A former Justice Department lawyer has written a mind-boggling medical thriller to end all medical thrillers. It may be the most outlandish, and could he the most talked about, popular fiction of the season. Word-of-mouth advocacy seems almost inevitable for this provocative first novel, which readers will find either thoroughly thought-provoking or wildly unbelievable. Either way, both camps will undoubtedly keep the pages turning, even though many will quickly figure out where things are going. Congressman Jack MacLeod, haunted by the death of his high-school sweetheart in a botched cesarean, still wonders whether a child survived that tragic event. Victoria Winters, the lovely lawyer with whom he lives, is involved in some mysterious plot with her best friend, transplant surgeon Rachel Redpath, and is further absorbed by an abortion case she is pleading before Judge Abner Titus. Titus, a committed anti-choice advocate who has just been nominated to be the new chief justice of the Supreme Court, will, if confirmed, take office in time to decide a case that will overthrow Roe v. Wade. MacLeod is his chief opponent in the Congress. Other players include a fanatical anti-abortion crusader who hates MacLeod with a passion, a mystery man with a murderous agenda, and a beautiful young reporter hot on the biggest story of her fledgling career. Toss in the mysterious series of murders in which the bodies of abortion-clinic bombers are found with their internal organs removed and a tiny plastic doll left in their stead -- and things get pretty melodramatic. Rapidly paced storytelling and several surprising plot twists more than compensate for that, however. Not only does Pottinger offer a unique perspective on a significant political issue, he neatly raises the ante in the final paragraphs for an almost perfect ending to an unforgettable story.