An above-par medical thriller pits a feisty, African-American obstetrician against ER crazies, seductive doctors, bilious...



An above-par medical thriller pits a feisty, African-American obstetrician against ER crazies, seductive doctors, bilious bean-counters, and a villainous baby-killer. Newcomer Cuthbert, herself an ob/gyn, uses her fictional alter ego, Dr. Rae Duprey, to vent gudgeons of spleen about how nasty things can get in and out of the delivery room. Rae, a tireless, idealistic buppie driven by the loss of her own mother (due to a badly diagnosed pregnancy complication), lets her obsession with saving lives fill up the few minutes she has left over between heart-stopping delivery room melodramatics and managed-care snafus. That way, she doesn't have to think about former lover Bo Michaels, a competing ob/gyn, who now heads a glitzy birth center across the street that's doing so many births that Rae has been reduced to performing C-sections and other complicated deliveries that the center won't do. After a terrific blood-and-guts scene involving an inverted breeched birth, Rae discovers that the hospital bean-counters want to axe her department in order to expand the highly profitable cardiology unit, headed by the suave, bed-hopping lothario Dr. Marco ""the Magnificent"" Donavelli. Two weeks later, Rae notices that the birth center has been sending her a suspicious number of women with supposedly healthy fetuses who end up suffering potentially lethal complications. It doesn't take long to find that the causes of these complications are unnatural--someone is deliberately harming the fetuses so that Rae will take the blame for botched deliveries. Is Michaels trying to cover up his own incompetence? What about flaky hospital board chairperson Heidi O'Neil, whose interest in Dr. Donavelli might be more than professional? Are the drug-addicted, identical-twin ambulance drivers Leo and Theo McHenry out to extort money from her? Could Dr. Sam Hartman, the new Harvard-educated cardiac anesthesiologist, harbor a darkly troubled psyche? Predictable and occasionally hokey, but a surefire crowd-pleaser that balances cool operating-room tension with steaming soap-opera foam.

Pub Date: April 1, 1998


Page Count: 352

Publisher: Pocket

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1998

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