Practice to Deceive

Timothy Miller, Author Dutton Books $19.95 (272p) ISBN 978-1-55611-251-5
Plastic surgeon Miller's first novel reworks the classic struggle between good and evil within the context of L.A.'s medical community. His altruistic protagonist, Lionel Stern, is a plastic surgeon who spurns the lucrative rewards of refashioning rich clients to focus instead on such humanitarian goals as performing reconstructive surgery on deformed children. Stern is ideologically opposed to slick Morris Gold, a self-aggrandizing plastic surgeon. When a stewardess comes to Lionel for a second opinon on Dr. Gold's experimental breast surgery, Lionel and his emotionally ambivalent lover, Casey Crawford, set out to investigate suspicious practices at the Gold Institute. At times Miller gets ahead of himself by accelerating the pace without sorting out his many subplots. We never get a clear sense of the problems in Lionel's relationship with Casey, only that her rejection of him leaves him open for seduction by Dr. Gold's amorous partner. Yet the author does dole out several unexpected developments, including a clever drug-smuggling scheme tied in with breast surgery. It's an ingenious touch to complete a bracing thriller. Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club selections. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 04/01/1991
Release date: 04/01/1991
Mass Market Paperbound - 978-0-425-13206-7
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