Failed surgeon David McBride is in exile from the surgical community after making a costly error in judgment. Down but not out, he perseveres and is given a second chance to establish a career in surgery. But, as McBride stands on the threshold of a new life, the malignant underside of his fellow man intervenes. Under the threat of violence, David is forced to perform illegal organ harvests in a makeshift operating room hidden in a dilapidated meatpacking warehouse in lower Manhattan. Unable to resolve the excruciating moral dilemma faced each time he invades the body of an unwilling victim, David McBride fights to free himself from the situation and in the process, loses everything. When he finally loses the last shred of his humanity, he seeks revenge with surgical precision ... and instrumentation.
I’m a former heart surgeon turned fiction writer. I write what can be described as medical mysteries, medical thrillers or novels of medical suspense, but I prefer to think of them as novels of surgical suspense.
What is surgical suspense? Surgeons, surgical diseases and the operating room are all inherently dramatic. As a former surgeon, I’ve experienced this drama first hand and thought it would make for good fiction. My surgery training took me from the knife-and-gun-club of LSU Medical Center in Shreveport, Louisiana, to the famed Bellevue Hospital in Midtown Manhattan. My education as a writer includes an MFA degree where I was mentored by New York Times bestselling author Dennis Lehane, among other accomplished faculty.
I know a lot about medicine and surgery, I know a lot about writing and storytelling, and I believe that combining this vast and unusual right-brain/left-brain experience will make for interesting reading and discussion, so please visit often.
Rapid cooling is not only the small animal's biggest enemy, but it can also be fatal for human infants. As a cardiothoracic resident, we took great care in keeping our newborn and infant patients warm while preparing them for open heart surgery. There is a lot to do to prepare a patient for heart surgery--monitoring lines, IV access, etc.--and if the baby should cool significantly while lying naked on the operating table, the heart will fibrillate. To prevent this, powerful warming lamps were placed over the baby, and the core temperature was carefully monitored.
The Organ Takers
David placed his scalpel on the abdomen of the recipient rat and pulled, with the lightest touch. Too much pressure on the thin tissues, and the blade would plunge into the liver, colon, spleen, and anything else in the way. He carried the incision from sternum to pubic bone, about three inches, and it was perfect. He glanced into the open chest cavity of the donor rat. The beating heart remained vigorous, but the lab was cold, and it wouldn’t require much of a temperature drop to trigger fibrillation. He increased the setting on the warming lamp. Rapid cooling was the small animal’s biggest enemy.