Interview: John Bishop

Let’s get to know John Bishop, author of the Doc Brady mystery series.

How did you get started writing?

As an academic Orthopedic Surgeon at Baylor College of Medicine in the Texas Medical Center in Houston, Texas, I was heavily involved in the teaching of medical students, residents, and fellows. Along with the academic obligations, I was expected to write articles and make presentations at medical meetings, sort of a “publish or perish” concept. As a result, I was used to performing clinical studies and writing articles for various orthopedic journals. I was in this position for about 14 years, until some of my colleagues and myself became disgruntled with the academic system and it’s challenges, left our “home,” and created the Texas Orthopedic Hospital, a mile south of our previous location. I still had a very busy practice, but without the teaching and academic responsibilities, I found myself with free time. I had played piano and organ since childhood, so I started playing music on the weekends with and R & B band, Bert Wills and the Crying Shames. That was a wonderful experience for me, until the  road travel became more than I could handle. Shortly thereafter, I began writing. I can’t say exactly where the desire came from, but it was probably a combination of factors. I had always been a voracious reader of mystery novels, and perhaps thought I should try my hand at fiction writing. But also, I had entered into a solid marriage to Joan Berry, who provided me with a loving and supportive partner, and a newfound sense of peace had come over me at that time of my life. I began writing voraciously, to excess, like all the other endeavors in my life. How do you say “obsessive compulsive”? Between 1993 and 2000 I wrote five novels Act of Murder, Act of Deception, Act of Revenge, Act of Negligence, and Act of Fate.

Tell us a bit about your new book.

The first book in The Doc Brady Mystery Series is Act of Murder. The central and recurring character, Dr. James Robert Brady, became an orthopedic surgeon to avoid being surrounded by death, but finds death is everywhere around him. On a spring day in 1994, Doc Brady witnesses his neighbor’s ten-year-old son killed by a hit-and-run driver. Was this an accident, or an act of murder? After the death, Brady enlists the help of his twenty-year-old son J.J., and his wife Mary Louise, in chasing down clues that take them deeper and deeper into a Houston he never imagined existed. In the process, they discover a macabre conspiracy stretching from the ivory towers of the largest teaching hospital in Texas, to the upper reaches of Houston’s legal community, to the shores of Galveston. Doc Brady soon learns that the old adage remains true: the love of money is the root of all evil.

Tell us about your main character.

Dr. Jim Bob Brady is a fictionalized character, an amalgam of myself and many people I’ve come to call friends over the years. In the books, he is a specialty hip and knee orthopedic surgeon, a much more glamorous job than the one this writer had in real life. Brady has an intense and physical love for his wife, Mary Louise, and an admiration for his son J.J.’s capabilities in gathering information as part of his firm which is essentially a detective agency. Brady is a brilliant, talented surgeon, with a large clientele, who is confident yet still humble. He is a genuinely nice and funny guy who happens to have a knack for solving medical mysteries. He is above all the doctor who will cure you of your blues and boredom.

Which books/authors inspired or influenced you the most?

I have read a vast number of novels, and therefore it’s not easy to name only a few who have influenced me. I’ll list my most favorite 12 in alphabetical order and apologies to the ones I had to leave out:

Jeffrey Archer 

Lee Child

Harlan Coben

Michael Connelly

Robin Cook

Michael Crichton

Nelson DeMille

John Grisham

Robert B. Parker

Thomas Perry

John Sandford

Stuart Woods

If you could host a mystery-author dinner party, who are the six writers (living or otherwise) youd include?

Dinner would consist first of Robert B. Parker. His Spenser novels are at the top of my list for a character who is brilliant and funny, and cares about the people around him, especially his paramour Susan Silverman. I met him once at a book signing in Houston, and he had that twinkle in his eye that affirmed to me that he was in fact Spenser. What a dinner partner he would make!

Next I would pick the two doctors, Robin Cook and Michael Crichton. I’ve enjoyed all their novels, and what fun it would be to discuss medicine and fiction writing over wine and dinner.

Rounding out the dinner table would be Michael Connelly, writer of gritty novels about Harry Bosch, L.A.’s greatest detective, John Grisham, writer extraordinaire of the legal thriller, and Nelson DeMille, a brilliant novelist and creator of the character John Corey, who hopefully is scripted from DeMille’s own character. I would find that out over our dinner.


John Bishop M.D. practiced orthopedic surgery in Houston, Texas, for 30 years. An avid golfer and accomplished piano player, Bishop is honored to have once served as the keyboard player for the rhythm and blues band Bert Wills and the Crying Shames. His Doc Brady medical thriller series is set in the changing environment of medicine in the 1990s. Drawing on his years of experience as a practicing surgeon, Bishop entertains readers using his unique insights into the medical world with all its challenges, intricacies, and complexities, while at the same time revealing the compassion and dedication of health care professionals. Dr. Bishop and his wife, Joan, reside in the Texas Hill Country. For more information, please visit

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