"The Shapes of Wrath" By Melissa Yi: Review/Giveaway

Review by Kathleen Costa

Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of the book and a link to purchase it.

Hope Sze is a medical doctor at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Montreal, Canada, and a family medicine resident who is starting a four-week rotation in general surgery. Her best friend, Dr. Tori Yamamoto, is completing an elective in urology, and is always ready to join in on any extracurricular adventure. Of course, some adventures are hindered by one of Tori’s ghosts making an appearance. Dr, John Tucker, once Hope’s fiancé, is also a colleague at St. Joe’s working on a OB/Gyn rotation, still a good friend, and the man she still loves. They’ve had some awkward predicaments before and survived, which proves, they have each other’s back.

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Image Source Windtree Press
The Shapes of Wrath
Earns 5+/5 Medical Files … Engaging & Thrilling Gem!

Dr. Vrac, dubbed the “meanest surgeon” by colleagues and staff at UC Hospital, lives up to the moniker as well as being egotistical, bombastic, and not afraid to boast about his wealth, prowess, and skill. He runs roughshod over his team in the operating theater, barking insults, kicking equipment, and spewing criticisms, and in this case, it cost a woman her life. Of course, responsibility is in serious question, and when closing ranks, one gets hung out to dry. Will it be the one who was feed up and left the room, the first-year anesthesiologist who took over, the hospital for being short staffed, or the veteran surgeon?

Nine Months Later. Dr. Hope Sze learns that being late to work has its punishments. She gets assigned to OR-3, dubbed the “Death OR,” and when she arrives, the charge nurse is dismissive and the operating surgeon, Dr. Vrac, was not impressed. “…what’s your name, honey? Sneeze?” He suggested Hope scrub in and assist which she was eager to do, but the delay caused by the charge nurse forcing her to repeat several times the hand washing protocol made her late, again; she returns to find the operation concluded, and on his way out, Vrac squeezed Hope’s ass ... really? She knew no one witnessed it, and because she would be working with Dr. Vrac for the next four weeks, he is a big hospital donor, and doctors don’t have union backing, complaining would be futile. But, she would remember.

After Hope’s tour of the OR wing with Dr. Cheng offering insights and protocols to help her settle in and even throwing in an urban legend about the OR having a ghost, Dr. Vrac unexpectedly interrupts, demanding to see Dr. Burns, the anesthesiologist on the case Hope had just witnessed. Vrac is not patient and expected Burns to be easily available. Cheng agreed to find him, so Hope ducked into a storage room to avoid dealing with handsy Vrac. As eerie as the empty room is, it is a safe haven … except for the body of Dr. Burns she finds clinging to life in the closet.

Thrilling Drama! Dr. Melissa Yi has taken her delightful protagonist from the Hope Sze Medical Mystery series and giving her thrilling opportunities to confront the seven deadly sins starting with “Wrath.” The malpractice, cover-up, and murder are well-written, complex, and with the victim connected to Dr. Vrac and his faux pas, mistakes, and criminality, it’s hard to not be totally engaged as “wrath” takes on many forms. But, Hope’s search, with close friends and a few hospital colleagues, takes several turns including a past that also exposes more compelling details. Then a hit and run, a missing bike, a death, another death, a non-corporeal appearance, an attempted murder, a chase through the hospital, and Karma … Whew! One thrilling moment after another to make for a “couldn’t put it down” experience.  

Melissa Yi’s writing is well-done and with her own medical knowledge as an ER doctor, the setting, jargon, and medical references add an engaging realism I, personally, enjoyed. Her style is cleverly laid out for readers through multiple perspectives. First, “Gordon” is a flashback written in third person; it provides insights about a first-year anesthesiologist in attendance during one of Dr. Vrac’s operations that led to a patient’s death and subsequent legal aftermath. This narrative does fluctuate in the timeline, but later catches up with the present. In “Hope,” the perspective switches to a first-person narrative, and although Hope, at first, is unaware of the “Gordon” incidents, it does become important to her search for answers. Tori’s “I see ghost” gift is a very subtle element of which Hope is aware and with her own intuition has physical reactions to the presence. It doesn’t, however, come with all the bells and whistles of traditional paranormal fiction, but appears as commonplace events offering its own perspective. Reading the original series is not a prerequisite, although the Hope Sze Medical Mystery series is outstanding and offers insights in Hope’s previous entanglements, relationships, and experiences. This new book is excellent, and I have high hopes for the clever focus of the series … definitely a candidate for “Best” of 2023.

Hope’s Seven Deadly Sins Thriller

The Shapes of Wrath (2023)

Sugar & Vice (2024)

Be a Big Melissa Yi Fan! Melissa Yi is an emergency physician with an active practice and an award-winning writing career. Her nine-book Hope Sze Medical Mystery series is mostly set in Montreal, Canada, with Dr. Sze finding herself in the middle of many complicated, cleverly constructed murder mysteries often putting a spotlight on the dark side of the medical practice, doctors, and hospitals. Check out KRL’s review of the ninth book in the series, “White Lightning,” which also includes a fascinating interview with Melissa.

Facebook Friends: Dr. Melissa Yuan-Innes

Website: Dr. Melissa Yuan-Innes (Melissa Yi)

Twitter: Dr. Sassy

Instagram: Melissa Yuan Innes

And more! Bookbub: Melissa Yi, authorGoodreads: Melissa Yuan InnesYoutube: Melissa Yuan Innes

To enter to win either an ebook or print copy of  The Shapes of Wrath, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line "shapes,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen February 11, 2023. US residents only and you must be 18 or older to enter. If entering via email please include your mailing address in case you win. If entering via comment please include your email address so we can contact you. BE SURE TO STATE IF YOU WANT EBOOK OR PRINT.  You can read our privacy statement here if you like.

Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories in our mystery section in Kings River Life and in our mystery category here on KRL News & Reviews. And join our mystery Facebook group to keep up with everything mystery we post, and have a chance at some extra giveaways. And check out our new mystery podcast which features mystery short stories and first chapters read by local actors! A new episode went up this week.

You can use this link to purchase the book or click here. If you have adblocker on you may not be able to see the Amazon link:

Kathleen Costa is a long-time resident of the Central Valley, and although born in Idaho, she considers herself a “California Girl.” Graduating from CSU-Sacramento, she is a 35+ year veteran teacher having taught in grades 1-8 in schools from Sacramento to Los Angeles to Stockton to Lodi. Currently Kathleen is enjoying her retirement revitalizing hobbies along with exploring writing, reading for pleasure, and spending 24/7 with her husband.
Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases. KRL also receives free copies of most of the books that it reviews, that are provided in exchange for an honest review of the book.


  1. Sounds like a good read. thanks

  2. I would like to win a print copy of The Shapes of Wrath. It sounds like a gripping medical book!

    allibrary (at) aol (dot) com

  3. Sounds like a book I would enjoy reading. I prefer a print copy.

  4. This sounds very dramatic. I haven't read many medical mysteries so always appreciate discovering a new author. I'd love a print copy aprilbluetx at yahoo dot com

  5. I'd like to be included! tWarner419@aol.com

  6. These thrillers sound amazing! I would love a chance to win a print copy! claire.denning.11@gmail.com

  7. We have a winner!
    Lorie Ham


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