If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, Robin Cook is going to feel just swell after taking a look at Gerritsen’s first novel. It’s been 19 years since Cook published Coma as his own first novel, but that book’s basic elements?as a tale of medical terror in which a feisty young female doctor in Boston foils a medical conspiracy involving the murdering of innocents to harvest their organs?are found in Gerritsen’s novel as well. Along with the requisite amoral medical types goaded by greed, Gerritsen includes Russian mobsters, orphans at deadly risk, a ruthless industrialist, murders disguised as suicides, a bloody climax aboard a Russian freighter in Boston Harbor and some graphic surgical scenes. Surgical resident Abby DiMatteo is on the fast track at Boston’s fictional Bayside Hospital. But after she disobeys orders so she can give a heart transplant to a failing 17-year-old instead of to a failing middle-aged, rich woman, her career options look slim. Fighting back against hospital administrators, shyster lawyers and violent thugs, Abby?spunky but angst-ridden and also rather whiny?finds major discrepancies in the records of Bayside’s organ-transplant procedures. Shocked, she finally learns the truth, experiences a major betrayal and, in the climax, must herself face the final harvest. Gerritsen’s crisp pacing and adept handling of the medical background?she’s a retired internist?add sizzle to the tale, but her characters need life support, the climax is too drawn out and the final revelations will surprise only readers who move their lips. Major ad/promo; film rights sold to Paramount; simultaneous Simon & Schuster Audio; foreign rights sold in the U.K., Germany, Sweden, Holland, Finland, France, Korea, Denmark, Norway, Spain and Italy.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.