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It’s hard to put this novel into a category. It could be called a medical story. It could be a mystery. There’s a military aspect. It definitely has suspense. There are hints that there could be some paranormal activity. Together, all of these elements made for a fast-paced story that was hard to put down.
Retired Naval doctor Peter Crane is asked to make a medical diagnosis of what is afflicting the workers on an oil rig in the Atlantic Ocean near Greenland. When he arrives, he finds that it is not really an oil rig, but something totally different, something that is top-secret. By this point, Peter really wishes he had never agreed to come. He is being tracked everywhere that he goes, and has no way to leave. It will take every bit of his wits and ability to survive this assignment.
Dr. Petros Sperelakis is an internal medicine physician who helped start the Beaumont Clinic, a hospital specializing in diagnosing and treating terminal illnesses. When Petros is in an auto accident that leaves him comatose, his four children rush to be with him. It is doubtful that Petros will regain consciousness. Three of his children are okay with turning off the devices that are keeping their father alive. Only Thea, the daughter who has devoted her life to Doctors Without Borders in the Congo, disagrees. She believes that her father is actually conscious and aware of his surroundings, but unable to communicate. As she finds a way to “talk” with him, questions begin to arise. Was the car accident really an accident? Is the tight security around the hospital’s patients’ medical records abnormal? Did her father know something that someone doesn’t want revealed?
I listened to an abridged audio version of this book. The narrator, Franette Liebow, did a masterful job of speaking exactly as a person with Asperger’s Syndrome (Thea) would – somewhat flat and a bit staccato. Everything was very logical and literal for her. Throughout the novel, you could see the situation through her eyes. Her brother, Dimitri, also had Asperger’s, but we were not permitted to see into his mind.
There was a bit of language and some sexual content, which I basically skipped over for the most part by jumping to the next CD track. (Each track was 60 seconds or less, so there was not much lost.) There was also a gory scene at one point, which could make some readers feel squeamish. But overall, I found it to be a good medical mystery-thriller and the villain someone I did not suspect.
About the author: Michael Palmer was an internal medicine physician himself, first working in his own practice, and later working in an emergency room. After a failed marriage and a series of knee surgeries, Michael became addicted to alcohol and pain medication, and lost his job. He got psychiatric help for his problems, and began writing as a form of therapy. Later, he began to do interviews and bring awareness to the issue of substance abuse among physicians. In 2013 he suffered a heart attack and died, but he leaves behind many medical novels.
This novel by Brandilyn Collins highlights the issue of Lyme Disease. The main character, Janessa, is married to an influential medical researcher, Brock McNeil, who believes that the condition is easy to treat, and that there is no such thing as Chronic Lyme Disease. Then Janessa is bit by a tick that is purposely placed on her while she sleeps. Almost overnight she becomes so ill that she can’t take care of her daughter. Her husband doesn’t believe she really has Lyme Disease. Janessa struggles to find someone who can properly diagnose her.
The descriptions of how the tick bite is affecting Janessa’s body are so vivid that you can almost feel them yourself. It doesn’t seem that one tick bite could turn a person into an invalid, but the story is very true-to-life. In fact, the author herself has struggled with Lyme Disease, not once but twice. That is why this book is so compelling. If you’re looking for a fast-paced medical thriller to read, look no farther than “Over The Edge”.