The dangerous world of medieval surgery: guest post by author EC Ambrose

ScienceThrillers welcomes E.C. Ambrose, author of a series of thriller-oriented dark fantasy novels about medieval surgery, centered on a barber-surgeon in 14th century London who learns he has an unnatural affinity with death. Ambrose told me, “Part of the fun in writing these books is doing the research and working in authentic details about the surgical practice of the time.” Well, that sounds worthy of a guest blog post, don’t you think?


The Dangerous World of Medieval Surgery
Guest post by E. C. Ambrose

“The Dark Apostle” series, which continues this summer with Elisha Rex, began with research. I needed to know more about medieval wound treatment for another fantasy novel I was writing. Having caught the research bug from an assignment for the Odyssey Writing Workshop, I found a few resources, starting with a paperback popular history work entitled, Devils, Drugs, and Doctors: The Story of the Science of Healing from Medicine Men to Doctor (Classic Reprint) by Howard W. Haggard, M. D. I have the Pocket Book edition of 1940, the 15th printing of a work that first came out in 1929.

It is old and tattered, but what it lacks in footnotes, it makes up for in the human details of the history of medical knowledge and technology. Haggard takes as his guide the changing approaches to childbirth, an area fraught with dangers for both mother and child, and with the kind of high-stakes that make for good reading—and great fodder for fiction. That book led me to many others, in particular, to as many primary sources as I could find: Guy deChauliac’s Chirurgia Magna, Ambroise Paré’s Apologie and Treatise, and various works by Galen, Trotula, and other early medical practitioners. I discovered wonderful blogs like the Chirurgeon’s Apprentice and Brandy Schillace’s medical humanism at dailydose.com.

I started to build an image of the medical understanding of the Middle Ages, from the writings of the practitioners of that time, as well as from the works they would have been familiar with or inspired by. The highly stratified society of that time was reflected in the separate roles of its medical practitioners: the lofty university-educated physicians, the skilled surgeons who were regarded more as craftsmen, and the lowly barber-surgeons.

In addition to cutting hair, barbers pulled teeth and stitched wounds. Under the direction of the physicians, they bled patients to balance their humors, and handled many other minor medical and surgical complaints. In spite of their own apprenticeship system and guild (the College of Barbers), they were looked down on by the others, yet they were at the forefront of illness and trauma, doing their best to aid their patients. Thus, Elisha Barber was born, a compassionate man, peasant-born, in service to the whores and workmen of 14th century London—until he is sent to the front as a battlefield surgeon, to thrive, or to die.

In addition to the medical knowledge of the time, I also had to be sure how these techniques affected the patient, and to give my protagonist a clear understanding of anatomy and surgical practice. A writer-friend of mine who is also a physician became my medical advisor, providing valuable insight and sending specialized sources (like a cutaway view of the leg which helped to orient the amputation scenes). As my character confronts his own problems and the prejudice of the times, he builds relationships and advances in his society, but the works continue to engage with surgical skills—culminating in that most dreaded of operations, the trepanation. But I don’t want to say too much. . .

Researching the fascinating and high-stakes world of medieval surgery brought this character to life, yet it still may be the death of him.


Elaine Isaac

Elaine Isaac as a barber-surgeon

For sample chapters, historical research and some nifty extras, like a scroll-over image describing the medical tools on the cover of Elisha Barber, visit www.TheDarkApostle.com

C. Ambrose blogs about the intersections between fantasy and history at http://ecambrose.wordpress.com/

@ecambrose on Twitter

https://www.facebook.com/ECAmbroseauthor

Buy volume one, Elisha Barber on amazon;

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New release book review: THE FLICKER MEN by Ted Kosmatka

ScienceThrillers.com book review of The Flicker Men by Ted Kosmatka.

Enter raffle to win a copy of this must-read new release!

BlueStar5

(extraordinary; top 10-15% of SciThri)

 

Tech rating (out of 5):

Biohazard5
a Rafflecopter giveaway of THE FLICKER MEN by Ted Kosmatka

Publication date: coming July 21, 2015
Category: science thriller

Summary (from the publisher):

A quantum physicist shocks the world with a startling experiment, igniting a struggle between science and theology, free will and fate, and antagonizing forces not known to exist

Eric Argus is a washout. His prodigious early work clouded his reputation and strained his sanity. But an old friend gives him another chance, an opportunity to step back into the light.

