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  • Writer's pictureJudith D Collins

Doing Harm

Publisher: Macmillan Audio
Publication Date: 2/4/2014
ISBN: 1427236291
Format: Audio
My Rating: 5 Stars
“It's amazing that there are so many different ways to die in a hospital that have nothing to do with being sick…”
Steve Mitchell, happily married with a wife and two kids, is in line for a coveted position at Boston's University Hospital when his world goes awry. His over-reaching ambition causes him to botch a major surgery, and another of his patients mysteriously dies. Steve’s nightmare goes from bad to worse when he learns that the mysterious death was no accident but the act of a sociopath. A sociopath he knows and who has information that could destroy Steve’s career and marriage. A sociopath for whom killing is more than a means to an end: it’s a game. Because he is under a cloud of suspicion and has no evidence, he knows that any accusations he makes won’t be believed
So he must struggle to turn the tables, even as the killer skillfully blocks his every move. Detailing the politics of hospitals, the hierarchy among doctors and the life and death decisions that are made by flawed human beings, Doing Harm marks the debut of a major fiction career.

My Review

A medical thriller, which kept me listening, on the edge of my seat, until the end of the epilogue and closing interview with the author. A gripping debut for a major fiction career for Parsons!
The audiobook narrator, Robert Petkoff, was a solid reader with a soothing voice, and his performance of some of the patients - a total riot with his sarcastic tones and character private thoughts. Would highly recommend the audiobook, as a narrator can make or break a book, and in this case, Petkoff had it on the mark.
Kelly Parsons, a board certified urologist definitely knows the medical jargon, and apparently gets the writer and mystery thriller diagnosis on the money, with DOING HARM. (Will keep you second guessing hospitals and doctors, for sure).
The main character Dr. Steve Mitchell, senior surgical resident at a prestigious Boston University Hospital loves power and control, is ambitious, cocky, and as most residents, overworked and sleep deprived. He is married to a smart and intelligent wife, Sally, who gave up her high powered job to stay home with the two young daughters, and finds out she is pregnant soon after the book begins.
Two strong powerful women characters - protagonist (Sally) and antagonist (Gigi) –both interacting with the main character Steve, who finds himself in the middle of a nightmare from hell, and is unsure how to escape and save his reputation and family.
With an array of medical complications, botched surgery and deaths coming one after another – all pointing towards him, the competent and powerful doctor, begins to second guess himself, especially with the lethal dosage of potassium, which seem to be ordered by no other than himself.
As his patients begin dying, Steve realizes that the deaths are not accidents, and he has to stop the deaths before his professional future is irrevocably destroyed…but he can’t tell anyone what is happening without risking both his career and his family.
Worn down, Steve has a one-time affair before he realizes she is a dangerous femme fatale intern, sociopath, with a vindictive and psychotic plan to further her career, holding all the cards with an extensive blackmail scheme, involving even more deaths.
Steve does not know whom to trust. The stakes are high, adrenaline rush kicking in, fear, and mystery. She challenges him to a game,where if he wins someone lives, if he loses, well, they're dead. Steve is aware he is being set up by this cold blooded psychopath who is forcing him to play a game of cat and mouse (even though he hates cats), strategy before they kill another patient.
So loved the funny and sarcastic brilliant lines of Steve’s thoughts throughout the book, keeping me laughing through all the intense scenes. I can only image doctors’ thoughts about patients and their families. With Steve’s undergraduate degree in computer science and hacking, came in handy with his hunt to nail this crazy intern, along with his partner in crime, Louise and his intriguing background..
The plot was well developed, full of suspense, action packed, realistic, page-turning, and fascinating medical terms explained, and character development was right on.
An accurate behind the scenes of a hospital, where doctors hold your life in their hands – no wonder they are on a power trip. Makes you wonder what is in the IVs and if you can trust anyone in the medical field – surgeries gone wrong – wonder why? Keeps you guessing . . . hope there is a sequel.
With the insights into the real world of doctors and hospitals, Kelly definitely gave this thriller life, with all the ingredients for a successful career as a mystery medical thriller author (dual career), as good as James Patterson, and the best of the best -- one I plan on following.
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