Bitter Paradise: A Dr. Zol Szabo Medical Mystery

Ross Pennie. ECW, $15.95 trade paper (352p) ISBN 978-1-77041-465-5
Pennie’s fascinating fifth Dr. Zol Szabo medical mystery (after 2017’s Beneath the Wake) finds Canadian medical investigator Szabo, an infectious disease specialist, and his coworker and fiancée, Natasha Sharma, facing what could be “the biggest public-health circus... since that mad-cow debacle.” The sudden appearance of a virus with polio-like symptoms has the citizens of Hamilton, Ont., terrified. The epidemic’s first three cases came from an elementary school: two pupils recovered, but a teacher’s aide died. With the death toll rising, Szabo sets out to discover the identity and origin of the virus as well as why it emerged in Hamilton. A subplot concerns the murder of Marwan, a Syrian barber, who was knifed to death in front of Szabo’s 14-year-old son. This murder seems tame in contrast to the dramatic and surprising twists and turns of Szabo’s search for answers regarding the viral infection. Retired surgeon and pediatrician Pennie, himself an expert on infectious diseases, injects the narrative with authenticity and a sense of urgency. Michael Crichton fans will be pleased. (May)
Reviewed on : 02/21/2020
Release date: 05/01/2020
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
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