cover image Letting Blood

Letting Blood

Richard Platt. St. Martin's Press, $14.95 (176pp) ISBN 978-0-312-02941-8

Perhaps it was just a matter of time before AIDS became a viable murder weapon in a medical mystery. Dr. Archer Rush Montana is an epidemiologist and head of infection control for a hospital group in Pennsylvania. Monty's wife Molly, also a doctor, grows suspicious as physicians affiliated with the Philadelphia hospital begin dying untimely and unexplained deaths. More questions are raised when Vanning Epps, renowned philanthropist who's neither a homosexual nor a drug user, dies suddenly of AIDS. The Montanas think Epps received contaminated blood, but hospital officials assure them that the blood labeling system is foolproof. The ensuing investigation, spearheaded by the wealthy man's widow, places Montana's career and family in jeopardy. This first novel from a husband-and-wife team (both are physicians) displays an intimate knowledge of hospital procedure, but aspects of the plot are awkwardly handled. Molly's initial doubts, for instance, are delivered off-hand, as though she and Monty are arguing baseball statistics instead of a possible murder conspiracy. Still, once the story gets rolling, the book develops a strong momentum. (Sept.)