (135) ulcer (136) refused to close three unpopular cases; gave up cigarettes after divorce (140) vintage '67 Mustang convertible, polished, cared for (159) formerly Jesuit (163) "He worried a case until he was satisfied with it, and that wasn't the way to play the game." (214) deceptive laziness in eyes; 'picture of passive acceptance' (226) oldest son of Irish cop; raised in Dogtown (233) description of his neighborhood; inherited father's black Irish looks; mother's Italian determination (234) St. Louis City Homicide (235) smoke-gray eyes (254) marine (255) long, spatulate fingers with oversize knuckles; homely, practical hands; logical marine; passionate Jesuit (259) ability to see right through a person's elaborate defenses (292) played piano (398) smelled of clean soap and shaving cream (425)
Catherine "Casey" McDonough[Heroine] born in St. Louis (1) emergency room (2) freckled nose; red hair (8) cool blue eyes; cute little redhead (15) vivid imagination; trauma nurse (29) too tired; too strung out from trying to keep up; too experienced to expect relief; 32-y-o (31) worked at St. Isidore's right out of training; worked at Mother Mary for last 4 years (33) aggressive; decisive (34) moved back in with her mother 3-y-a (34) 5'2" (38) Catherine; a touching person (42) intimidated by physical beauty (48) gawky shy girl inside had never died; lacked natural ease when dealing with her body or anybody else's (49) nurse for 12 years (52) married 4 years (55) talent finding veins (58) typical St. Louisan; lived in Creve Coeur and Frontenac (76) never known for discretion (87) could not give up control to anyone (115) not good at organizational patterns used in nursing (142) wiry; tough determination (162) labeled a trouble maker (184) perseverance (210) pugnacious pragmatism (287) constructed a shell, a tough-kid façade over the little girl who still peeked out on occasion (292) atrocious cooking (388) 3:00 - 11:00 shift (431)
. . . . . .
Millicent Adamsnewspaper society columnist; featured Hunsacker (117)
Murray Abramsthe "lawyer who counted" in the upper social circles of St. Louis (234)
Dr. Ahmednickname: "Never Say Die"; surgical resident with record for longest unsuccessful code in Mother Mary history; portly; swarthy; usually ill-mannered; not liked; called 'Rip Van Trachea' for unique intubation technique (59) typically chauvinist of third world persuasion (64)
Dr. Fernando Alvarezplastic surgeon to the stars (85) on wife number 5 (125)
Aprilpatient Marva discussing with Casey (92)
Ed BakerCasey's ex-husband; psychiatrist (35) world's most professional patter and hugger (44) still practiced in St. Louis (55) cross dresser (56) had office in one of classier medical buildings on Ballas Road; built nice practice; specialized in eating disorders and addictive personalities (192) rich, attractive, grateful clients; passive person; pale; thin; bespectacled; the kind of kid you liked to hit in school; the kind of man who only inspired confidence as a confidant; smooth, cultured to his clientele; whinny to Casey; professional voice (193) played golf with Hunsacker (194) compulsive scheduler; 7-figure income (195)
Mrs. BaldwinDr. Hunsacker's patient at St. Izzy's; Hunsacker blamed Evelyn for the near disaster (105)
Barbara "Barb"ER triage nurse (9) didn't like Casey (11) implacable; slim hips; small, feral supremely unhappy woman; 3 years out of training; already soured (21) nickname: "Barracuda" (53)
Millie Barkinnurse in Four West of Mother Mary; "Butcher Barkin" (117)
Dr. Abe Belstein(8) ER doctor; short; squat; had a face like rising bread dough; red hair ringed his mostly bald head; temper of 6-y-o; good doctor; carried his load; respected the nurses (38) short height and homely looks offset by awesome genital endowment (39) 'Dick of Death' (45)
Billyrude biker in ER (143)
Brackman[St. Louis City Police detective] (139)
BrandoBody Shop bartender (93)
Dr. BurtonHelen's gynecologist; melodious baritone; adored women; white haired (124) volunteers at city clinic (126)
