In Van Anderson’s (The Organ Takers, 2014, etc.) second series entry, Dr. David McBride evades police and a crazed Russian spy while trying to save a kidney patient’s life.
David is wanted by the New York City police after exacting revenge on the man responsible for his pregnant wife’s death. Another man, a rogue government agent known as “Mr. White,” previously blackmailed David into a scheme involving black market organs. White’s 26-year-old daughter, Heather, is currently dying from renal disease and needs a kidney transplant. He wants David to continue a dead surgeon’s research which involved growing new human organs from stem cells. In return, White claims that he can get David’s father, who’s suffering from dementia, better treatment. Unfortunately, Mikhail Petrovsky, formerly of Russia’s Federal Security Service, is also after the research, and he’s willing to resort to violent means in his mission to obtain a series of pertinent notebooks. He and his thugs target several people, including a biochemist who may have hidden the most essential notebook away. David and White race to protect those in danger and secure the research before the Russians do. This, of course, puts both of them in the line of fire—and the cops are still on David’s trail as well. The second installment of Van Anderson’s series ably expands on the previous installment’s story. Some new particulars regarding the enigmatic White, for example, make him a stronger, more intriguing character; for instance, the spy turns out to be better at surveillance than hand-to-hand combat, and as a result, he’s just as vulnerable as David is. The energetic narrative keeps its edge with a constant sense of threat: Heather has a limited amount of time left to live, and the cops and Russians pursuing David are sometimes a step ahead of him. As in the previous series entry, there’s plenty of medical terminology, but it’s generally comprehensible, as David explains much of it to White. Van Anderson also offers striking details, as when David vividly describes a gruesome wound that he suffered during the events of the last book.
A commendable thriller that makes its medical science riveting and exhilarating.