Done To Death by Charles Atkins. A Review by John Cook

Done to Death

 

Done to Death
By Charles Atkins
2014

Charles Atkins MD has been described as
‘a board-certified psychiatrist, author, national presenter, and clinical trainer. His mysteries and thrillers explore complex psychological subjects and the darker side of human nature. His non-fiction books on Co-Occurring Substance Use and Mental Disorders, Bipolar Disorder and Alzheimer’s are practical resources for families and mental-health consumers. In addition to books, Dr. Atkins has published hundreds of short stories, essays and columns in a wide variety of newspapers, magazines and journals. He has served as a consultant to the Reader’s Digest Medical Breakthrough series and is on the volunteer clinical faculty at Yale University School of Medicine. ‘

Whew! This puppy can write. His background is well employed especially with reference to his publications ‘Co-Occurring Substance Use and Mental Disorders’ and ‘Getting Away with Murder: Exploring complex clinical and forensic topics through personal narrative and fiction.’

This book is one of a continuing series of amateur detective yarns – brief and compact books – they are very readable with strong clear characters a to-be-expected murderous plot line and a likeable pair of senior citizen lesbian amateur detective characters, Lil and Ada.

Much of it is as expected with the plot finding a way for the two main characters to be involved in the drama and plenty of opportunities to expose and develop their peculiarities. There is a central gay nephew character who is not much employed but it obviously available for future use. There is also a deal of sexual fluidity at all turns and differing responses to perceived sexuality throughout.

Apart from it being a quick and enjoyable read, I enjoyed very much the irony implied in the title ‘Done to Death’. There is a strong focus on the world of TV ‘reality’ shows seen as amoral relentless machines concerned only with production of the ‘who’ and ‘what is expected at any cost with not much real humanity being involved. As such, there are elements of any number of TV shows that would be familiar to readers while their exploitiveness and allure are all on show.

Nothing great or deep here but fun to read with a sharp edge if you have any sensitivity at all. I just wish it had been a real TV show. I would also like to have had an eyeful of Clarence!

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