With three months to produce new research, Eric replicates the paradoxical double-slit experiment to see for himself the mysterious dual nature of light and matter. A simple but unprecedented inference blooms into a staggering discovery about human consciousness and the structure of the universe.

His findings are celebrated and condemned in equal measure. But no one can predict where the truth will lead. And as Eric seeks to understand the unfolding revelations, he must evade shadowy pursuers who believe he knows entirely too much already.

ScienceThrillers review:

Quantum tunneling, entanglement and Einstein’s spooky action at a distance, Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle, and the simultaneous existence of light as both particle and wave are a few examples of the profound weirdness of modern physics. Physicists construct mathematical abstractions that predict the ultimate reality of the universe. Not material for an easy work of nonfiction, but rich for the novelist.

Ted Kosmatka weaves these quantum physics ideas as threads in the most interesting science thriller I’ve read this year. This author successfully blurs the line between where the real science ends, and the fiction begins, in a story that is a brilliant extrapolation of the famous double-slit experiment (which you don’t need to know before reading this book, but if you’ve heard of it you’ll find it even more intriguing). According to the great physicist Richard Feynman, all of quantum mechanics can be gleaned from carefully thinking through the implications of the double-slit experiment. As a reader, you needn’t think that hard, but fans of hard sci-fi will love the “red meat” in this story.

The Flicker Men twists the weird implications of the experiment into a narrative that is both surprising and philosophically rich. Rare is the thriller where the seasoned reader can’t predict where the plot is going. Here is one that opens so many possibilities in the first 1/3 of the book that I was simply delighted with anticipation of where the author was going to take me.

Kosmatka’s writing is smart, spare, and occasionally eloquent in a science-y way.

“The homes were low and powerfully built, like short, stocky wrestlers…Front fences crowded the sidewalk. The people on the street here were monochrome, a sign that something was working against diffusion.”

“He’d always had a menacing profile–bony and projecting, like he carried a percentage or two more Neanderthal than average and it had all landed in his face.”

As in Kosmatka’s previous science thriller novel Prophet of Bones, the ending isn’t as strong as the superlative beginning. But The Flicker Men finishes much better than the earlier book. My only complaint is Kosmatka’s tendency in both novels to dangle ideas and connections but not always fully explain them later (a problem that severely weakened Prophet). Sometimes this shows respect for the reader’s intelligence. Other times it leaves the reader hanging. For example, in The Flicker Men Kosmatka suggests a link between the main character’s sister and a woman he encounters later, both of whom have a deformed hand. I was not clever enough to really figure out what was implied (if anything?). Despite such moments of dissatisfaction, the outstanding premise and opening of The Flicker Men is sufficient to make this a five-star read.

The Flicker Men is a singular work of hard SF by one of the most inspired science fiction writers working today. Page after page, The Flicker Men excites the mind with scientific mysteries and quickens the heartbeat with thrills. A physics-themed science thriller that will leave you thinking long after the final page is turned.

If you like The Flicker Men, you’ll love: Schrodinger’s Gat by Robert Kroese.

ScienceThrillers review of Schrodinger’s Gat

FCC disclaimer: An advance reader copy of this book was given to me for review. As always, I made no guarantee that I would read the book or post a positive review.

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How science fiction reflects the concerns of the day

ScienceThrillers welcomes Calum Chace, who shares his thoughts on the timeliness of themes in science fiction. Chace’s new science thriller is certainly part of a strong trend in stories featuring AI.


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How science fiction reflects the concerns of the day

Guest post by Calum Chace, author of Pandora’s Brain, a science thriller about the creation of the first artificial general intelligence, available at Amazon as ebook or paperback.

Science fiction, it is often said, tells you less about what will happen in the future than it tells you about the predominant concerns of the age when it was written. The 1940s and 50s is known as the golden age of science fiction: short story magazines ruled, and John Campbell, editor of Astounding Stories, demanded better standards of writing than the genre had seen before. Isaac Asimov, Arthur C Clarke, AE van Vogt, and Robert Heinlein all got started in this period. The Cold War was building up, but the West was emerging from the destruction and austerity of war, technology was powering consumerism, and the stories were bright and bold and filled with a sense of wonder.

