Former internist Gerritsen debuts with a tale of medical suspense as taut and well-plotted as it is formulaic. Abby DiMatteo is a talented surgical resident at Boston's Bayside Hospital, with a thoracic-surgeon boyfriend on the transplant team and a shot at a coveted fellowship. But her future is threatened when she joins forces with the idealistic Chief Resident to make sure that a heart available for transplant goes to a deserving teen rather than to the wife of billionaire industrialist Victor Voss. Then, miraculously, Nina Voss gets a heart, too. When Nina develops a fever, Ahby looks for the donor records and finds them missing. She calls the hospital where the harvest allegedly was done and is told the operation never took place, but the close-knit Bayside transplant team doesn't take her concerns seriously. Meanwhile, one surgeon commits suicide, and Abby discovers that two others have died suspiciously in the last six years. Could there be an illegal organ-procurement ring at the prestigious hospital? As Abby's suspicions rise, mysterious events cause her to lose her credibility: Accused of a mercy-killing, she is relieved of her duties. Abby and a sympathetic detective follow a string of clues and end up at a freighter docked in Boston Harbor, where they're shot at by Russian mobsters. They escape, but Abby is later abducted and taken back to the freighter. It turns out to be a prison where a number of youths—kidnapped from the former Soviet Union—are held until their organs are harvested as part of a large, vicious conspiracy. Help arrives eventually, but not until Abby herself is strapped to the operating table. Canny readers will guess what's up early on, but most won't care a bit. The pages turn themselves as this far-from-superhuman heroine tries, in vain, to convince the world that she's not paranoid: Everyone really is out to get her.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-671-55301-1

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Pocket

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1996

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

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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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A strict report, worthy of sympathy.


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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