In this debut medical thriller, the sudden death of a researcher for a biotech company in Colorado leaves everyone wondering: Was it an accident, negligence or murder?
A routine allergy shot for Frank Stevens, Ph.D., has less-than-routine results—he dies from anaphylaxis, a fatal allergic reaction. His colleague and allergist, Lenny, was unable to save him. Now, Lenny is worried about a potential malpractice suit, even though there appear to be a few people who’d want the man dead. Frank had just had a breakthrough with a vaccine to combat cocaine addiction, he was involved in an extramarital affair, and he may even have ties to an accident from 20 years ago. The convincing scene in which Lenny tries to revive Frank becomes the focal point for most of the story and its characters, as the medical thriller competently becomes a legal and procedural thriller, too. A PI and an agent of the Colorado Bureau of Investigation cover most of the investigatory components, which ultimately bring to light gloriously elaborate connections to the death, including Frank’s senator brother-in-law, a technician at the company and a health care provider. But Lenny steals the show. He faces a lawsuit steered by the widow’s politically ambitious brother as well as questioning from a young, ruthless attorney who meticulously examines every detail of Frank's death. In a scorching scene that illuminates both sides of the case, the lawyer attempts to find fault in Lenny’s story: Why didn’t Lenny have the proper medical equipment on hand? Could the easily accessible allergy shots have been contaminated by someone else? Other motives might have been at play—mobsters, for instance, would prefer that addicts continue to rely on cocaine. As the case builds and the suspense grows, Wanderer’s thriller commendably incorporates medical terminology without any dense, unwarranted complexity.
A prime read that packs a hefty number of plot twists and characters without getting tangled.