I have been a voracious reader almost since I was first taught to read and I am always on the lookout for new authors. Doing Harm by Kelly Parsons is about as credible a first effort as I have run across in years.
The book is centered around Chief Resident Steve Mitchell, a surgeon:
Chief resident Steve Mitchell is the quintessential surgeon: ambitious, intelligent, confident. Charged with molding a group of medical trainees into doctors, and in line for a coveted job, Steve’s future is bright. But then a patient mysteriously dies, and it quickly becomes clear that a killer is on the loose in his hospital. A killer set on playing a deadly game with Steve. A killer holding information that could ruin his career and marriage. Now, alone and under a cloud of suspicion, Steve must discover a way to outsmart his opponent and save the killer’s next victim before the cycle repeats itself again and again…
The story begins almost as a hospital procedural, evoking memories of Michael Crichton but then it gains its footing as a hospital based detective mystery, with Mitchell first investigating deaths that are being blamed on him through his discovery of the real killer and his efforts to both thwart future killings while bringing the killer to justice.
Parsons’ knowledge of medicine and experience as a doctor is evident from the opening pages (he is a board certified urologist.) The problems of overworked medical residents and the often seemingly high school clique nature of medical staffs are interwoven in this tale. With his experience so evident, I was most surprised by the various doctor and surgeon characters without the stereotypical backgrounds in biology and chemistry but I have to assume Parsons pulls these backgrounds from his own experiences.
This was a mostly quick moving, suspenseful story. If I have any complaints about it, there are a couple of spots where the minutiae of the medical terms and experiences bogs down the actual story and mystery. I hesitate to get too specific about things as I do not want to detract from the story and give away too many plot twists although I will state that in some respects, I was reminded of the black comedy movie The Hospital.
Photo from Denise Krebs licensed under Creative Commons