Stigma

Philip Hawley, Author
Philip Hawley, Author Harper Torch $7.99 (482p) ISBN 978-0-06-088744-5
Reviewed on: 01/01/2007
Release date: 03/01/2007
Open Ebook - 978-0-06-185669-3
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In this solid debut thriller, a troubled doctor gets caught up in a global conspiracy after a mysteriously afflicted four-year-old Guatemalan boy dies on his watch. Pediatric ER physician Luke McKenna's curiosity is piqued when it seems the child's symptoms don't match any known disease; he's more intrigued, however, when hospital administrators and Guatemalan officials whisk away the child's body before McKenna can perform a postmortem investigation. While trying to beat back haunting, at times debilitating memories of his time in a shadowy military organization, McKenna continues to pursue the child's case, attracting the attention of a professional killer and the men behind him. It isn't until McKenna's framed for the murders of a former girlfriend and a football player that the good doctor becomes certain a conspiracy's afoot. From there, McKenna's on the run, using his old military training and contacts, as well as his medical expertise, to evade the cops and killers, get to Guatemala, try to uncover the forces he's up against and face his personal demons. Despite some clunky expository dialogue (practically a genre requisite) and a disappointing ending, Hawley delivers intense action, tricky plotting and an unpredictable hero sure to satisfy anyone with an appetite for a good page-turner. (Mar.)

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