A HEARTBEAT AWAY by Barbara Rogan


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 Rogan's fourth novel (Saving Grace, 1991; Cafe Nevo, 1987, etc.)--a comforting story set in a hospital and surrounds in a Manhattan ghetto neighborhood--comes with plenty of ER action, a slow-fuse courtship between a head doctor and a cleaning lady, a young nurse who crosses a racial barrier (the brotherhood beat is worthy if unsubtle as a bass drum, Howard Fast-style), and even a ghost. No one at Mercy Hospital notices Crow the cleaning woman; no one even knows that she's the widow of the famous tenor sax Blue Durango. Seems that Crow can no longer face a world where she's noticed, and lives only for her tiny son Joey in the project with her adopted mother. Meanwhile, Dr. Thomas Graystone, head medico at Mercy, whose social-climbing mother had dumped their relatives from the projects, doesn't really ``see'' Crow. But then Crow begins to deliver medical bulletins--life-saving--from a mysterious doctor. He turns out to be a very dead Dr. Elias Glass, who is malingering this side of the Gates because he thought he killed a child. Then Dr. Graystone does notice Crow when she shows up at a jazz gig with Blue's old pals. While Dr. G. tries (in vain) to court Crow, nurse Alice rescues an abused black kid from an abuser and tries to adopt--and also finishes the career of a medical sadist. You can be sure it all turns up roses, even for Elias, who heads for....? A soggy but essentially cheerful novel, cinema-bound. (Film rights to MGM)

Pub Date: May 20th, 1993
ISBN: 0-688-11582-9
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1st, 1993


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