DOING HARM by Kelly Parsons


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Parsons, a surgeon, writes a convincing thriller about a med student who’s a bad apple and the evil game in which she engages at a major medical school and teaching hospital.

Chief resident Steve Mitchell, a urology surgeon who is hoping to work at University Hospital once he finishes his residency, meets medical student Gigi, nicknamed “GG.” Leggy and beautiful, GG is a quick student and brilliant, but she has one other notable characteristic—she’s a psychopath. And she’s decided to draw the happily married, although impossibly self-centered, Mitchell into her “game.” GG ropes Mitchell into playing the game following a pair of disastrous surgeries that result in serious and unforeseen complications. Both times, Mitchell made grave errors, and patients were the ones to suffer. After sabotaging one of Mitchell's patients and then seducing the young doctor, GG lets Mitchell in on what is happening and tells him that unless he tries to figure out whom she is going to kill next, she’ll proceed with her next victim. Distraught and unsure about how to stop GG, Steve confides in his junior resident, Luis, a former Marine who is both battle-wise and street-smart, and together, they decide to stop her. Parsons knows his subject and does justice to the medical side, although he needs to hold back a bit—telling all the details of a medical procedure and including inside physician jokes can be boring to civilians looking for nothing more than a great yarn. And his main character, Mitchell, can be pretentious and self-absorbed, particularly when he weighs the harm that knowledge of GG's future murders can do alongside his own personal disgrace. He proves to be a character that is almost as dislikable as the villain.

Nicely paced action, but Parsons clumsily sidesteps the most obvious solution to the evil GG problem, vastly weakening the book.

Pub Date: Feb. 4th, 2014
ISBN: 978-1-250-03347-5
Page count: 368pp
Publisher: St. Martin's
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1st, 2013


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