The Worst Guy

The Worst Guy, Kate Canterbary, December 28, 2021

I lucked out and was sent an ARC of Kate Canterbary’s newest release yesterday by a lovely book angel. The Worst Guy is the second installment in her Vital Signs series – a spin off from The Walshes that focuses on staff at the hospital where Nick works. It was released today, so I feel ok in posting a review that might have some minor spoilers in it. The unsurprising spoiler is that I ripped straight through it in a few hours, as I usually do with Kate’s books, enjoying myself the whole way.

The male interest in this book is Stremmel, the grouchy, antisocial, determined-to-hate everything trauma surgeon who we’ve met in early books. As I both hoped and expected, this offers us his back story and an explanation of what shaped him into the grump we all want to tickle. He’s forced into repeated interactions with Sara Shapiro, the newer plastic surgeon at the hospital and, unsurprisingly, they find that they have some similar damage under their very different coping mechanisms.

Besides that facts that they are always well-written and funny as hell (in both knee-slappers and black, black humour) what I love about Kate’s books is the character development. Not everyone is real life is as emotionally self-aware as her characters are (in some areas at least!), but I tend that way myself and I gather like-minded friends. So it’s comforting and familiar and creates characters that I believe in and empathize with.

I’ve discovered a real preference in myself for books that model good behaviours. None of the characters in Kate’s books are perfect, but they try, they learn, they dust themselves off and try again, and in the end, they don’t settle or accept harm to themselves once they’ve recognized it.

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