FICTION

Charlatans

Putnam. Aug. 2017. 448p. ISBN 9780735212480. $27; ebk. ISBN 9780735212497. F
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Cook's (Coma; Host) timely, medical thriller addresses the extensive practice of concurrent/overlapping surgeries. Noah Rothauser has just been appointed the chief surgical resident at Boston Memorial Hospital, a leading teaching facility. William Mason, an egotistical superstar surgeon, performs a routine operation on the hospital's popular director of parking operations, while his surgical team preps two additional patients in adjacent operating rooms. However, the parking director dies during surgery. The notoriously vindictive Dr. Mason scapegoats anesthesiologist Ava London, but as Rothhauser investigates, he uncovers bitter feuds among the surgical staff, Mason's tampering with patient records, and London's reliance on numerous online personae to hide her multiple personality disorder. Two additional anesthesia-related deaths occur. Which doctor is to blame?
VERDICT While the controversial issue of concurrent surgeries makes for a fascinating premise for a thriller, Cook disappointingly uses it as a backdrop for a cleverly written, circuitous plot in which he promotes an increased recognition and use of social media platforms as more effective modes for medical education and certification. [See Prepub Alert, 2/20/17.]

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