cover image Doctors and Friends

Doctors and Friends

Kimmery Martin. Berkley, $27 (384p) ISBN 978-1-984802-86-6

Martin’s riveting latest (after The Antidote to Everything) focuses on a group of doctors during a pandemic. Infectious disease expert Kira Marchand is on vacation in Spain with her friends from medical school when she hears about an unusual illness, and the group encounters two sick people. The artiovirus, which in some cases leads to a rapid-onset dementia dubbed “AAROD” (“with apologies to Alex Rodriquez,” Kira quips), turns out to be in the family that Kira and her erstwhile lover Declan, who develops vaccines, have been studying. In the days before and after their returns from their trip, the group of friends and their loved ones are felled by varying degrees: Compton, an emergency-room doctor in New York who recovers from a case of artiovirus she contracted in Spain, struggles with losing her husband and caring for her children while also working nonstop. Hannah, an OB-GYN, finally conceives after trying for years, and looks forward to delivering their friend Georgia’s baby, but the virus puts them in danger. Kira, who advises the White House à la Anthony Fauci, reflects on a heart-wrenching ethical dilemma involving her ailing son and daughter. An ER doctor, Martin fills the hospital scenes with vivid descriptions and moving moments. This fully realized account of a fictional pandemic manages to convey the deeply personal as well as the bigger picture. (Nov.)