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

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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ONE DAY IN THE LIFE OF IVAN DENISOVICH

While a few weeks ago it seemed as if Praeger would have a two month lead over Dutton in their presentation of this Soviet best seller, both the "authorized" edition (Dutton's) and the "unauthorized" (Praeger's) will appear almost simultaneously. There has been considerable advance attention on what appears to be as much of a publishing cause celebre here as the original appearance of the book in Russia. Without entering into the scrimmage, or dismissing it as a plague on both your houses, we will limit ourselves to a few facts. Royalties from the "unauthorized" edition will go to the International Rescue Committee; Dutton with their contracted edition is adhering to copyright conventions. The Praeger edition has two translators and one of them is the translator of Doctor Zhivago Dutton's translator, Ralph Parker, has been stigmatized by Praeger as "an apologist for the Soviet regime". To the untutored eye, the Dutton translation seems a little more literary, the Praeger perhaps closer to the rather primitive style of the original. The book itself is an account of one day in the three thousand six hundred and fifty three days of the sentence to be served by a carpenter, Ivan Denisovich Shukhov. (Solzhenitsyn was a political prisoner.) From the unrelenting cold without, to the conditions within, from the bathhouse to the latrine to the cells where survival for more than two weeks is impossible, this records the hopeless facts of existence as faced by thousands who went on "living like this, with your eyes on the ground". The Dutton edition has an excellent introduction providing an orientation on the political background to its appearance in Russia by Marvin Kalb. All involved in its publication (translators, introducers, etc.) claim for it great "artistic" values which we cannot share, although there is no question of its importance as a political and human document and as significant and tangible evidence of the de-Stalinization program.

Pub Date: June 15, 1963

ISBN: 0451228146

Page Count: 181

Publisher: Praeger

Review Posted Online: Oct. 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1963

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The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

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A LITTLE LIFE

Four men who meet as college roommates move to New York and spend the next three decades gaining renown in their professions—as an architect, painter, actor and lawyer—and struggling with demons in their intertwined personal lives.

Yanagihara (The People in the Trees, 2013) takes the still-bold leap of writing about characters who don’t share her background; in addition to being male, JB is African-American, Malcolm has a black father and white mother, Willem is white, and “Jude’s race was undetermined”—deserted at birth, he was raised in a monastery and had an unspeakably traumatic childhood that’s revealed slowly over the course of the book. Two of them are gay, one straight and one bisexual. There isn’t a single significant female character, and for a long novel, there isn’t much plot. There aren’t even many markers of what’s happening in the outside world; Jude moves to a loft in SoHo as a young man, but we don’t see the neighborhood change from gritty artists’ enclave to glitzy tourist destination. What we get instead is an intensely interior look at the friends’ psyches and relationships, and it’s utterly enthralling. The four men think about work and creativity and success and failure; they cook for each other, compete with each other and jostle for each other’s affection. JB bases his entire artistic career on painting portraits of his friends, while Malcolm takes care of them by designing their apartments and houses. When Jude, as an adult, is adopted by his favorite Harvard law professor, his friends join him for Thanksgiving in Cambridge every year. And when Willem becomes a movie star, they all bask in his glow. Eventually, the tone darkens and the story narrows to focus on Jude as the pain of his past cuts deep into his carefully constructed life.  

The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

Pub Date: March 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-53925-8

Page Count: 720

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

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