Nick Capellihomicide detective; shared office with Jack and Dawson; compact; Mediterranean (249) perfect flashing teeth; tailored black suit (250)
Chrisparamedic who brought in gunshot victim (60)
Cleonacase Jack working on; husband killed her crack-induced rage (161)
Clydeowner of Ramblin' Rose; pasty, underweight chronic lunger; enamored of Wanda (148)
Davis[St. Louis City Police detective] (139)
Barbara Dawkins / Barb DawsonDawkins: Sergeant; The Bishop sitting at her desk (127) Dawson: in interview with Jack and Reeva (198) shared office with Jack (215) neatly wrapped brunette detective; Sergeant; St. Louis City Homicide (235)
Bert DeClueCasey's friend; on country police force (2) county detective; Mutt-and-Jeff team with Ernie (18) tall black ex-halfback (377) Sergeant (385)
Father DonnellyHelen's priest; pastor of St. Christopher's since Casey was a girl; tall; raw-boned; austere manner; saturnine (122)
Virginia Elliott ER patient (84) little woman; plump hands; Adolpho attire; dark hair spray painted in place; no lines on face via plastic surgery (85)
Erniecounty detective; Mutt-and-Jeff team with Bert (18) short; balding; Jewish (465)
Mary Wilhelmina "Billie "Evansin full arrest; hit by car (13) head nurse of recovery; not popular; ran unit like Bonaparte; alienated everyone within range of her powerful voice and imposing figure (14) hit by car when trying to cross Rott Road (18) hit and run (19) no family to mourn her; hospital had been her life (22) Mary Wilhelmina (391)
Aaron [Feldman]Janice's husband (55) cheating on Janice with a man; nurse; worked at one of the mid-county hospitals; postcard-perfect hunk; devastating blue eyes; 'enough hair on his chest to warrant a virgin fiber tag' (201)
Janice "Jan" FeldmanER nurse; tall; elegant; irritatingly spotless; manicured fingers (8) end of shift cigarette (26) elegant eyebrows (41) "Jan" (54) brunette; wide brown eyes (56) never faltered; always poised (175) married 9 years; having an affair (202)
Betty Fernandezlabor and delivery nurse at St. Izzy's; attended Evelyn's wake; soft gray eyes; tall; thin (111) tall; thin; nervous; more sincerity than brains; one of ex-wives of Dr. Fernandez; divorced 6-y-a (185) long forehead; serious wine drinker (186)
Dr. Peter FernandezObstetrician; known for many marriages (185) Dr. "Wanna Be My Wife?" Fernandez; administrator at St. Isidore; rat on domestic scene; demanded best from his crew; well-respected (189) first wife a waitress who worked him through med school; Betty his second wife (189)
Dr. FilmontER doctor (270)
Detective Jarvis Franklinassigned Wanda's case; white shirt; brown polyester slacks; badge (143) Arnold Police Department (214)
Ms. Sydney FrazerHunsacker's patient (222)
Graycase Jack working on (161)
Phoebe GriffinHunsacker's patient; well-fed; well-pampered; penchant for diamonds; Lucille Ball #4 hair color (334)
Mrs. Heilermanpatient in ER (99) 300 pounds (98)
Pauline "Poppi" HendersonCasey's friend since fifth grade; always something grand and wonderful about the world (29) misspent youth wasted on marijuana and acid; immature; typical looking Baby Boomer; pageboy; blonde; big blue eyes; taste for Laura Ashley; looked like just steeped out of Junior League meeting; Pauline; still heavily into experimentation (30) bright red MG (106) upscale; upper middle class (289)
Dr. Dale Hunsackercharisma; reputation of mythological proportions; handsome; electric; remembered names; told jokes; brought in wealthy clients (6) labor, delivery nurses loved him; not the best OB/GNY; doctor of Obstetrics and Gynecology; late of finer neighborhoods of Boston and New York; unforgettable smile; up-and-coming commodity; staff legacy (7) looks not all that great; tall (14) blond; nicely squared chin; blue eyes; jogger's build; nice-looking until he smiled, then he was unforgettable. "hit you right between the eyes and left you a little dizzy. It made you smile back, no matter what else you wanted to