Brain Storm, by Elaine Viets

rockchick's review against another edition

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Brain Storm (Death Investigator Angela Richman)
Brain Strom is the first book in the Death Investigator series by Elaine Viets.
The beginning of the book was a bit confusing but after a few chapter you get the feel of the book.
Brain Storm tells the story of Angela Richman who is a death investigator. One day she wakes up in the hospital and finds out she suffered multiple strokes.
The book goes from Angela's struggle to recover and the mystery of people dying and uncovering the murderer.
I enjoyed the pace of the book from that part on.
As important as catching the killer was, I more than that appreciated the lesson learned from the book about hospital stay, checking billings and making sure you pay for services you were given.
I admired Elaine's courage to write a book that incorporated so many real issues she dealt in her personal life.

eserafina42's review against another edition

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3.5 stars.

cj_mo_2222's review against another edition

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I am a fan of author Elaine Viets’s “Dead-End Job” and “Mystery Shopper” series, so I was eager to read the first book of her new series. This book features Angela Richman as a “death investigator” in a wealthy suburb of St. Louis. Angela must work with an often arrogant, as well as inept, police force while gathering and analyzing evidence at various crime scenes.

The book starts with Angela in the hospital and then goes back 3 ½ months to describe the incidents leading up to Angela’s brush with death. “Brain Storm” tells a more complex, richer story than those in the author’s lighter cozy series, but even with the serious subject matter is still injected with Viets’s trademark humor. I was surprised to learn some of the events in the book are based on the author’s real experiences as a survivor of multiple strokes.

Angela is an interesting character and a great investigator as she fights to get healthy and solve a murder when everyone casts doubt on her observations. Angela is often an unreliable narrator because of her health condition and medications, which keeps the reader guessing about what is real and what isn’t and I liked the suspense that added to the story. The instigation held my interest and I was pleased by the book’s conclusion. I would enjoy reading future books featuring Angela and her friend Katie who is the assistant medical examiner.

I received this book from NetGalley through the courtesy of Thomas and Mercer. The book was provided to me in exchange for an honest review.

lazymuggle's review against another edition

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I received Brain Storm in a goodreads giveaway. My thanks to goodreads, the author for making the title available for the giveaway and to Lady Luck. I expected something different than what I received when I started reading Brain Storm, but I will try to keep my prejudices at bay.

Angela Marie Richman lives in Chouteau Forest, a wealthy ghetto some thirty miles west of St. Louis. She investigates all the deaths in the county— murders, accidents, and overdoses— that don’t happen under a doctor’s care.

Chouteau County is about ten square miles. Its main town, Chouteau Forest— the Forest, to insiders— is mostly estates. And Chouteau, if you’re local, is SHOW-toe.

I would hate to live in Forest - The author painted a vivid picture of an old money community that turned my stomach. A place where some would rather be a small fish, than a big one pretty much anywhere else.

The Forest believes in ancestor worship. They know his great-grandmother and his grandmother were Daughters of Versailles queens, and his mother was a maid of honor. They know that his grandfather, a famous surgeon, helped found SOS. And they’d rather die than go to a better doctor.

This was the Forest, where appearances mattered more than facts.

I like Angela. She was believable as a death investigator (not that I've ever met one). She was ballsy, but not too super hero-ish. At one point she takes a crazy risk that I disagreed with, but the argument could be made that since she had a brain injury, she wanted to assure people that her cognitive skills were improving and dispel any thoughts that she was going crazy.

Katie is her amazing best friend. Someone that has Angela's back in the most trying of circumstances and has no qualms about laying into her if Angela's mucking things up.

For some reason I found the detective, Greiman, to be over the top - I was perturbed by his cartoonishness. My jaw would clench and I'd be knocked out of the story whenever he opened his mouth. I wanted to punch him so badly... Later in the story, a lame reason was given for his behavior.

One thing that I found annoying were blocks of conversations were repeated throughout the book. Again this could be the author's way of putting us in the mind of Angela who was dealing with loss of memory. Don't know if this was the reasoning behind the repetition, but I felt that the author thought that the reader wouldn't be smart enough to recall the conversations.

The book started to get interesting at the 85% mark. Up until this point, the only memorable scene for me was a dinner Angela had with friends; it was touching and I actually said, Awww, out loud.

Part of the ending was predictable. There is a scene that screamed, 'this is how I will do it', as I was reading it. Vague enough for ya?

This story didn't move me. With the exception of the aforementioned dinner, I did not laugh out, scream at Angela not to go in there or close my eyes because they were about to get her. While I was nowhere near dnf-ing this story, I did have to force myself to keep reading so that I could leave a review, sooner rather than later.

Three stars because maybe I sucked at hiding my prejudices. I would like to read some of the author's award-winning works.

rwlock's review against another edition

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Better than I expected. A little bit predictable 

zzzrevel's review

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Not worth reading for a murder mystery.
There was too much in "rehab" for the protagonist
and not enough of the rest of the story.
The prose was ok, and the dialogue just passable.

anneaustex's review against another edition

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While the subject matter in this book was very appealing I didn't care for the delivery. There seemed to be almost a comedic slant to the story that I didn't care for. It's hard to hear about death, severe illness, hospitals, and urgent medical care delivered tongue-in-cheek. Perhaps I completely missed the intent but I just didn't care for the characters or the author's style.

chymerra's review

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