After a shocking act of violence, a hotshot surgical resident attempts to put his life back together in Faderan’s debut novel.
Mike Oates wants the top surgical residency spot at Yale New Haven Hospital in Connecticut; he’s tired of flattering the chief of surgery, Bartholomew, and he wants the glory that goes with being called the best. He discovers just how far he’ll go to achieve his dreams when he stabs another doctor, James Levy, so that he won’t rat him out to Bartholomew regarding a parking-spot dispute. Stunned by the realization that he could go to jail for murder, Oates seeks legal advice from family friend Jonathan Moore and his daughter, Lauren, both attorneys in Columbus, Ohio. Oates is drawn to Lauren and pursues a relationship with her despite the conflict of interest, and she soon succumbs to his charms, pledging to help him avoid prison time. After they realize that Levy was killed by a second stab wound after Oates fled, they find themselves entangled with a mob boss who’s connected to Oates’ late father as well as to the nurse whom Oates left for Lauren. Can Oates clear his name and regain his medical career? It’s audacious of Faderan to start her novel with the protagonist committing a crime and then undertake the project of redeeming him. If she’d managed it, it would have made for a fascinating book. However, the plot is too implausible, and Oates, as a character, has few redeeming qualities to make readers root for him. He may be handsome and drive a Maserati, but his behavior toward women is offensive; at one point, he follows Lauren to her hotel room and forcibly kisses her, despite her clear efforts to pull away. And although he didn’t strike the blow that killed Levy, he certainly meant to kill him, so why should readers want him to get away with it? Faderan’s prose is also somewhat flat and awkward, tripping over stilted phrases such as “Rebecca espied a duo of medical men standing by the doorway.”
An unsympathetic main character dooms this unlikely story from the start.