cover image God's Adamantine Fate: A Physician's Battle Against Man's Ultimate Evil

God's Adamantine Fate: A Physician's Battle Against Man's Ultimate Evil

Colin Alexander. Dutton Books, $22.5 (368pp) ISBN 978-1-55611-371-0

Written by a pseudonymous West Coast oncologist, this lean and solid thriller mixes an insider's knowledge of the medical profession with a number of refreshing plot twists. Zeke Schwartz, oncologist at Children's Hospital in Trenton, N.J., meets controversial late-night radio talk-show host Acey Henson when one of her young fans develops a rare form of liver cancer and becomes his patient. When two more cases appear in the same area, the hunt is on for a cause and a culprit. Enter Meldrum Products, maker of a new antifungal called Aspergicin, which happens to have spilled into a local creek. Meldrum takes steps to avoid a PR embarrassment but the company is also in a position to expose Acey's radio station to a possible hostile takeover through a corporate alliance with the station's parent company. Alexander juggles all these subplots like an expert; the action has the random feel of real events, and the characters respond like real people. The hospital environment is particularly vivid, complete with power politics, tension and the knotty conflict between the hospital as healing institution and the hospital as business. And though the obligatory romance between Acey and Zeke ends up pretty much as expected, the search for truth that unites them leads to no easy answers. (Nov.)