The golden age was followed by an edgier period, as the Cold War got into in full swing. With the surprise launch of Sputnik in 1957, the Soviet Union revealed its disturbing lead in space technology, and a New Wave of writers led by William Burroughs courted controversy, writing about dystopias, sexuality and drugs. Established SF figures like Asimov and Heinlein changed their styles to fit, and innovative new SF authors arrived, including Samuel R Delany, Ursula Le Guin, and JG Ballard.

Cyberpunk burst onto the stage in 1984 with the publication of William Gibson’s Neuromancer. It was becoming clear that computers were going to play a growing role in humanity’s future, and it is one of history’s nice ironies that Gibson managed to make his online world so compelling when he had no experience of the internet and indeed had hardly ever used a computer.

The twenty-first century is said to be post-cyberpunk, but it is perhaps too early to tell what that means. The themes of cyberpunk haven’t gone away, but space opera has returned. SF has also been infected by fantasy, which has become unaccountably popular. Very talented writers like Hannu Rajaniemi (The Quantum Thief) blend it with their hard science so that it is hard to tell where one stops and the other starts.

One of the biggest themes in today’s SF is the creation of conscious machines. This isn’t new, of course: AI has been an important feature of many of SF’s best-loved books and movies, from The Forbin Project to 2001 to the Terminator series. But writers have often failed to grasp the impact that thinking machines will have – if and when they arrive. Christopher Nolan’s ambitious but flawed film Interstellar was a classic example: fully conscious machines were treated as – and behaved as – bit-part slaves, even though their cognitive capabilities clearly exceeded those of their human masters.

Science fiction writers are finding new ways to explore the question of how humans will fare when the first super-intelligence arrives. Hollywood is joining in, with thoughtful movies like Her, Transcendence and Ex Machina. We need more great stories about artificial general intelligence: coping with its arrival may well be the biggest challenge the next generation ever faces.

About the author:

Calum retired in 2012 to focus on writing after a 30-year career in business, in which he was a marketer, a strategy consultant and a CEO. He maintains his interest in business by serving as chairman and coach for growing companies.

He is co-author of The Internet Startup Bible, a business best-seller published by Random House in 2000. He is a regular speaker on artificial intelligence and related technologies, and runs a blog on the subject at www.pandoras-brain.com. He lives in London and Sussex (England) with his partner, a director of a design school, and their daughter. He studied philosophy at Oxford University, where he discovered that the science fiction he had been reading since early boyhood is actually philosophy in fancy dress.

Set in the very near future, Pandora’s Brain features Matt, a shy but engaging and resourceful student who discovers that his recently-deceased father was involved in research that could enable the construction of the world’s first conscious machine.

Matt’s enquiries lead to him being kidnapped, as he is caught in the crossfire between two groups pursuing that goal – one led by an internet billionaire, and another backed by the US military. Matt has to do more than simply survive: he has to harness these powerful forces to his own ends. At stake is his own life and those of his family and friends.

A dramatic seaborne rescue operation, a series of brutal murders and other filmic action scenes follow. In the course of his adventures, Matt discovers that the potential upside of creating machine intelligence includes immortality, and godlike powers of understanding and being – but the potential downside is immediate extinction, or worse. As he is drawn deeper into his adventure, he becomes both the symbol and the victim of a global struggle over the approach to be taken towards this powerful new technology. A landmark decision at a meeting of the UN General Assembly forces Matt to make a fateful decision which sparks the story’s final twist.

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New release book review: THE SIX by Mark Alpert

ScienceThrillers.com book review of YA science fiction thriller The Six by Mark Alpert.

BlueStar5

(extraordinary; top 10-15% of SciThri)

 

Tech rating (out of 5):

Biohazard3

Publication date: July 7, 2015
Category: YA science fiction / techno thriller (ages 12-adult)

Summary (from the publisher):

Adam’s muscular dystrophy has stolen his mobility, his friends, and in a few short years, it will take his life. Virtual reality games are Adam’s only escape from his wheelchair. In his alternate world, he can defeat anyone. Running, jumping, scoring touchdowns: Adam is always the hero.

Then an artificial intelligence program, Sigma, hacks into Adam’s game. Created by Adam’s computer-genius father, Sigma has gone rogue, threatening Adam’s life-and world domination. Their one chance to stop Sigma is using technology Adam’s dad developed to digitally preserve the mind of his dying son.

