I just finished reading a book that I am pleased to plug. It’s called This Won’t Hurt a Bit and it’s by my friend and fellow National Writers Union member Tim Sheard. When I told him I would review it, I immediately became a little scared that I wouldn’t like it but would have to review it because I promised and would have to say something nice about it because Tim is a friend. Fortunately, I am able to keep my promise to Tim and not have to lie.
Lenny Moss is the hero of this book, the first in an ongoing series of mysteries by the author, all of which can be found here. Lenny is a custodian and union steward at the hospital where he works. He has a well-deserved reputation for helping his fellow workers. As Tim writes, it was known that “Lenny’s union work was respected throughout the hospital, that the man would fight tooth and nail to help a co-worker in trouble.”
So when the preservative-filled body of a brilliant resident of the hospital, Randy Sparks, is discovered playing the role of cadaver in a lab and laundry worker Regis Devoe is charged with the murder and thrown in jail, the workers naturally lean on Lenny to find the real murderer. Their ongoing question is, “How would a laundry worker know how to fill a dead body with preservatives?”
Lenny is a reluctant hero, characteristically understating his ability every step of the way. But he is encouraged by his fellow workers, an eclectic cast of characters from every department in the hospital—including the dietary workers, the seamstress, housekeepers, residents, security, and others—who begin collecting clues while making their daily rounds and constructing personality descriptions of the doctors, who early on are determined by the workers to be the prime suspects. As he is compiling and analyzing their clues, the hospital administrative staff, who naturally would savor any reason to fire Lenny because of his union work, are looking for ways to get rid of him—one way or the other, so the book becomes a race against time, not only for Regis but for Lenny.
It didn’t hurt me a bit to review This Won’t Hurt a Bit. It was a fun book to read. It was an easy read, the passages flowing smoothly, bringing seemingly unrelated parts into alignment with each other. If you like mysteries and enjoy the mental calisthenics of stretching your mind to retain even the most minute of clues in your bid to solve the murder before the hero does, you’ll feel stimulated and refreshed when you finish. For the record, I didn’t solve the mystery before our hero. He pulled it all together with a clue so obscure I had totally forgotten about it. My hint to you: It was presented merely as part of a character description.
In addition to being a long-time writer, Tim Sheard is a critical care nurse in Brooklyn. He brings that insider experience to life as he describes the nuances of the many behind-the-scenes jobs that make any hospital work. The story is told from the perspective of the workers, regular people with a common cause. As with any successful union-friendly piece of literature, it reminds us that we’re all in this together.