Reviewed for Front Street Reviews
A. Scott Pearson has written a rapid-fire, engrossing, and timely medical thriller, an amazing accomplishment for his debut novel. As a surgeon and researcher himself, he brings the world of surgery to life in a way others could not accomplish. His writing is reminiscent of early Frank G. Slaughter, and of Robin Cook. It grips you with the first page and doesn’t let go to the very last word. I believe the author has a brilliant career ahead of him in writing. The entire story takes place within one week.
Eli Branch is a newly hired surgeon-scientist at Gates Memorial Hospital, top in his field academically and the son of a well-respected anatomy professor at the medical school. His first call for surgery assistance brings him to the hospital at 12:03 a.m., although he is not actually on call. He arrives to find an extreme situation of an aortic rupture. Blown out above and below a previously inserted device placed precisely to protect the aorta from this possibility, the aorta appears to be compromised. Something familiar about the device catches Eli’s attention in the x-rays. When the patient dies, he decides to sit in on the autopsy, and between himself and Meg Daily, the forensic pathologist, they feel that something just simply isn’t right. Eli doesn’t know it yet, but he is about to be thrown into the dark side of medicine and illegal experimentation, and he is about to be thrown to the wolves.
There are many well-fleshed out characters, some dispensable, others not, and it is his self-appointed goal to save those who are victims, no matter what barriers are set up in his way. His own mentally disabled brother is suspected to be one of the victims. After being fired and banned from entering the hospital, with the help of Meg and other concerned personnel he must fight hard and utilize every sense and every clue in order to get to the bottom of the why. Why are so many people dying as a result of these devices? With friends in unexpected places he infiltrates the company responsible, stumbling onto the focus of what’s going on quite by accident. A brazen appearance at a press conference gives him the opportunity he needs. The book is a combination of medical technology issues, non-stop action and a likable hero. I wholeheartedly recommend this book, it’s a great thriller, current, scary and believable, and it’s an exciting ride at roller-coaster speed.
Note: not yet released as of Jan. 25/09