Medical thriller fans will appreciate the tantalizing plot and a markedly absorbing murder trial.

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BAD BLOOD

The sudden death of an intern at a Nashville hospital in 1996 leads to speculations of murder and vengeance in Tulipan’s debut medical thriller.

Dying in the operating room, Jason “JT” Thomas doesn’t leave behind many mourners. The philandering intern boasted about his frequent escapades with nurses at Arcadia Medical Center, and sex with emergency room nurse Leslie Arnot is the reason he missed multiple pages during a shift, ultimately resulting in the death of a young girl named Jenny. But his death is largely the result of his blood not clotting, caused, Dr. Sam Johnson suspects, by a blood thinner. This merely suggests murder, but it seems like a sound notion when Leslie turns up dead from a possible injection of potassium chloride. Sam helps Detective Henry Baskin with theories—perhaps someone at the hospital contaminated a latex glove—until he realizes that the motive, means and opportunity all point to scrub nurse Jane, the mother of Jenny. Unfortunately, Sam has fallen in love with Jane. The doctor scrambles to turn police attention away from her while hoping to find his way to the truth. Tulipan’s novel is a solid thriller with an unambiguous, concise structure that efficiently builds tension. It opens on the day of JT’s death and is then split into three parts—a flashback showing the events leading to Jenny’s death; the discovery of further evidence against Jane, including her fingerprints found at Leslie’s apartment; and a murder trial. The story is imposing not by piling on the suspects and pieces of evidence but by continually re-examining the same suspect and evidence and viewing them under different lights: The blood thinner, warfarin, is also found in rat poison and, as the defense attorney implies, could have made contact with JT’s skin by accident. Tulipan is generally reliable at explaining medical parlance or equipment in layperson’s terms, similar to how the district attorney asks pathologist Linda Levine to do so in court; however, the scene in which Sam and JT perform a shuntogram on Jenny will have many readers scratching their heads. The author nevertheless excels in developing other pangs of drama, as when Baskin, hoping to get JT’s body exhumed, learns that the body was donated to science; JT’s parents threaten to file a civil suit; and Sam becomes so willing to help Jane that some of his actions may not be legal.

Medical thriller fans will appreciate the tantalizing plot and a markedly absorbing murder trial.

Pub Date: March 6, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4936-8115-0

Page Count: 222

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: April 24, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2014

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A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

THE CATCHER IN THE RYE

A violent surfacing of adolescence (which has little in common with Tarkington's earlier, broadly comic, Seventeen) has a compulsive impact.

"Nobody big except me" is the dream world of Holden Caulfield and his first person story is down to the basic, drab English of the pre-collegiate. For Holden is now being bounced from fancy prep, and, after a vicious evening with hall- and roommates, heads for New York to try to keep his latest failure from his parents. He tries to have a wild evening (all he does is pay the check), is terrorized by the hotel elevator man and his on-call whore, has a date with a girl he likes—and hates, sees his 10 year old sister, Phoebe. He also visits a sympathetic English teacher after trying on a drunken session, and when he keeps his date with Phoebe, who turns up with her suitcase to join him on his flight, he heads home to a hospital siege. This is tender and true, and impossible, in its picture of the old hells of young boys, the lonesomeness and tentative attempts to be mature and secure, the awful block between youth and being grown-up, the fright and sickness that humans and their behavior cause the challenging, the dramatization of the big bang. It is a sorry little worm's view of the off-beat of adult pressure, of contemporary strictures and conformity, of sentiment….

A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

Pub Date: June 15, 1951

ISBN: 0316769177

Page Count: -

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1951

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Shalvis’ latest retains her spark and sizzle.

ALMOST JUST FRIENDS

Piper Manning is determined to sell her family’s property so she can leave her hometown behind, but when her siblings come back with life-changing secrets and her sexy neighbor begins to feel like “The One,” she might have to redo her to-do list.

As children, Piper and her younger siblings, Gavin and Winnie, were sent to live with their grandparents in Wildstone, California, from the Congo after one of Gavin’s friends was killed. Their parents were supposed to meet them later but never made it. Piper wound up being more of a parent than her grandparents, though: “In the end, Piper had done all the raising. It’d taken forever, but now, finally, her brother and sister were off living their own lives.” Piper, the queen of the bullet journal, plans to fix up the family’s lakeside property her grandparents left the three siblings when they died. Selling it will enable her to study to be a physician’s assistant as she’s always wanted. However, just as the goal seems in sight, Gavin and Winnie come home, ostensibly for Piper’s 30th birthday, and then never leave. Turns out, Piper’s brother and sister have recently managed to get into a couple buckets of trouble, and they need some time to reevaluate their options. They aren’t willing to share their problems with Piper, though they’ve been completely open with each other. And Winnie, who’s pregnant, has been very open with Piper’s neighbor Emmitt Reid and his visiting son, Camden, since the baby’s father is Cam’s younger brother, Rowan, who died a few months earlier in a car accident. Everyone has issues to navigate, made more complicated by Gavin and Winnie’s swearing Cam to secrecy just as he and Piper try—and fail—to ignore their attraction to each other. Shalvis keeps the physical and emotional tension high, though the siblings’ refusal to share with Piper becomes tedious and starts to feel childish.

Shalvis’ latest retains her spark and sizzle.

Pub Date: Jan. 28, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-296139-6

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2019

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