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David Shobin, Author
David Shobin, Author St. Martin's Press $6.99 (320p) ISBN 978-0-312-97185-4
Reviewed on: 01/31/2000
Release date: 02/01/2000
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Babies in the Newborn Intensive Care Unit of a Long Island hospital are dying at an alarming rate, and the only thing the deaths have in common is that all the patients were covered by the same HMO--AmeriCare. Brad Hawkins, an obstetrician, notices the connection and enlists the help of Dr. Morgan Robinson, an AmeriCare employee, to investigate. At first, the two butt heads over Brad's distrust of managed health care and Morgan's defensiveness about her job, but Morgan soon agrees with Brad's suspicion that the company is taking drastic measure to increase profits. Meanwhile, Morgan has her hands full trying to fend off the amorous advances of Dr. Hugh Britten, a mentally unstable economist and avid skeleton-collector who is on the board of AmeriCare. Britten obtains specimens for his collection from a mysterious dealer who prepares the skeletons--many of them human--by boiling them then using carrion beetles to pick them clean. (Graphic descriptions of this and other unusual procedures, such as the abortion of a headless fetus, may dismay some readers.) Shobin (The Center) nicely integrates his physician background into vivid descriptions of hospital routines, but two-dimensional characters and a far-fetched plot prevent his latest thriller from being the chilling tale of deadly greed that he intends. (Feb.)
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