By: Christina McDonald
Publication Date: 02/16/2021
My Rating: 5 Stars +++
Top Books of 2021
From the USA Today bestselling author of Behind Every Lie and The Night Olivia Fell comes an unforgettable novel about the lengths one woman will go to save her son.
Even good people.
Emma loves her life. She’s the mother to a precocious kindergartener, married to her soulmate—a loyal and loving detective—and has a rewarding career as a doctor at the local hospital.
But everything comes crashing down when her son, Josh, is diagnosed with a rare form of cancer.
Get addicted to bad things
Determined to save Josh, Emma makes the risky decision to sell opioids to fund the life-saving treatment he needs. But when somebody ends up dead, a lethal game of cat and mouse ensues, her own husband leading the chase. With her son’s life hanging in the balance, Emma is dragged into the dark world of drugs, lies, and murder. Will the truth catch up to her before she can save Josh?
A timely and moving exploration of a town gripped by the opioid epidemic, and featuring Christina McDonald’s signature “complex, emotionally intense” (Publishers Weekly) prose, Do No Harm examines whether the ends ever justify the means…even for a desperate mother.
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"A stellar work of psychological suspense that will leave you breathless."
From the author of The Night Olivia Fell and Behind Every Lie comes another brilliantly crafted psychological cat-and-mouse compulsive thriller that will keep you guessing from the first page— (love her prologues) to the explosive, jaw-dropping ending.
"Does the END justify the means?
Set in the small town of Skamania, Emma is a doctor and married to Nate, a detective, and they have an adorable young son, Josh (a fan of Star Wars), who is in kindergarten.
They do not have a lot of money due to school loans and rent a home from Nate's mother, but they have a good life. Emma's life has not been easy. She and her brother became orphans when their parents were killed in a car accident. Her brother has been in trouble, rehab, and prison, and she tried everything to help him. Now he is out of jail.
Emma and Nate receive the worst news. Their son has a rare form of leukemia. To save his life, he must have a treatment that is not covered by their insurance. The cost will be more than $98,000 plus continued care. What will they do? They cannot let their son die. They have no way to attain this kind of money.
Emma decides to write prescriptions from other doctors and calls her ex-boyfriend Gabe to hook her up with a distributor. (her brother's best friend).
She was going to have to set up an OxyContin drug ring on her own. She works up a scheme to have her contact sell the drugs to pay for her son's treatment. However, things do not go as planned, and she soon finds herself in the middle of a murder, drug rings, and constant danger.
She risks it all to save her son.
Her husband, Nate, is working on a case that is a little too close for comfort. Her brother Ben is connected to a crime. Soon Emma finds herself dealing with drug rings, creepy warehouses, murder, overdoses, and runs the risk of getting caught. Then she will lose her job, and if her husband discovers her scheme, he will lose his job. They must save Josh. She thinks if she can just get his treatment, she will stop.
We meet everyday people who are hooked on oxy due to their pain management. They can no longer get the scripts from their doctors and turn to the dark side to attain them, which may not be safe.
She thinks if she can just get enough money to save her son and she will stop. However, the danger starts closing in, and she does not know whom to trust. She took an oath to do no harm. Does the end justify the means?
INTENSE! The author is a pro at writing emotionally topics of mothers, their struggles and saving their children— combined with gripping plots and rich characterization. A terrifying dilemma for two parents who took oaths to serve and proposes the question —how far we would go to protect those we love?
"Some criminals are born. Others are formed by circumstances."
Filled with sharp insights, a gripping tale of marriage, parenting, families, secrets, addiction, greed, and the healthcare and the severe destructive opioid crisis — ripped from today's headlines.
You will fall in love with little Josh and his courageous fight with cancer.
Christina McDonald delivers her BEST yet!!!! A multi-layered plot with twists and turns with each turning page keeping you on the edge of your seat. You know something dark and sinister is coming; however, you are unsure how it will play out.
I am a massive fan of the author's work, but trust me, this one is "off the charts great!" If you can only read one thriller this year, DO NO HARM is the one! OMG! Once you start reading, you will NOT be able to put this one down. Compelling, dark, twisty, and a definite must-read!
If you loved "Breaking Bad" (a huge fan), crossing moral lines, DO NO HARM is even better. Movie-worthy.
Be prepared to be WOWED!! It will force you to take a serious look at the opioid crisis from the inside out, and propose a question for families everywhere: How far would you go when trying to protect your child from dying?
Get this one on your pre-order list now. Positioned to be one of the best thrillers of 2021. For fans of Lisa Gardner, Lisa Unger, Hank Phillippi Ryan, and Karin Slaughter.
A special thank you to Gallery Books and NetGalley for an advanced reading copy.
On a side note:
DO NOT HARM is thought-provoking and makes for an ideal book club pick and further discussions. This of course is a work of fiction; however, it resonates and rings true with our today's social and political environment.