Along with a select group of other terminally ill teens, Adam becomes one of the Six who have forfeited their bodies to inhabit weaponized robots. But with time running short, the Six must learn to manipulate their new mechanical forms and work together to train for epic combat…before Sigma destroys humanity.

ScienceThrillers review:

After four adult science thrillers, novelist and science journalist Mark Alpert branches out into young adult / teen scientific fiction with The Six.

We can be very glad that he did. The Six is Alpert’s best book to date–and I’m not even a big fan of YA.

The publisher’s summary above does a good job of introducing the plot. What it fails to do is convey how well-constructed this story is, how totally engaging is the teen protagonist. Adam’s fatal condition transforms boring normal teen drama (school, friends, dating, parents) into something more poignant. He is a complex, relatable, interesting person whose expectations of his own future are upended by a risky choice to transfer his mind into a robot.

The mental and emotional challenges that follow the creation of the six “Pioneers” feel supremely realistic. Building a team takes on dangerous urgency when Sigma, the evil AI (artificial intelligence), steps up its timetable for destroying the human race. Tension grows with conflicts among the Pioneers, who are just a bunch of teenagers, and their military handlers.

In addition to a nearly flawless thriller plot, what makes The Six so good is the way Alpert has fully realized his character Adam. Adam is a believable hero from the start. His choices, his actions, and his fears ring true even in the strange, imagined realm of being a disembodied mind. Here, Alpert has done a great job of world-building, of creating the ground rules for how the Pioneers will operate, what their skills and limitations are. The reader is immersed in the “reality” of Adam’s new state, and connects with the teen’s feelings, including the horror that confronts him late in the story…

A lot of books I read because I must. Once I got started with The Six, I devoured it because I wanted to. The Six is a blockbuster of YA science fiction, imaginative and totally immersive. Teen and adult readers will be clamoring for a sequel.

If you like I Am Number Four (Lorien Legacies by Pitticus Lore), you’ll love The Six.

FCC disclaimer: An advance reader copy of this book was given to me for review. As always, I made no guarantee that I would read the book or post a positive review.

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SciThri new releases: June 2015

Here’s the ScienceThrillers.com monthly roundup of newly released, or new to me, indie science & medical thrillers.  These books are among the many I don’t have time to read and review, but genre fans might enjoy.

If you are an author or publicist and would like your book listed, contact me with title, author, release date, weblinks, and summary. Only books with scientific or medical themes or characters will be included. Ask me about hosting a giveaway raffle on your behalf (paper books only).

SciThri New (or new to me) Releases:

Bonus: Book giveaways! Scroll down.

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Block 10 by Stacy Childs (2014). Medical thriller.

Luke Cooper dreamed of flying. He was an Olympic caliber skier with a bright future, when a freak accident ruined his knee, and sent him into suicidal depression. A stranger, Dr. Henri de Salvo, gave him a reason to live, and a new set of “wings,” thanks to an experimental medical treatment. With new focus, Luke turned to a career in medicine, a career that led him to accept an invitation to a secluded clinic in France where de Salvo continued his cutting edge – if morally questionable work.

Lured by the chance to help other athletes recover their lives, intoxicated by smooth cognac, beautiful women and dark intrigue, Luke finds himself drawn into another world. De Salvo has a shadowed past, and powerful enemies, and the French city of Toulon has its dark side. Through amazing medical breakthroughs, run-ins with the Corsican mob, and clubs where men fight for big money – and women, he searches for his own path. The question is, will he survive the journey, and can he live up to the age old medical adage, “First, do no harm,” while following the message of his own heart – “First, do something…”

“Block 10 is an engrossing, intelligent medical thriller on par with the best of Robin Cook. I was hooked from the opening chapter and stayed up late turning the pages. Stacy Childs weaves weighty medical issues with heart pounding tension. I loved it!” -Robert Dugoni – Author of “The Jury Master”

The Hydra by Graham Stull (2015). Indie science/political thriller.

2020. The world watches as biogeneticist Brian Matterosi goes on trial for his life before the International Criminal Court. His crime? To engineer a virus which has swept the globe and sterilised entire populations. Is Matterosi a genius or a madman with a God complex? Only one thing is certain: he is a complicated man with a difficult past.

Nobody would acknowledge that more than Matterosi’s defence attorney, Art Blume, who is spearheading the campaign to save the scientist’s life. Prosecutor Leeton Kgabu has no such difficulty: for him Matterosi is a vicious murderer who deserves death for his crimes against the human race. The world craves justice, and Leeton is determined to see it happen. At all costs.

