Wednesday, February 5, 2020


CODE ME MISSING by PMA Hayes (2019)

Reviewed by Fran Hartley

Tension rises in a hospital clinical coding office when beautiful Keely doesn’t turn up for work. Everyone is worried. Or are they? Is Keely seen as a love rival by Emily who likes the handsome Nick and wants him to ask her out? Or is she unpopular because of someone's auditing results? Then there’s the manager’s position, soon to be advertised. Keely is highly qualified and could get the job. Perhaps their current manager is worried she’s not going to be rehired. Keely's best friend, Julie, faces danger while trying to unravel what has happened to her friend.

This book is described as a 'Hospital Thriller'. The main characters work in a hospital clinical coding department that analyses critical statements, and assigns codes for a multitude of data for any disease, condition or circumstance that occur to hospital clients. This information may be a surprise to those who did not know that every conceivable condition in hospital has to be coded. However, this is the only department featured in this story and I was expecting more of a medical scenario and hospital drama.

The story begins when the main character, Julie, goes to work as usual on a Monday morning to find that her work- mate, protege and best friend, Keely, fails to appear for her shift, and a creepy message is left on her computer.

The characters are well described and the reader can quickly form a picture of the different personalities; and one character provoked my dislike! Which is a compliment to the author! The plot makes for a good story with a few twists and turns, highlighting the destructive elements of jealousy and the importance of good friends.

It is a murder, mystery story, but does lack a bit of excitement and suspense to keep the reader gripped. I prefer a more intricate story that keeps the interest going, and guessed the perpetrator of the crime early into the plot.

I found the style of writing rather simplistic and would probably recommend it to readers of early teens. Or – an easy book for a poolside holiday, quickly read, uncomplicated and easy to follow. There is very little gruesome detail and no sexual content that would make it an adults-only book.

This review was first published in FlaxFlower reviews, which focuses on in-depth reviews of New Zealand books of all kinds, and is reprinted here with the kind permission of Flaxflower founder and editor Bronwyn Elsmore. 

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