Book Report: The Silent Partner by Lee Goldberg (2003)

Book coverWhen I read Monk book by this author in February, I said:

I don’t think I have any more Monk titles by Goldberg in my library, but I do have several in the Diagnosis: Murder series that I will get to before too long (but I am more likely to finish other series/sets that I’ve started recently).

Well, that prophesy has proven true for sure. I completed a number of series, or at least the volumes I had (the Doubleday children’s books, the Executioner book, the James Blish Star Trek books, etc.), and after I read the Conan movie tie-in books that I bought in Berryville, Arkansas, in July 2021, I thought I might enjoy some of the other paperbacks I bought at that time. So far, so good.

I am only aware of the Diagnosis: Murder program whose canon this book extends. My mother liked the show, and I sometimes caught bits of it when visiting her. I knew Scott Baio was in it, but was replaced (or replaced) the other guy. I knew Dick van Dyke, depicted on the cover, was a doctor who wore roller skates at times (actually, Heelies shoes), and his son was the cop. But that was not it. So when the action started in the book, I was not sure whether to think of Dr. Travis as Scott Baio or the other guy, but Scott Baio’s character, Dr. Stewart, makes an appearance, and the book describes him as looking like a grown-up Chachi, which not only identified the characters for me but also captured a bit of the show’s side jokes as well as Goldberg’s style.

At any rate, the book has two murders: a wealthy, type-A restaurant chain owner needs a new kidney, and his son volunteers one of his. So the two junior doctors played by Scott Baio and the other guy perform the operations, but the kidney recipient dies of a penicillin allergy that might have been caused by a near-pharmaceutical antibiotic administered by the cocky Dr. Stewart–but Dr. Sloan had given him the same antibiotic without a reaction some weeks before. So who wanted to kill the man–or to frame Dr. Stewart for negligence?

In the other, Dr. Sloan is added to a cold case task force by a deputy chief trying to neutralize his meddling in homicide. But Dr. Sloan uncovers what might be a serial killer who is killing by mirroring the methods of other serial killers. Officially, the police want this theory to go away, as it might throw into doubt the conviction of the actual serial killers, but investigation seems to be proving Dr. Sloan right, especially when he is the target of a drive-by attempt that would have filmed wonderfully (but didn’t translate as well to the page).

I mean, the book is almost 300 pages, but I knew who would turn out to be the killers very early. Still, it was an enjoyable read to the finish.

I did flag a couple things:

It was a pricey, and exclusive, stretch of sand. Most of the houses on Broad Beach belonged to actors, directors, big-shot producers and a few over-compensated, perk-fat CEOs.

Wow, okay, but some of those outside of Hollywood might have heaped opprobium on people who work in Hollywood, too.

“What about the bullets?”
“We’ve recovered some shells,” Rykus said. “They’re on the way to the lab.”

Oy, vey. I am not sure if I am out-of-touch with actual gun owners or if Goldberg (or Lee Child), but I don’t know anyone who calls rounds or casings shells. Shells go into shotguns, and they’re what’s left after the shot has gone down range or into fowl (or, depending upon the gunner, near the fowl–all right, all right, all right, also slugs/deer, but that’s rare).

So I am pleased with this other series of Goldberg, which is good as I have several. I’d like to think he’s written them himself, but he’s a big-shot producer, so it’s possible, maybe probable, that someone else wrote them for him. But he’s not quite the brand of James Patterson or Tom Clancy to farm the work out quite that much, ainna?

Regardless, I’ll pick up the other Diagnosis: Murder books by and by. Probably too late to clear all the books I own the series in 2022, though, as I have four more to go.

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2 thoughts on “Book Report: The Silent Partner by Lee Goldberg (2003)

  1. I know Goldberg mostly as the author of the short (so far) Eve Ronin series, with a protagonist who has a little Harry Bosch-like driven-ness to solve crimes — which has her crossways with her superiors as well as her rank-and-file colleagues who resent her quick rise in the ranks. I like them, although Goldberg has a tendency to be a little TV-ish in his plotting and story resolutions. There are four books to date, and he seems to have learned when he should use the word “shells” and when he should not.

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