To Art Blume’s dismay, Brian Matterosi appears intent on helping Kgabu achieve his goal. What dark secrets are driving the scientist to seek his own annihilation? Is he truly the worst mass murderer of mankind or is he its saviour? As the trial progresses, Art discovers he is running out of time to find the truth.

a Rafflecopter giveaway THE HYDRA
Cry of the Phoenix by Jay D. Gregory (2015). Indie science suspense with a dash of spirituality.

A new threat is facing humanity: a virus that grants immortality to the afflicted. As the Human Renaissance Virus touches the population, writer Marcus Avery tries to make sense of a world grappling with the prospect of eternal life. As he digs deep into the stories of HRV patients, Marcus learns the chance at immortality comes at a terrible price, and there are forces at work to make sure that price is paid in full. Cry of the Phoenix is a free fall into a world where the long-coveted idea of immortality becomes first a rapturous reality and then a nightmare from which there is no escape.

Justice Is for the Lonely by Steve Clark (2015). Medical/legal thriller.

A former Dallas football star lies in a coma after heart surgery. When his family sues, alleging gross negligence, millions of dollars and reputations are at stake. Kristen Kerry is surprised when she is assigned to the defense team–until she learns that her job is to entice the doctor’s lawyer, notorious womanizer Michael Stern, into a joint defense, then double-cross him during trial. At the same time, Stern plans on backstabbing Kristen–after he has gotten what he wants. Unknown to either of them, Stern has made an enemy of a partner in his firm, willing to enlist a murderer to extract revenge on both Kristen and Stern. Only Kristen–with her access to hospital records–can identify the killer and save Stern from the death penalty.

Fusion by Gerald Kilby (2015). Indie technothriller.

When Charles Gardner takes his sailboat on a solo trip to Monaco, all he wants is a chance to forget. To recover from his wife’s death. Then he sees something he shouldn’t. A luxury yacht. A beautiful woman. A bullet through the head. But in the playground of the ultra-rich, his word counts for nothing against that of billionaire industrialist Xaing Zhu. Gardner has only two things in his favour: Inspector Madelaine Duchamp, who thinks he just might be telling the truth, and his own skills as a surveillance expert. As the world’s press gathers to cover the the inaugural test of the massive ITER fusion reactor, Charles and Madelaine have only hours to prevent disaster. But first, they have to stay alive.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Do you enjoy thrillers with real science? Read Petroplague by Dr. Amy Rogers. Oil-eating bacteria contaminate the fuel supply of Los Angeles and paralyze the city. “Compellingly written, technically literate” “top 5 on my best of 2011 list” “the science is utterly believable” “I couldn’t put this one down”

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Guest post: Fennimore & Simms forensic thriller series by A.D. Garrett

ScienceThrillers welcomes author A.D. Garrett to tell us about the Fennimore & Simms series of forensic thrillers, in which a forensic expert uses real science to solve crimes. Good stuff–Garrett’s work got starred reviews from Publisher’s Weekly. Believe No One is set in my old hometown of St. Louis, Missouri.

Scroll down to enter to win a signed hardcover copy!


Context is key
Guest post by A.D. Garrett

‘Context is key,’ Professor Nick Fennimore says. ‘Context is everything.’, and he will always insist on seeing the scene – even if years have passed since the murder. In Believe No One, Kate Simms is on assignment with St Louis PD, sharing US/UK expertise. Simms worked closely with Fennimore for years, so when the team discusses an unsolved murder in the blighted projects of East St Louis, she asks to visit the scene.

The building where the murder took place is condemned, but they go anyway. Using crime scene photographs, they establish where the victim died, and where her blood had been spattered and sprayed across the walls. Of course the blood was washed away and any stains painted over years before. But one scene photograph reveals a single drop on the wall unlike the others – it’s low velocity – a drip, rather than spatter. This could be the killer’s blood. And because the team is there – because they have context – they can work out roughly where that drop might have been on the wall. Tracing the path of the droplet, they find a tiny gap between the wall and the skirting board, and identify a brown stain. A power saw makes short work of retrieving the evidence. It’s enough to give them a DNA match on CODIS, and they catch their killer.

