Life Support US

September 1997
400 Pages
ISBN-10: 0671553046
ISBN-13: 978-0671553043

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Life Support UK

Life Support (US)

New York Times bestselling author Tess Gerritsen weaves authenticity into another novel of searing medical suspense, as a dedicated woman doctor probes into the cause of a mystifying and lethal outbreak.

“Grabs you and holds you from one … be prepared to drop all your obligations until you finish.” — John Saul

The overnight ER rotation at Springer Hospital suits Dr. Toby Harper just fine-until its calm is shattered by a man Toby admits one quiet night. Delirious and in critical condition from a possible viral infection of the brain, he barely responds to treatment…and then he disappears without a trace. But before Toby can find her missing patient, a second case occurs, revealing a chilling twist: evidence of an infection that can only be spread through direct tissue exchange.

Soon Toby’s on a trail that winds from a pregnant sixteen-year-old prostitute to an unexpected tragedy in her own home. Only then does she discover the unthinkable: an evil, deadly design to the frightening epidemic.

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Read by George Guidall

Praise

Publishers Weekly

Proving that the world of microbiology is a fertile medium for horror, Gerritsen follows Harvest, her bestselling hardcover debut, with this spine-tingling medical chiller. Toby Harper, an overworked 38-year-old night-shift ER physician at a private Boston hospital, inadvertently allows a 76-year-old man with strange neurological symptoms to wander off and disappear into the night. She soon finds herself caught in a web of intrigue that centers around experimental anti-aging treatments administered by Dr. Carl Wallenberg, an imperious endocrinologist at Brant Hill, a retirement community catering to aging but upscale clientele. After a second elderly man from the same residential population dies with similar symptoms, Harper, fearful of a threat to public health, demands an autopsy over Dr. Wallenberg’s objections. The postmortem reveals the cause of death as Creutzfeldt-Jakob (Mad Cow) Disease, and Harper wins an ally in the medical examiner. Despite the best efforts of the Brant Hill management to thwart her, Harper uncovers a trail pointing to the “age rejuvenation” experiments. Suddenly but not surprisingly, her already overburdened life falls apart. A sympathetic Brant Hill doctor is murdered while trying to reach her; and she is accused of the physical abuse of her Alzheimer’s-afflicted mother. Underlying the chase is a subplot involving a pair of mysteriously impregnated prostitutes. The pieces in this adeptly crafted medical Rubik’s cube don’t click into place until the final page. Gerritsen, who was a practicing physician, and who honed her novelistic skills writing Harlequin Romances, adeptly integrates medical details into a taut and troubling thriller. Author tour; simultaneous S&S audio release.