- Series: Jo Banks Mysteries (Book 3)
- Hardcover: 256 pages
- Publisher: Minotaur Books; First Edition edition (April 1, 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 031237092X
- ISBN-13: 978-0312370923
- Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1 x 8.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,261,814 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Sleight of Hand: A Jo Banks Mystery (Jo Banks Mysteries) Hardcover – April 1, 2008
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From Publishers Weekly
At the start of Hathaway's disappointing third mystery to feature Dr. Jo Banks (after 2004's Satan's Pony), Jo is riding her motorcycle to work at Bridgeton Hospital in rural New Jersey when she comes upon a crime scene-an unknown man has been killed execution-style on the side of the road. Rumor has it at the hospital that the victim was a "gangsta" from Philly. Later, not far from the body site, Jo hears the sounds of a printing press coming from a barn, where she finds a man with his hand stuck in an old-fashioned roller press. The man, who identifies himself as Max, forces Jo at gunpoint to release him, then threatens to shoot his Down syndrome daughter, Lolly, if Jo doesn't come back and perform surgery on his injured hand. Intrigued by Lolly, Jo returns and decides to dig into the mystery of Max's determination to hide from the authorities. Jo's early interactions with Max simply don't ring true, and the side story of the gang hit serves no real purpose. (Apr.)
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Dr. Jo Banks (Satan’s Pony, 2004) is on her way home when she hears the sound of a printing press coming from an old barn. Peeking inside, she meets a cranky printer named Max, who proceeds to smash his hand in the press. Feeling responsible for the accident, Jo offers to take him to the hospital, but he refuses to go. Instead, he pulls a gun and forces Jo to operate on him in his house. She does so with the assistance of Max’s disabled daughter, Lolly. Interested in knowing more about Max and Lolly, Jo learns that Max was once a famous magician, “Max the Amazing,” and that Max’s wife, his assistant in the act, has disappeared. Jo wants to help Max and Lolly but doing so puts her life in danger and her relationships with her lover and friends at risk. Along with the Banks series, Hathaway also writes the Doctor Andrew Fenimore novels. Both feature quirky, endearing amateur sleuths and will appeal to those who prefer their medical mysteries on the cozy side. --Barbara Bibel
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Top Customer Reviews
Then on her way home, she hears what she believes to be a printing press in a barn. She stops to investigate. The man working the printing press inside the barn is startled by her presence and his hand becomes stuck in the roller mechanism. He pulls a gun on Jo with his free hand, requiring she free him. When Lolly, his daughter with Down syndrome, comes into the barn, he turns the gun on her. He tells Jo he will kill Lolly if she doesn't return quickly with supplies to operate on his mangled hand.
He rejects any hospitalization or other doctors. Jo hurries off for supplies wondering why he won't seek medical help and whether she can perform the needed surgery in his house.
In tending to him daily after the surgery, Jo begins to get a sense of why he won't leave his house. She also begins to wonder if he was associated with the murdered man. Can she make sense of everything?
I absolutely love this series. Jo is such a fun character. I wish I had a doctor like her! With every book she gets even better. I can't wait for the next one.
The author is so great at crafting a mystery with plenty of twists and turns to keep you turning the page. I know that when I start a book in this series, I'd better clear my schedule to get it finished.
I highly recommend this book and series.
On her way home, Jo hears what sounds like a printing press near the crime scene. She stops to look and inside a barn she observes a man diligently working at the printing press when his hand becomes stuck in the roller. Using his free hand, Max pulls out a gun and threatens to shoot Jo if she fails to free him. After she does, he points the gun at his Down syndrome daughter Lolly claiming he will kill her if Jo fails to return with proper equipment to perform surgery on his crushed hand. More for Lolly's sake, Jo agrees wondering why Max rejects hospitalization.
The third Dr. Banks "S" thriller (see SATAN'S PONY and SCARECROW) is an enjoyable amateur sleuth tale although the initial encounter between Max and Jo seems implausible. Still fans will join with Jo wondering why Max rejects hospitalization and why he uses his daughter as a blackmailing pawn. Moving past the opening two dominoes (the road kill and the initial meeting) of the plot, readers will find SLEIGHT OF HAND turns into an exciting mystery.
Sure, there are some implausible elements. There are coincidences at several key plot junctures. There's mention of gangsters. And you have to wonder why a physician would get herself into situations that would jeopardize her professional career (not to mention her life).
But Hathaway writes smoothly and the pace is faster than I recall from her other books. Jo makes excursions to New York and Philadelphia, evoking familiar scenes for me. I found myself turning pages and wanting to know what would be coming. I can't say the characters were drawn in depth. I couldn't figure out Jo's job: even a small-town ER physician would earn a decent if not good living. It's not that easy for doctors to cover for each other these days; I remember meeting an ER doctor who described rushing home to avoid insurance hassles.
It's an airplane book: you read for escape and don't ask for much else. On that standard, it's 5 stars.
In Sleight of Hand, Jo is out for a bike ride when she hears a printing press off in the distance. Because her father is a printer, that sound pulls at her. When she goes to investigate, she causes an accident. Trying to make amends, Jo sets out to help Max, a retired magician and his daughter, Lolly. The question is, how much of the story that Max told Jo is true?
Hathaway gives readers a glimpse of a New Jersey not usually portrayed-a small town in rural New Jersey. It's a place I look forward to visiting again.
Armchair Interviews says: Nice characters in well-written mystery.