do."; dozy charm; bourbon smell on breath (15) liked close contact to staff; smoky cologne (16) steal beneath velvet (21) obsessive compulsive scrubber; dating 3 St. Izzy nurses regularly (36) invaded physical space by touching (43) control in soft voice (87) unhappy when unable to manipulate people around him (91) "a control freak, a smooth, manipulative, amoral narcissist who couldn't abide not having his way" (114) amoral; manipulative (178) ever-present notebook; compulsive scheduler (195) lived in Frontenac; description of house; black Porsche (234) blond; handsome; suntanned (235) Pan Carribean School of Medicine; family is old Boston Brahmin from Beacon Hill; father a hotshot surgeon; mother deb of year; parents died in fire (349)
JasonPoppi's [husband] [boyfriend] (36)
[Dr.] Jawaralal[doctor in ER]; lilting accent (92)
Crystal Jean Johnsonmurdered (4) hooker with long list of priors; habit for crack; nasty pimp (135) South Side Hooker; compulsive about punctuality; her book disappeared when she was killed (209) striking; tall; commanding; athlete's strong features; blond hair; beaten to death in a rage (214) Jean (239) apartment on Ohio Avenue (240)
Dr. Jordanuncle of woman who complained about Casey; head of staff (79)
Libby Kellyreplaced as head nurse on telemetry; bucked one of doctors and lost (26)
Mr. Wilson MacomberER patient; 92-y-o patient; from nursing home (9)
Uncle MartinCasey's uncle; a Jesuit (255)
Bobby Lee Martinlounge lizard at Ramblin' Rose; last seen with Wanda (145) Arnold Police Department looking for him in regard to Wanda's death (216)
Pat Martinmedical examiner; big, brusque Irishman; curly red hair; 6 kids; took out boat on weekends; liked a good dirty joke; store of unbelievably arcane information on methods of death and destruction (316)
Millard boysran the Upper Corner of Lower Arnold with brawn, bully, weapons (76)
Frank MillardCasey's abuser (281)
Dr. Millerworking ER shift; spending more time with manuals than patients (40)
Benjamin "Benny" McDonoughCasey's brother; went to seminary; hit the road (46) bald (238) Casey hadn't seen in nine years (285) "He'd turned to oblivion." (426)
Helen McDonoughCasey's mother; little (3) vivid imagination (29) small, birdlike woman; walked with a stoop; dressed only in dull brown; always wore matching scarf over her hair; husband died 24 years ago; chose husband over convent and never forgave herself for it (32) passive-aggressive behavior (85) ethereal; plain; vacuous smile (168) delusional (212)
Mick McDonoughCasey's father (110)
McMurphydetective (131)
Tom Nevershospital administrator; lived and breathed baseball; small, asthmatic man, looked more like Woody Allen than Ryne Sandberg (78) plain, thin face (268)
Mr. NixonCEO of Mary Margaret Hospital (268)
Elizabeth Peebles"A Ladue woman was killed tonight in a fiery one-car accident along a deserted stretch of Highway KK in O'Fallon." (223) rich recluse; 55-y-o; grandmother; patient of Fernandez (237)
Marilyn Peeples24-y-o; Rolling Rock Lane, Ladue; Hunsacker's patient (314)
Evelyn PetersCasey's friend (30) a friend from Casey's days at St. Isidore's; most blatantly normal person Casey knew; earth mother by temperament; great hand-holder and commiserator; lousy ER nurse (33) not aggressive; not decisive; lavished support on St. Izzy's high-tech postpartum unit (34) frustrated when working with Dr. Hunsacker (34) honest; reliable; responsible (101)
Ron [Peters]Evelyn's husband (113)
RalphMother Mary security (8)
Mr. RawlingsCasey's next door neighbor; retired college professor; gave McDonough's fresh-cut flowers from his garden; gaunt, age-spotted head (368) asthma; heart condition (384)
Reevaskinny black woman; 16-y-o, looked 30; pockmarked; bony; hooker in Moses' stable (197)
Ruthiewitness in Crystal's murder case; moved to Chicago (371)
Mr. Rickspatient in ER; from State San (20)
St. PaulMother Mary regular ER patient; "came in every other month when he forgot to take his Prolixin and tried to sacrifice a redheaded virgin to ensure the safety of his virility." (8)
