PERILOUS OBSESSION: A MEDICAL THRILLER by Geoffrey M. Cooper; Maine Authors Publishing, 2022; 245 pages, $16.95; ISBN 978-1-63381-323-6.


When Dr. Brad Parker walked into a room full of doctors, he sensed immediately that the diagnosis would be bad. He just didn’t know then how bad and how deadly.

“Perilous Obsession’ is Ogunquit author Geoffrey Cooper’s fifth mystery in his thriller series featuring Brad Parker and FBI Special Agent Karen Richmond. And this is probably the best one of all. Cooper is a medical professional and an award-winning author, a keen observer of the medical profession and human behavior (warts and all).

Set in Portland, this is an excellent mystery with doctors behaving badly and Parker and Richmond wondering why. What starts out as a clear-cut case of malpractice — a cancer patient’s chemo-drug overdose death and two doctors accusing each other of incompetence — turns into a kangaroo court and Parker, as an invited advisor, is left as a dupe in an obvious cover-up.

Parker has been played by the staff of a prominent cancer treatment center, used in an elaborate scheme to discredit somebody, and he is outraged by the injustice. His anger, however, comes too late — three murders, a missing person and an out-of-town hit man get the FBI involved, and Karen Richmond shines as a brilliant and ruthless investigator (and Parker’s lover). Parker knows the medical game and Richmond knows how to squeeze witnesses and suspects to get information. She is much more devious and lethal — they are a perfect team.

Their investigation leads into something much more sinister than medical malpractice, and they must be careful; too many eyes and ears are watching and listening to everything they do, leading to a widespread and deadly conspiracy.


And beware of the doctor who says, “Uh, oh!  This looks bad!”

EASTPORT by Lura Jackson; Arcadia Publishing, 2022; 127 pages, $23.99; ISBN 978-1-4671-0745-7.


How would you like to live in a small, coastal Maine town that celebrates the New Year by dropping a sardine from a three-story building? Well, Eastport is the place and since it’s the birthplace of the North American sardine canning industry, the Annual Sardine Drop fits perfectly.

“Eastport” is an excellent history of a small island town in eastern Maine, on the shore of Passamaquoddy Bay. Once a prosperous fishing, shipping and seafood processing center, Eastport now (population 1,288 in 2020) is struggling to recover economically after the last cannery closed in 1983. The author, Lura Jackson, was raised in Eastport and is an award-winning local journalist. Her smart research and lively narrative combine well with the historical photos provided by the Tides Institute and Museum of Art to produce an entertaining history of this unique small town.

This is another wonderful addition of the publisher’s “Images of America” series, especially because Jackson includes a whole section on the influence of the Passamaquoddy indigenous people — culture, society, lifestyle and contributions — before and after European arrival. She also describes the early colonial activity of the French and English, and 200 years of settlement, development and economic efforts.

Eastport’s geography is fascinating, too — a tiny island just 4.5 miles long and 1.25 miles wide, connected by a causeway, a deepwater seaport affected by the bay’s huge tidal range and the nearby Old Sow, “the largest whirlpool in the western hemisphere.”

Social life, industry, unique characters (local smugglers), rich and poor, are well-discussed along with vivid descriptions of devastating fires and destructive storms. Learn, too, about the Annual Pirate Festival where you can walk the plank, swashbuckle around town and give cutlass lessons to kids, and how to chow down at the Summer Salmon and Seafood Festival.

Bill Bushnell lives and writes in Harpswell.

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