Deadly Care: 8

Leonard S. Goldberg, Author
Leonard S. Goldberg, Author Dutton Books $23.95 (336p) ISBN 978-0-525-94092-0
Mass Market Paperbound - 416 pages - 978-0-451-18742-0
Paperback - 416 pages - 978-0-451-98368-8
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-1-56876-055-1
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A plethora of technical forensic detail adds much-needed gloss to a medical thriller involving largely two-dimensional characters. Heroine Joanna Blalock (also seen in Deadly Practice and Deadly Medicine) is head of forensic pathology at an L.A. hospital where her chock-full autopsy schedule has become even busier because of some sudden, in-hospital deaths: a leukemia patient awaiting a bone-marrow transplant suddenly succumbs, as does a woman whose breast cancer had appeared to be in remission. Aided by computer modeling, Julia tries to identify a corpse with missing fingertips and every facial bone broken. Do the deaths have anything to do with the HMO to which the victims belonged? After a vicious killer forces her car off a hilly road, Joanna recovers--but with amnesia. She is saved from another attempt on her life when a homeless woman hides her in a deserted Venice Beach building. Joanna and her on-again, off-again lover, LAPD Lieutenant Jake Sinclair, have a climactic face-off with the killer and the chief villain (whose identity will not be a surprise); and we learn of yet another dastardly plot to kill sick people for profit. The writing is at best serviceable (""They were cornered, imprisoned like in a container""), but Goldberg, a celebrated pathologist and professor at the UCLA Medical Center, engages us with enough convincing and engaging shop talk to keep this thriller off the coroner's table. Major ad/promo; author tour. (Mar.)
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