by Richard L. Mabry, M.D.
(good; ~30th percentile for SciThri genre)
Year published: 2011
Category: mystery; medical thriller; Prescription for Trouble series (#4)
Tech rating (out of 5):
SUMMARY (modified from the e-book “back cover”):
What happens when the race to stop a lethal bacteria becomes a race to stop a killer?
Dr. Sara Miles’s teenage patient is on the brink of death from an overwhelming, highly resistant infection with Staph luciferus, known to doctors as “the killer.” Only an experimental antibiotic, developed and administered by Sara’s ex-husband, Dr. Jack Ingersoll, can save the girl’s life.
But when Sara and her colleague Dr. Rip Pearson begin to suspect the lauded drug causes potentially lethal late side effects, their concerns are ignored, and before long, their lives threatened. Can they find a way to safely use the drug, and expose those covering up the truth?
Lethal Remedy is author Richard Mabry’s fall 2011 release in his medical mystery/thriller series Prescription for Trouble. (I previously reviewed the first book in this series, Code Blue.)
Lethal Remedy is set in Texas at the research powerhouse Southwestern Medical Center. Our protagonist is a young female internist who carries two emotional burdens (no spoilers!), and cares deeply about her patients. She is joined in the story by an infectious disease specialist who has been a long-time friend, an older physician who was once her mentor and is now struggling with the recent loss of his wife, and a potential suitor who is both a lawyer and a physician.
I liked the strong medical / scientific content in this novel. Most of the action takes place in a hospital or clinic, and the rhythm of a clinician’s life is accurately presented. Also, Mabry uses some great biology as a key part of his plot: the mechanism of action of antibiotics, drug side effects, autoimmunity, monoclonal antibodies, antibiotic resistant bacteria, prophylaxis against HIV for needle stick injuries, and more. A bit of reality about physician liability and medical malpractice lawsuits also comes into play.
Compared to standards of the medical thriller genre, Mabry’s books are kinder, gentler thriller/mysteries with a strong Christian emphasis. Because most fans of this genre are adrenaline junkies, I give Lethal Remedy two stars instead of three. But I think Dr. Mabry fills a special niche. Readers who normally curl up with cozy mysteries and such might enjoy the tingle of Mabry’s edgier tales. However, big-time thriller fans may find the Prescription for Trouble series a bit of a yawn. Though I gave both two star ratings, I’d say Lethal Remedy is a better book than Code Blue.
Key words: Jandramycin; Staph luciferus; Southwestern Medical Center; autoimmunity; Guillain-Barre; EpAm848; phase III clinical trial
FCC disclaimer: A free advance e-copy of this book was given to me by the publisher for review (via NetGalley). As always, I made no guarantee that I would read the book or post a positive review.
Richard Mabry’s Prescription for Trouble series:
(These books all stand alone, you don’t have to read them in a sequence)
Code Blue (2010); Medical Error (2010); Diagnosis: Death (2011); Lethal Remedy (2011)