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Reviewed by Tammy Ruggles for Readers' Favorite
Unethical: A Psychological Thriller by Marla L. Anderson is a powerful medical thriller that will have you turning pages until the jarring conclusion. Josephine "Jo" Rinaldi has her hands full with her legal career and an elderly father with a dementia diagnosis. At her boss's suggestion, she grabs an opportunity that helps her father and herself: a research study that he can participate in. A win-win. Her father will receive good medical care from Dr. Kessler at the residential facility. She can continue her career, which helps fund his care. Little do they know that both of their lives are now in jeopardy. When Dr. Kessler doesn't give her answers, she turns to Scott Benson, a private investigator, for help, hoping he can look into the facility for the answers she needs. Scott finds out about a chain of deaths that don't add up, and Jo suspects something unethical is going on. Hence, she attempts to reclaim custody of her father. She thinks she has an ally in Scott but does she? Tensions multiply when the doctor won't allow Jo to have custody of her own father again.
Anderson lays out a taut medical drama that has all the trimmings. A perfect plot, engrossing characters that don't always fit the expected good guy/bad guy mold, some surprises, and writing that pulls you in and holds you captive until the final scene. This author has a real talent for characterization and builds it well through backstory, relationships, and a relatable plot. A lot of working adult children today grapple with the same issues Jo does. Her family history isn't perfect, but she's trying to do right by her father and hopes their relationship can improve before it's too late. These things help connect readers to the story and to the characters. It makes you care that much more when danger enters the picture. Some medical thrillers seem farfetched, but this one is quite convincing. The aspect of Jo trying to win her father's respect, and live up to the memory of her deceased older brother, is moving, so there is a level of pathos and personal struggle that you don't always find in a thriller. Their relationship feels real, not contrived, and the ending will bring tears to your eyes. Unethical: A Psychological Thriller by Marla L. Anderson is a medical roller coaster you don't want to miss.