Now this is what I call a medical thriller!
Doing Harm is Kelly Parsons' debut novel and it is an excellent start for the physician turned writer. In fact I would call it the best medical thriller I've read since Robin Cook in his Coma days and that's going back a bit.
The premise involves surgeon Steve Mitchell who is seen as an excellent doctor looking forward to an outstanding future. But a bad call in judgement threatens his career. When one of his patients dies after what seems to be another bad call he starts to question the facts and finds out that someone else may be responsible. What follows is a suspenseful cat and mouse game that may destroy his career and family not to mention his life.
That's all you need to know. There are plenty of tense moments and nice surprises. One of the non-surprises is who did it. We get plenty of clues at first and find out early on who the culprit is. Yet this is not meant to be a whodunnit. The tension is in whether our hero can clear himself and expose the killer. Parsons has made his protagonist flawed but admirable and his nemesis evil but frighteningly clever. The author does an excellent job blending his medical knowledge with the action. A little pharmaceutical knowledge might be helpful to the reader but not essential as Parson explains the more technical aspects in a way that doesn't stop the flow of the novel. One of the things I find essential in a good medical thriller is that the author writes about doctors and hospitals in a realistic way and this is no problem for Parson. A realistic environment combined with edge of your seat suspense is what makes this an excellent example of the sub-genre.
This book is being published in late January of 2014 so I can't call it one of the best novels of this year. But I do feel fairly safe in saying it will be a prime contender next year.