Saturday, June 9, 2007

"Shadow of Death"

Patricia Gussin's debut medical suspense novel, Shadow of Death, is a Best First Novel nominee for a Thriller Award, sponsored by the International Thriller Writers.

Gussin applied the "page 69 test" to her novel and reported the following:
"As before her patient was totally still except for the heave of his chest in tandem with the respirator."

Page 69 of Shadow of Death is surprisingly representative of the story. The reader would learn that a boy, Anthony, lay dying and that Laura, the medical student protagonist, is moving toward a collision course liking his fate to hers.

As Laura enters the ward, the lone chair at Anthony's bedside was empty. Laura Nelson's very first patient ever, a victim of the riots that had torn Detroit apart, lay emaciated. Her assignment today was to check his thin, dark skin for decubiti, pressure sores that could lead to gangrene. And she had one more secret objective while on the crowded medical ward. She needed to steal some penicillin from the drug cart. She needed to get up the nerve to inject herself. She'd read that rape victims had a high incidence of venereal disease and that terrified her.

Laura, a first year medical student, had not bargained for the chaos and devastation that riots had brought to Detroit. Unfathomable that she was a victim herself and that she'd …. She couldn't bear to think about what she'd done. And now she had to cover it up. Once she'd examined Anthony, Laura sought out his nurse to discuss how the blotchy sores on Anthony's skin could be better treated. As the nurse patiently explained Anthony's dismal prognosis and chatted about Anthony's family, Laura learns a shocking truth that links her fate inexorably with her patient in a manner unthinkable.
Visit Patricia Gussin's website.

Check out the complete list of books in the Page 69 Test Series.

--Marshal Zeringue