Brobst (Thirteen Months, 2011) tells the story of a doctor’s attempts to save lives amid a civil war in his new thriller.
Dr. Paul Branson is returning to the tiny village of Matta in South Sudan for the first time since the death of his wife, Nicki. Establishing a clinic for the villagers of Matta was a dream Paul and Nicki shared, and he feels compelled to continue their work in her memory even if it means leaving their daughter back in the States alone. The villagers, particularly a leukemia-afflicted girl, Leza, give Paul a reason to get up in the morning, but there are greater troubles in South Sudan than Paul’s grief. A terrorist group, the Lord’s Resistance Army, under the command of the brutal Jason Quinn, has learned that Paul was involved in chemical weapons research as a graduate student. He discovered something so potentially dangerous the U.S. government has sworn Paul to secrecy. Quinn has plans for Paul’s information, however, and is willing to go to great lengths to achieve his aims. What’s more, a man-killing panther stalks the night. As a Matta elder reminds Paul, “The black panther is the shadow of death. We call it the Ghost of Africa, and for a reason. Its presence means something evil is about to happen or that someone is going to die.” Paul came to Africa to save lives, but he may be forced to do just the opposite. Brobst is a talented storyteller, and he expertly unspools his plot to maximize both tension and suspense. He draws on his own experience as a doctor and traveler in Africa to create a world that feels both weighty and credible. Though the plot drifts uncomfortably into white-savior territory (Paul is deemed the “Chosen One”), the supporting characters are vibrant and fully realized.
A well-constructed, immersive
adventure set in Central Africa.