The forensic science behind this fictional subplot comes from a real case in Cardiff, South Wales. In 1988, Lynette White was stabbed and slashed over 50 times at a flat in Cardiff. Three men were convicted of her murder and sentenced to life imprisonment. They were released in 1992 after Her Majesty’s Court of Appeal ruled that they had been wrongly convicted. But it wasn’t until 2000 that the case was reopened.

The forensic scientists returned to the scene. The house had changed hands and been repainted several times since Lynette’s White’s murder. Yet fresh forensic evidence was found: ten traces of blood, discovered under layers of paint. DNA techniques weren’t sufficiently advanced at that time to identify the killer, but in 2003, after the development of the Second Generation Mutliplex Plus (SGM+) test, Jeffrey Gafoor was finally identified, confessed to the murder, and is now serving a life sentence. The case later led to the most expensive series of trials ever into police corruption in the UK.

Believe No One is the second novel in the Fennimore & Simms forensic thriller series, available from AmazonUK or for pre-order from amazon US.

For more on A.D. Garrett’s forensic thrillers and informative snippets about the research and forensic background to the novels, visit: www.adgarrett.com
Twitter: @adgarrett1

About A.D. Garrett:
The A.D. Garrett novels feature forensic expert, Professor Nick Fennimore, and Chief Inspector Kate Simms, a former London Met. detective, now based in north west England. I previously published nine psychological thrillers under my own name (Margaret Murphy); I’ve always been a science geek, so I wanted to get the forensics right, and teamed up first with Prof. Andrew Barclay (Head of Physical Evidence at the UK National Crime Faculty for 10 years), and more recently with Helen Pepper, CSI, Crime Scene Manager, and now Senior Lecturer in Policing at Teesside University and advisor on UK television’s VERA and SHETLAND cop series.
a Rafflecopter giveaway of BELIEVE NO ONE by AD Garrett

Believe No One, by A.D. Garrett
Minotaur Books (July 21, 2015)

BELIEVE NO ONE is the sequel to the forensic thriller EVERYONE LIES.

Detective Chief Inspector Kate Simms is on assignment in the United States with St Louis PD, reviewing cold cases, sharing expertise. Forensic expert Professor Nick Fennimore follows her, keen to pick up where they left off after their last case – but the last thing Simms needs is Fennimore complicating her life. A call for help from a sheriff’s deputy takes Fennimore to Oklahoma: a mother is dead, her child gone – and they’re not the only ones. How many more young mothers have been killed, how many more murders unsolved, children unaccounted for?

As Fennimore’s abduction-murder leads back to Simms’s cold case, the investigations merge. Meanwhile, nine-year-old Red, adventuring in Oklahoma’s backwoods, has no clue that he and his mom are in the killer’s sights. But soon the race is on to catch a serial killer and save the boy.

For more on A.D. Garrett’s forensic thrillers and informative snippets about the research and forensic background to the novels, visit: www.adgarrett.com

Reviews
Publishers Weekly STARRED review: ‘Fine attention to forensics and investigative techniques distinguishes this stellar thriller.’

Kirkus: ‘Garrett evoke(s) not only the suspense of serial killings, but an emotional triangle and a tantalizingly unresolved crime that keep the pages flying.’
Library Journal: ‘Recommended for readers who like their British procedurals and forensic thrillers dark and bloody.’

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EATING BULL by Carrie Rubin

Physician-author Carrie Rubin, author of the medical sci-fi thriller The Seneca Scourge (reviewed by ScienceThrillers.com here), has penned another page-turner titled Eating Bull. I had the privilege of reading an early version of this manuscript which draws on the author’s public health experience with obesity. Rubin’s bold use of this unusual subject matter for a thriller makes Eating Bull stand out, along with her portrayal of a less-than-heroic, psychologically wounded young man as the gentle protagonist.

Here’s the deal: Eating Bull is in the running to earn a publishing contract through Kindle Scout, a crowd-sourced nominating system. If this sounds to you like a book that deserves to find an audience–maybe even you–please go to the Kindle Scout page and nominate Eating Bull by Carrie Rubin.

A fight with the food industry turns deadly.

Jeremy, a lonely and obese teenager, shoots into the limelight when a headstrong public health nurse persuades him to sue the food industry. Tossed into a storm of media buzz and bullying, the teen draws the attention of a deranged killer, one who’s targeting the obese. Soon the boy, the nurse, and their loved ones take center stage in a delusional man’s drama.

