When an infant is brought into the hospital with severe injuries that indicate she has been abused, pediatrician Vicki Shea is the first to be called even though she's not on duty. Her years spent practicing law make her the best choice for dealing with possible abuse cases. The mother claims the inuries are the result of falling while holding the child, but that is not the story the injuries tell, and the mother is arrested. A few days later, the mother is found dead, leaving what is presumed to be a suicide note. Vicki is not satisfied, and stubbornly, with the help of her friend Detective Tim Murphy, traces the murder of the child's mother to a network of evil that becomes a personal threat to her.
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October 31, 2002
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Excerpt from M and M by John A. Peak
Vicki Shea came into Gunnison Memorial Hospital through the Emergency Room entrance, thinking that she could go through the waiting room incognito and, as she passed by her, get a look at the patient's mother. It was raining and cold and a small hospital, so she didn't expect there would be many people waiting at three A.M. There weren't. The one woman sitting and staring at the carpeting had to be the mother.
The young woman glanced up as Vicki came through the door, seemed to decide Vicki was not who she was looking for, and then looked away. Even in a lined trench coat over her sweatshirt and jeans Vicki was small and slight enough to be mistaken, at a quick glance, for one of her pediatric patients. Her blaze of red hair was half combed, still flattened by her pillow on one side, making her a little wild-looking, an effect that was not diminished by the blood in her eye as she scowled at the woman in the waiting room and then down at the floor when their eyes met. Vicki didn't stop.
The mother's appearance barely registered as young-looking, blonde, frightened, and tired. No one was attending the triage desk and Vicki didn't bother the nurses she could hear at the back, near the microwave. Popcorn smell. She was looking for Tom Boyle, the ER doc that had this shift, or Magdalena, the nurse who had called her. She found Magdalena first.
"In here, Dr. Shea. I'm sorry. I know you're not on call tonight."
"Forget it." Vicki scowled into the newborn warmer, pulling off her coat and reaching for the box of disposable gloves. "Where's Tom?"
"Radiology. He knows you're coming."
The baby girl in the warmer was naked, on her back, limp. There were blue marks on both upper arms and another, high in the center of her forehead, right at the hairline. There was a small catheter plugged into the femoral vein, slow-dripping normal saline, waiting for Vicki's orders. As Vicki watched, the right hand twitched, then twitched twice more.