LIE STILL by David Farris


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The overly long tale of a young doctor who gets caught up with the wrong woman in an ER, and of his subsequent efforts to redeem himself.

Newcomer Farris, a pediatric anesthesiologist, draws on descriptions of actual case histories to orbit the story of Dr. Malcolm Ishmail, now back practicing medicine in Nebraska for the ungodly rate of $43/hour thanks to a kid in Arizona who coded blue on him in the worst way, and just kept getting bluer and bluer. Flashback to the “The Book of Mimi,” the story of how Ishmail got there. It all begins with Mimi, Ishmail’s supervising surgeon when he’s a lowly post-grad. Mimi is Dr. Fatale, untalented but gorgeous, and eager to get into Ishmail’s jockstrap once she knows he’s a sensitive soul. She takes him on “an extended tour of the Land of the Erotic.” And while adventuresome sex is a good thing for its vulnerability, adventuresome surgery is not—which is what happens when an aneurysm goes sour on Mimi, leading to an “unfortunate outcome,” and Ishmail, who was participating, gets the third degree from folks looking into the case. Eventually, Mimi admits to Ishmail that sometimes she gets lost in the brain. Mimi’s skill had always been an issue, but will Ishmail snitch on her in the name of ethics, and because he’s really destined for a more wholesome other? Sure he will. And when Mimi hears of it, the affair’s over and she pulls off the kid gloves with a letter accusing him of inappropriate advances and involvement with illegal drugs. Once that’s over, we start up with the narrative that will lead to the bad blue-coding: Might it turn out that it was somehow Mimi’s doing, and that this might all end with gunplay? Don’t rule it out. Or might Ishmail one day find a way to make a more reasonable living as a doctor? Farris announces early that he hopes to give a more accurate account of an emergency room than E.R., but, really, <\I>Lie Stillis just a variation on its theme, accurate or no.

A routine thriller in surgical gear.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 2003
ISBN: 0-06-050554-0
Page count: 384pp
Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15th, 2003


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