Best-selling author Seymour Shubin continues to put out one great mystery novel after another. A Matter of Fear, like his other tales, contains strong, well-defined characters, crisp, real-sounding dialogue and a twisting, turning plot that keeps his reader turning pages.
A Matter of Fear reads like a memoir. Tom Loberg is looking back on his life, his focus flashing back on the 1970's, when he was in his late twenties. He had landed a job as editor for a medical publishing house, he had fallen in love with the girl of his dreams, and his supervisor had been murdered.
Flashback: Sam Glennie is Loberg's supervisor at the vanity press. Glennie is a simple man. Married with two children, he for the most part keeps his home life quiet and separate from work. Together the men acquired manuscripts from medical professionals, charging the authors to print the books. One of the first things Loberg notices is that Glennie is a wimp, suffocating under the crushing thumb of their mean-spirited department manager. Loberg pities the man, but soon knows times are tough. Jobs are scarce.
While eating in a diner, Loberg meets and falls in love with an RN named Tina. With her help, Loberg manages to reel in Dr. Crestman, a cardiologist who has authored a book. As if nervous Loberg is trying to steal his position with the publisher, Glennie snatches up the credit for the manuscript and ends up editing Crestman's book. It's Crestman's wife, not the doctor, who ends up driving Glennie crazy. She calls all the time, or just shows up at the publisher, demanding results. All of this abrubtly ends the day Glennie's body turns up floating in the river.
But who would want to kill a man like Glennie? The question disturbs Loberg to unhealthy, obsessive levels and threatens to destroy his relationship with Tina. It isn't until Loberg takes over Glennie's position as supervisor and moves forward with Crestman's project that he begins to see that there might be a connection between the manuscript and Glennie's murder. Someone is pushing to get Crestman's book published, but who, and why? How will the answer effect his job, his relationship, the rest of his life?
This medical thriller is well-plotted, a captivating read. It's the kind of book which, after you’ve picked it up, is hard to set down until you’ve finished. Shubin knows how to craft characters readers can care about. He knows how to build suspense, and he knows how to follow through. Another fine mystery by a writer who's been writing thrills for decades.