Thinking about "Does the End Justify the Means."
Our world continues to justify their wrongs for their personal outcome. As in the financial giants during the financial recession of 2008-2009 when banks and mortgage investors, created a problem of moral hazard where the party that creates the achieved desired end result by manipulating the means.
The big-Pharm continues along this path, as well as the food and health industry, and we are seeing this daily in our politics.
People want to appear to be doing something good enough even if they have no intention of doing so, or achieving an end result that far outweighs how they got there; what road they took; and whether their behavior was ethical or not.
I read once something that stuck with me: "The reason the means are important, maybe more important than the ends, is how we get to our goal is just as important as getting there. In other words, destiny tells us what we are to the world, but journey tells who we are; it’s the journey that unlocks our potential and establishes who we are as a person and what motivates us towards action."
DO NOT HARM Top Books 2021
BEHIND EVERY LIE Top Books of 2020 (View My Q&A)
THE NIGHT OLIVIA FELL Top Books of 2019 (View my Q&A)
“Do No Harm is a pulse-pounding deep dive into the dark heart of addiction. The stakes couldn’t be higher in this smart, breathlessly-paced, and emotional novel about love, family, and how far we’ll go when our child’s life hangs in the balance. Riveting, ripped from the headlines, and not to be missed.”
—Lisa Unger, New York Times bestselling author of Confessions on the 7:45
“Christina McDonald has a real talent for bringing suburban domestic suspense to life, and showcases it to great effect in Do No Harm. Tense, taut, and absolutely unmissable, you’ll find yourself wondering how far YOU would go to save your child’s life.”
—J.T. Ellison, New York Times bestselling author of Lie to Me
“McDonald takes the heart-wrenching premise that has become her trademark and ratchets it up a notch in Do No Harm, blurring the lines between good and evil in a doctor desperate to save her sick child. A gripping, emotional roller coaster with a sting in the tail.”
—Kimberly Belle, internationally bestselling author of The Marriage Lie
“Christina McDonald knows how to pack an emotional punch! Do No Harm is a riveting, thought-provoking novel that keeps you reading even as it breaks your heart. This might be my favorite book by McDonald yet.”
—Samantha Downing, USA Today bestselling author of My Lovely Wife
“With her trademark emotionally gripping, outstanding writing, Christina McDonald tackles the moral and ethical lines crossed by a doctor desperate to save her child. A stunning gut-punch of a suspense novel, Do No Harm expertly merges the dangers of the opioid crisis with a mother’s love, leaving readers gasping for more. A breathtaking read.”
—Samantha M. Bailey, #1 bestselling author of Woman on the Edge
“Nobody writes motherhood like Christina McDonald. Her third novel, Do No Harm, is a riveting thriller which braids the complexities of modern parenting with the pressures of finding a moral centre in a devastating opioid crisis. Heartrending, heart-pounding and fearless to the last word.” —Amber Cowie, author of Loss Lake
“Gripping and unflinching, Do No Harm explores the ferocity of a mother’s love – and shows, in heartbreaking detail, how she’ll risk everything to save her child.”
—Sarah Pekkanen, New York Times bestselling author
“Devastating, heartbreaking, and incredibly timely – this risky and brilliant examination of when the ends justify the means will captivate you from moment one. The talented Christina McDonald dissects the crumbling marriage of two good people, and reveals how love and obsession can combine to destroy even the most perfect family. As a doctor’s vow of “do no harm” twists into “do whatever it takes,” you’ll be riveted by this thought-provoking and tragically believable story.”
—Hank Phillippi Ryan USA Today Bestselling author
“A gripping page-turner with a heart wrenching moral quandary at its core. Do No Harm is tense, moving, and disturbingly relevant.”
—Robyn Harding, Internationally Bestselling Author, The Swap
About the Author
Christina McDonald is the USA Today bestselling author of Behind Every Lie and The Night Olivia Fell (Simon & Schuster/Gallery Books), which has been optioned for television by a major Hollywood studio. Her third book, Do No Harm, is available February 2021.
Her writing has been featured in The Sunday Times, Dublin, USAToday.com, and Expedia. Originally from Seattle, WA, she has an MA in Journalism from the National University of Ireland Galway, and now lives in London, England with her husband, two sons, and their dog, Tango. She’s currently working on her next novel.
Christina enjoys reading, hiking and lifting weights at the gym. She always wanted to be a writer, and told her earliest stories to her two younger sisters, who were her first audience, cheerleaders and sounding board. She has a BA in Communications from the University of Washington, Seattle and an MA in Journalism from the National University of Ireland, Galway.
Going to college in Ireland wasn’t part of the master plan, but happened randomly when Christina went travelling and arrived completely jet lagged at Heathrow Airport in London, caught sight of the Aer Lingus desk, and spontaneously bought a ticket to Ireland. She loved it so much she went back the following year to study.
She is currently writing her next novel. Read More