Reviewed by Melanie Kline

Dr. Benjamin Weber is a successful pediatrician in Hawaii. He is well loved by his family and patients. Ben has two children, Laura and Lin, from his wife Karen’s first marriage and together they have a third daughter, Katherine.

Dead Center opens with Ben being arrested in his office while seeing patients. He is then extradited to Michigan to stand trial for the death of his wife’s first husband, Peter Hyland, twenty years ago. Ben was a close friend of the family, was present when Peter died and married Karen – adopting Laura and Lin – very soon after the funeral.

With Ben’s arrest, the family is thrown into financial ruin and emotional turmoil both from the trial and from Karen’s illness – she’s battling cancer. The children all have different stances on whether or not they believe Ben innocent of the “hunting accident” and blame him for the added pain that Karen has to endure.

Each chapter of the story is about a different character told in the third person and I found that this technique made the book extremely difficult and dry. There is no real interaction between people to speak of except. The book just seemed to have no life although the events transpiring should have been interesting and colorful.

I felt completely robbed of my time when I finished Dead Center and still had no idea as to whether or not Ben actually killed Peter. The trial was over and I should have at least had a definite feeling as to guilt or innocence, but there was nothing to cause me to agree with either side of the case.

I was disappointed and will not be looking for the next Joanna Higgins book – Dead Center was entirely too dull and lifeless for my taste.

Rating: ★☆☆☆☆ 

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Permanent Press. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.