Steveworking ER shift; practicing his psychology degree on patients (40) gun collector (65)
SueDr. Burton's nurse; classmate of Casey's; supporting alcoholic husband; 4 children (124)
Melvin TarltonER patient; self-inflicted gunshot wound; terminal cancer (61)
Mrs. TrenoryER patient (271)
Buddy [Trigel]Wanda's husband (70) had been a good-looking guy; thinner; prematurely stooped; features gray and flat (311) soft blue eyes, looked distant and opaque (312)
Wanda Trigelworked in St. Isidore's labor and delivery; "Wild Woman" (70) didn't show up for work yesterday; missing for 3 days; foul mouth; used cheap hair bleach; crack operating tech; world class hell raiser; lit into Dr. Hunsacker last week for incompetence (71) lived in Arnold (75) a Millard (76) drove souped up, mean black Firebird (145) impulsive; high-strung (150) four pierced holes in each ear (190) walking encyclopedia of childhood abuses; hated men; great tech (298)
Mrs. Vivian VanCleveER patient; glacial (10) hair perfectly coiffed; hands weighted down with enough diamonds to support a third word economy; nails blood red, lipstick matched; disdainful eyes harder than stones; Dr. Hunsacker's patient (12) society queen; bladder infection (13) Vivian (22)
Dr. VanDykedoctor; trying to sneak tubal ligations past nuns (125)
VeniceMother Mary secretary (430)
Marianne Wadelabor and delivery nurse at St. Izzy's; attended Evelyn's wake; round as Evelyn; plump hand (111)
Mr. Washingtonpatient in ER (117)
Marva Washingtonworking ER shift; nursing's answer to Jack Webb {what does that mean?}; bored (40) middle name: Placenta (92) rich contralto laugh; pencil-thin body; angular face; masters in Nursing on full scholarship at Northwestern; wrote choral music on off hours; could quote Jane Austen and Eudora Welty; raised by professional parents; never set foot near inner city projects; black (93) eloquent brown eyes (102) keen intelligence masked by deceptively lazy attitude (121) hard brown eyes (177)
Rich Whelanhomicide detective; shared office with Jack and Dawson; tall Viking type (249)
Tammy Whittaker15-y-o patient Hunsacker tried to save (157
Mr. WillingtonER patient; Casey gave him shot; in constant pain; dying (11)
Moses WillisCrystal Johnson's pimp (166)
Crawford Wilsonunion lawyer; slick and sharp; local version of Jack Kemp; good old boy, sniffing around power like dog in heat (354)
Michael Wilsonworking in ER (8)
Agent Yablonsky FBI; discussed case with Jack (372)

Locations, Organizations, Terms Found In "A Man To Die For"
Location / Organization Description
Arnoldwhere Wanda lived; burgeoning Jefferson County city tucked into southern side of the Meramec and Mississippi river merger; initial core made of poor, white, hard-line right-wingers; divided into three distinct areas (75)
Arnold Policedidn't look for Wanda (76)
Ballas RoadEd Baker had office in one of classier medical buildings on Ballas Road (192)
Body Shoplocal hangout for nurses after work (91)
BostonDr. Dale Hunsacker's family home (349)
Creve Coeur Policepatrolled the area where Wanda worked (76)
Crown Candywhere many St. Louis City Police officers went for lunch (140)
Frontenacupscale neighborhood; newer subdivision built by medical money in the area (234)
Jefferson Countyhad jurisdiction over last place Wanda had been seen (76)
Kenrick SeminarySeminary Benny attended (212)
Major Case Squadbetter chance of coordinating information on all the murders (258)
Meramec Riverabutted Arnold (75)
Mississippi Riverabutted Arnold (75)
Mother Mary Hospital(6) "a solidly third-rate hospital run by the only fiscally naive order of nuns in St. Louis. Staffed with ex-inters unable to find a home in any accredited residencies, its emergency room had garnered more disdain than chiropractic centers and laetrile clinics."; dubbed M and M (for Morbidity and Mortality); catered to uninformed and desperate (16) sisters handed over reins of power to lay board; now had open heart unit, three MRI scanners, largest pediatric psych center in the county; newly remodeled and expanded ER (17) located at the merger of highways 270 and 44; second busiest ER in metropolitan area (31)
