In this novel, based in part on the author’s legal experiences, a lawyer goes after two crooked doctors who have been performing unnecessary surgeries at a small-town hospital in Tennessee.
Doctors English and Herman have a good scam going. Herman informs patients that they need to have their gall bladders removed, then refers the patients to English, who performs the surgeries. Both doctors get paid handsomely, and the patients never realize there wasn’t anything wrong with their gall bladders in the first place. Things are going well until Dr. Patel, an osteopath at the hospital, wonders why a patient of English and Herman’s isn’t being sent to a bigger hospital, even though the patient’s rapidly deteriorating condition clearly suggests she should. Herman’s refusal to move her causes Patel to suspect he’s covering up something, but when Patel raises an objection with hospital administration, she quickly finds herself out of a job. When she talks to a lawyer, other cases come to light and eventually find their way to Benjamin Davis, an aggressive former Brooklynite now practicing law in Nashville. But English and Herman have assembled an impressive legal team of their own; someone on the defense side has even hired thugs to intimidate Davis, so he and his team face considerable effort—and danger—as they work tirelessly in their pursuit of justice. Written in crisp, clear prose, Turk’s debut novel is rich with legal detail. Sometimes, those details are a bit too rich, as the courtroom scenes seem to include every motion, question, instruction to the jury, etc. While fascinating from a legal perspective, these details cause pacing issues and, at times, drag the narrative to a crawl. The subplot involving the thugs who terrorize Davis and his team feels tacked on, and it never properly resolves. However, the quality of the writing coupled with the insider’s view of the cases—Turk is a retired attorney, and the novel is based on actual cases from his career—mostly make up for these shortfalls.
Sometimes slow but always well-written and full of detail.