cover image Patient 002

Patient 002

Floyd Skloot, . . Rager Media, $19.95 (288pp) ISBN 978-0-9792091-6-1

Medical research subjects get the shaft before striking back in Skloot's latest, an amusing and absorbing novel that pits a motley crew of Davids against a callous corporate Goliath. Sam Kiehl, a 42-year-old Vietnam vet and political analyst, signs up for a double-blind placebo-controlled study at an esteemed research center in Oregon after being diagnosed with herpes. The curiously named pharmaceutical company, Physicians for Ethical Research (PER), is optimistic over its promising drug, Zomalovir. Sam soon strikes up a romance with his massage therapist, Jessica Foster, but after PER goes bankrupt and cancels the Zomalovir study, the distraught subjects (including Sam) resort to desperate measures to continue receiving treatment. Skloot, the author of three novels, three memoirs and five volumes of poetry, treats the complicated and often absurd protocols of drug studies with an authoritative, compassionate touch. The balance of humor, romance and cold observation makes for a commendable yarn. (Apr.)