Overworked pediatricians and a tough-talking talk-show host wage war on corporate scum, craven bureaucrats, corrupt medicos, and juvenile liver cancer in central New Jersey: a competent first medical thriller by a pseudonymous oncologist/pharmaceutical- researcher who knows the territory. Foulmouthed, tattooed, punk, aggressive young nighttime talk- show host Acey Henson is looking for a way out of the small a.m. radio market when she gets a call from the father of a Little Leaguer lying in the local children's hospital with a fast-acting fatal liver cancer. Boffo audience reaction to the subject of pediatric oncology spurs Acey to look deeper, leading her to an underfunded, badly managed med center where she meets—and, with her truculent questioning, alienates young, dedicated, badly rumpled pediatric oncologist Dr. Zeke Schwartz. Not to worry. An Experienced Nurse quickly smoothes things over between the two, who begin looking into the nearby drug company whose floor drain carried an overflow of Aspergicin, a hot new experimental drug, into a neighboring creek where local young victims of liver cancer like to swim. Dr. Schwartz airs his suspicions about the drug and the cancers on Acey's show, goading the pharmaceutical firm into vengeful action, hammering the price of the pharmaceutical stock, rattling the cage of the bureaucrats at the FDA, embarrassing the odious hospital administrators, and spiking the station's ratings through the roof. The hospital, the drug firm, and the FDA all gird for war while Acey and Zeke start combing through the paperwork, building a case against Aspergicin as they build a little romance on the side. Among their allies are a demoralized Polish American resident in Zeke's department, a supercompetent investigator at the drug company, and an ambitious venture capitalist who has his eye on Acey's radio station. Children die, lawsuits are threatened, romance runs aground, justice prevails. Not exciting—but mercifully free of the usual goopy medical adulation and heroics.
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