New YorkDr. Dale Hunsacker's practiced medicine (73)
Ohio AvenueCrystal Jean Johnson's apartment on this street (240)
Ramblin' Rosebar where Wanda last seen (145) description (148)
Rott Roadroad where Billie hit by car (18)
St. Isidore'sfirst hospital where Casey worked (33) "St. Izzy"; Evelyn worked in high-tech postpartum unit (34)
St. Louis City Police Headquarterslocated on corner of Clark and Tucker (1)
Serial, Mass, and Sensational Murders, a Profilebook; anonymous gift Marva gave to Casey (216)
Webster Grovesneighborhood where Casey lived (29) decidedly upscale Republican Neighborhood (30) solidly middle-class neighborhood in the near southwest section of St. Louis (76)

Term Description
akqass kissing quotient (121)
bananamandon't know what this is (7)
BOHICA boardlocated in ER employee lounge; "Bend Over, Here It Comes Again" (26)
Madame DeFargeJack's title for Helen: Madame Defarge or Thérèse Defarge is the relentless villain in Charles Dickens' 1859 novel, A Tale of Two Cities.
virgin fiber tagAaron Feldman had 'enough hair on his chest to warrant a virgin fiber tag' (201) don't know what this is

"A Man To Die For" Quotations
48There was something about a man who just assumed that everyone would find him attractive that put her off.   She had to work like a dog for every one of her advances.   She had to try twice as hard to be noticed, and took none of her gains for granted.   People like Hunsacker considered their looks not so much a gift as a right, and assumed that their fortune would naturally correspond.   And, unfortunately, the world around them usually complied.   (Casey)
49Casey envied Hunsacker the swirl of attention, remembering all to painfully what it felt like to be invisible in a crowd.   She resented him because a man with less talent than she thrived when she still struggled.   (Casey)
199She knew what a person could expect in this world, and what she couldn't.   And she knew that the only way to survive was to just keep putting one foot in front of the other and focus on the next step and the one after that.   (Casey)
285"We're the most frustrated by the traits in others that we recognize in ourselves."   (Poppi)
325Jack heard it then, the button he must have pushed.   It was just amazing how a woman with so much common sense could shut down straight into blind stupidity just because a man told her what to do.   Those old hurts must have run real deep.   (Jack)
337It was one of the real frustrations about dealing with people.   You just had to realize sometimes that nothing you did would change them.   (Casey)
342"I've had enough jobs to know that hierarchy is pretty much interchangeable.   Management survives on politics and relies on employees who'll get the job done."   (Jack)
355He was more than happy doing the work, if the brass just left him alone.   They never did.   Not in the service, not in the church, not in the department.   (Jack)
425"But monsters are usually products of worse monsters."   (Jack)

"Eileen Dreyer -- A Man To Die For" Review and Information Links
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3.80 average{10 reviews}Amazonas of: June 4, 2013
4.14 average{7 ratings}Barnes & Nobleas of: June 4, 2013
----Fantastic FictionList of Eileen Dreyer's Books
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3.72 average{9 reviews}Good Readsas of: June 3, 2013
--Jane Stewart {excellent review}
3.81 average{8 ratings}Library Thingas of: June 3, 2013
3.70 average{19 ratings}Paperback Swapas of: June 3, 2013
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4.67 average{3 reviews}Shelfarias of: June 4, 2013
4.3506-03-2013Wolf Bear Does Booksshorter post on Amazon, Fiction DB, Good Reads, Library Thing, Shelfari

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