This is a new genre for me. I haven't read many medical thrillers yet--in fact my first one was Tess Gerritsen's Harvest (reviewed below). Do you like ER, Chicago Hope, etc.? Then you'll love Tess!
After personally chatting with Tess on AOL, I bought Harvest just to see what she was all about. Very impressive. Tess is a real find, an ex-romance writer who practiced as a physician and crafted her medical experience into a thriller career. Her debut in this genre has catapulted her onto the bestseller list and on to her next book, Life Support.
Harvest's Synopsis: At Bayside Hospital, Dr. Abby DiMatteo's career is in serious jeopardy when it is discovered that she helped divert a donor heart to a dying teenager. When a new heart for the intended recipient, a wealthy woman, suddenly appears, Abby questions its origin. Now every move she makes creates a furious backlash, and nothing can prepare her for the grisly final reckoning.
Not a story for the weak-stomached. Some medical details, like a close-up autopsy and extensive surgical description, made me a little queasy. This one's appearing in theaters soon. I liked the story because Tess added a woman's touch to the usually male-dominated genre and really made me care about the characters more than any other thriller I've read. No wonder it's being made into a movie. Whenever you couple likable characters with a whirlwind plot, you get a winner!
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I met Tess in person on her book-signing tour for Life Support, and she is one of the nices celebrities you'd ever want to meet! I bought the book on the spot and am eagerly awaiting a chance to read it.
Review From Amazon.com: Former internist Gerritsen follows Harvest (1996) with another far-fetched but effective medical thriller. Toby Harper (no relation to your WebEditor, Tom Harper) is an idealistic emergency-room physician who has chosen to work the graveyard shift so she can care for her Alzheimer's-afflicted mother.
When a disoriented old man walks out of the ER and disappears, Toby finds that she cannot let the case go. She sniffs around Brant Hill, the ultra-upscale retirement village where he lived. Then another Brant Hill resident ends up in the ER with symptoms of disorientation and seizures: Toby worries that some unknown toxin at Brant Hill might be to blame. Or perhaps there's a problem with an experimental hormone protocol being used to restore youth to elderly residents? When the new patient dies, the snooty and evasive medical director for the complex denies the need for an autopsy, but willful Toby diverts the body to the medical examiner, Daniel Dvorak, who also happens to be handsome and divorced. Daniel finds that the old man died of Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease, an extremely rare condition.
When another CJD autopsy report shows up for a Brant Hill resident, Toby steps up her investigation. But she is also having trouble at home: The woman she's just hired to help care for her mother has told police that Toby has been physically abusing her parent. However beleaguered, Toby continues her detecting.
A local prostitute gives birth to a strange one-eyed baby, who turns out to be a genetically altered factory of sorts, producing multiple pituitary glands. Could the Brant Hill gang be using this fetal tissue as part of their fountain-of-youth protocol, and could an unhealthy embryo have been behind the CJD outbreak? The climactic showdown hyperventilates to the point of silliness, but realism's not the point here. A satisfyingly nefarious scheme, some tentative romance, and enough medical rushing-about to satisfy hardcore ER fans add up to a lively ride.
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