“A solid thriller that manages to infuse one boy’s coming-of-age with a whole lot of murder.”—Kirkus Reviews

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SciThri new releases: May 2015

Here’s the ScienceThrillers.com monthly roundup of newly released, or new to me, indie science & medical thrillers.  These books are among the many I don’t have time to read and review, but genre fans might enjoy.

If you are an author or publicist and would like your book listed, contact me with title, author, release date, weblinks, and summary. Only books with scientific or medical themes or characters will be included. Ask me about hosting a giveaway raffle on your behalf (paper books only).

SciThri New (or new to me) Releases:

Special this month: Scroll down for book giveaway!

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The Virus by Stanley Johnson. Science thriller (May 2015).

How do you stop an invisible killer?

When a young woman in New York City dies mysteriously after a trip to Brussels, top epidemiologist Lowell Kaplan identifies the cause of death as the Marburg Virus—a fatal strain that has surfaced only once before in history.

Determined to trace the source of the disease, Kaplan follows a trail of intrigue from the labs of Germany to the jungles of Central Africa.

With danger nipping at his heels, and the secrets of the virus’s origin kept deliberately under wraps, Kaplan must go to unimaginable lengths to stop a deadly scheme.


An Angel’s Alternative by Rick Brindle. Indie hospital drama.

Riverside General Hospital, a place of harsh realities.
On Ingram Ward, Staff Nurse John Hunter is a man on the edge. Unable to move on from the recent traumas in his life, pushed to the limit, and liking his job less and less, he makes a drugs error, and questions why he even wants to be a nurse. The incident puts him on a collision course with the hospital’s new matron.
John’s best friend, Australian coronary care nurse, Dave Chiltern, discovers that helping a friend run his pub while he’s unwell can be more rewarding than his current job.
Roxanne Jones, John’s girlfriend and a care assistant on Ingram Ward, is contacted by her former boyfriend, who tries to re-ignite old flames.
Ingram Ward’s Sister, Sarah Ashe struggles to focus on her job after leaving her violent husband.
Facing the impossible expectations of front-line NHS care, the nurses who struggle to save lives and preserve their own sanity as they do so, all face choices of their own. Do the angels have an alternative?

Toro!: An Allie Parsons Novel by Frank Schwalbe. Indie medical thriller (2015).

Allie Parsons is a single mother, struggling to raise a teenage daughter and keep her scars and past hidden. Her old life as a stripper has no pull, but even now her headstrong ways prove difficult to control. Allie suspects that Toro, a serial killer and her attacker, is still at large and most likely stalking her.

But obsessing over that helps nothing. She’s finished medical school and is training at the morgue, and with the help of both her beautiful daughter and patient pastor, she’s rebuilt a life. It isn’t perfect, but her faith and determination are strong.

However, her first case at the morgue keeps scratching at her old wounds, and she can’t explain why. The body is supposed to be millionaire Franz Bergman, but she has a hunch it’s a cover-up. Determined to prove her theory, Allie conducts an investigation that circles her right back into danger and darkness. As she draws closer to solving this mystery, a menacing stranger threatens her new life.

Allie must stand firm in her beliefs and rely on her strength and intuition to protect herself, her daughter, and the better future she’s working to achieve.

a Rafflecopter giveaway of TORO

The InnerGlow Effect by Craig Robertson. Indie medical thriller.

There’s a new drug on the market, but it’s not everything it seems to be. For ER doctor Paul Hunter, strange things are afoot. Patients near death are having visions of the afterlife, convinced their souls have been escorted away during trauma. The sole connection between the survivors is an antidepressant called InnerGlow. Newly-ordained priest Pablo Morales has committed himself to a life dedicated to the church, but even holy men have doubts. When parishioners begin confessing their experiences of life after death, Pablo takes it upon himself to investigate their claims. GlobalMed sets the pair in its sights, attempting to uncover how much they know about the InnerGlow Effect and how to keep it quiet while reaping the profits of a society hungry for a new quick-fix pill. Two men stand against a massive corporation to find an answer to life’s big question: Is there life after death?

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Do you enjoy thrillers with real science? Read Petroplague by Dr. Amy Rogers. Oil-eating bacteria contaminate the fuel supply of Los Angeles and paralyze the city. “Compellingly written, technically literate” “top 5 on my best of 2011 list” “the science is utterly believable” “I couldn’t put this one down”

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