In this atmospheric medical thriller, the new head of a remote medical center kills those who get in his way.
In his debut novel, Edwards explores the politics of the New Canterbury Medical Center, a once-grand hospital in upstate New York now struggling with rapidly dwindling grant funds. The emergency department director, Dr. Jack Forester, can’t seem to stop locking horns with the center’s dean, Bryson Witner, a Harvard-educated doctor with a peculiarly reserved manner. Actually, Dr. Witner is merely acting as the interim dean—the former dean recently died in a tragic accident and his predecessor now lies in a coma after a mysterious fall from a bridge. In his brief term, Dr. Witner has instituted new programs to publicize and revitalize the center, including one in which celebrities and newsmakers undergo televised medical procedures. On hand to cover one of these procedures is New York City journalist Zellie Andersen. She quickly befriends Dr. Forester and the two begin to uncover secrets—murders disguised as accidents, political intrigue and the perverse logic behind Dr. Witner’s ambition—that put their own lives in danger. Edwards’ dialogue is sharp and naturalistic and he provides sufficient medical terminology to satisfy fans of the genre, without being overly technical. A clear sense of place helps illuminate Edwards’ skillfully brisk pacing, as he shows impressive attention to detail with his character development, especially with a creatively bizarre antagonist. Although the plot leans toward the formulaic—including a slightly hokey twist toward the end—the novel’s strengths are enough for exoneration.
A nimbly crafted suspense certain to earn Edwards an appreciative fan base.