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Life Support    by Robert Whitlow order for
Life Support
by Robert Whitlow
Order:  USA  Can
W. Publishing Group, 2003 (2003)
Paperback, Audio, CD
* *   Reviewed by Sally Selvadurai

This is the first book by Robert Whitlow that I have read and I was pleasantly surprised. The author has great character definition so that the reader becomes more and more intrigued by protagonists' interactions and intentions.

Rena Richardson and her husband Baxter set off for a hike into the South Carolina hills to visit a picturesque waterfall that Rena remembers from her childhood. She comes from an extremely impoverished background, with an abusive stepfather, whereas Baxter grew up in the bosom of a wealthy South Carolina family that continues to make its money through real estate deals and other rather dubious enterprises. While on their hike, Baxter suffers a horrendous fall and is left paralyzed and in a coma.

Rena, in shock herself, must battle with her father-in-law, Ezra Richardson, over the care of her husband, who appears to be beyond help. They cannot agree on whether to remove the life-support systems keeping Baxter alive. At the same time we are introduced to Alexia Lindale, a young lawyer who specializes in family law, with emphasis on divorce litigation. Alex works for the large Santee law firm that has long represented the Richardson family. Given Alex's divorce mediation experience, she is tasked with helping the Richardsons reach an agreement about Baxter's care.

However, Alex finds out that her firm is not lily white in their dealings with the real estate developer. She branches out on her own, retaining Rena as one of her new clients. Add to this mix Ted Morgan, a musical genius minister at a small historic church, and you stir up some interesting reading. Alex, who has been struggling to find meaning in her life, keeps returning to the church and the minister who so intrigues her. Ted has the ability to put into music the soul of a life - somehow melding reality and spirituality. Will Rena be able to live with her nagging guilt and her paralyzed husband? Will Alex and Ted become a couple? Will Ted's music therapy help heal people's hurts?

This book kept calling - it was difficult to put down for long, but in the end left far more questions than answers, including what will happen to the more sinister members of Baxter's family.

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