British author Bauer's highly original mystery boasts two unusual protagonists. The first is Sam Galen, a man in a coma ("I'm asleep and I cannot tell you how hard I try to wake up"). The other is Patrick Fort, who has Asperger's syndrome. Patrick has trouble interacting with people, but thanks to a disability quota, he has been admitted as a medical student to Cardiff University in Wales. In an anatomy class, Patrick and four other students learn to dissect a cadaver (identified only by number) and discover the cause of death. Patrick risks everything to make the correct diagnosis, even when his efforts could not only get him expelled but also threaten his life. Bauer (Blacklands) brilliantly captures both the horror and helplessness of Sam's being mentally alive in an unresponsive body, as well as the mystification Patrick suffers in virtually all dealings with others. Even without the author's absorbing storytelling, this standalone deserves attention for sheer inventiveness. Agent: Jane Gregory, Gregory & Company (U.K.). (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 08/10/2015 Release date: 08/01/2015 Genre: Fiction
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