Robert S. (Henderson, NV)
A Flawed Doctor
In "Doing Harm" author Kelly Parsons delivers a powerful, tight and compelling novel that is populated with believable and vibrant characters whose lives, during a six week period, are unalterably transformed by their actions and the actions of others. Set in a prominent teaching hospital and in the suburban neighborhoods in which the hospital residents and physicians reside, this is a story of physician ego, depravity and vulnerability which are played out at the expense of patients whose well being and even lives are compromised by the doctors who are entrusted with their care.
The book has many strengths. First, the story moves at an incredible pace with an electric energy and is conveyed with wonderfully descriptive prose that moves the reader's senses. In fact, the reader is torn between turning the pages as quickly as possible, devouring the plot's twists and turns, and more slowly absorbing the pictures and scenes that the author creates with his thoughtful words.
The author has also structured the story for maximum effect. Initially, the reader is lulled into a calmness as the author conveys the normalcy and promise of the protagonist's family and professional relationships and career. Suddenly, the character's comfortable life is shattered with magnified impact that is created by the juxtaposition between stability and chaos.
The final attribute of the book to be highlighted is the effective manner in which the author, who is a physician, provides depth and believability to the plot by weaving through the story information about the institutional and political workings of teaching hospitals, the hierarchical relationships among the hospital doctors of varying rank and status, operating room protocol and various medical conditions and procedures. So often when a novelist sets his story on a stage about which he has substantial first hand technical and professional knowledge, the writing clearly divides between the "background information" and the prose, interrupting the flow of the story. In this book, however, the technical information is an integral part of the writing and seamlessly adds to the story.
"Doing Harm" is not great literature, but it is a very good book that this reader highly recommends to general book clubs and mystery/ thriller book clubs.
Laura M. (Roswell, NM)
This was a great book. It had just enough medical terminology in it to make it real without having so much that it would lose the average reader. The characters were believable and the plot kept me reading to see what was going to happen next. Very enjoyable.
Nancy M. (Hillsborough, CA)
I do not usually read books known as "thrillers" but I sure am glad I read this one. I was immediately drawn into this story of a resident surgeon practicing at an illustrious east coast hospital, hoping to be invited onto it's permanent staff when he finally finishes his residency. The physician author knowingly illustrates the trials and tribulations of such a resident, interesting in and of itself, while he uncovers the incidents and protagonist out to keep him from attaining his goal. I was taught me so much about the inner workings of surgery, most of which I hope I never experience, while thoroughly enjoying a compelling novel with a truly unexpected ending.
Elly, (Roswell, NM)
Compelling Debut Novel
While unexpected life events prevented my delving into this page-turning work, once started, it was impossible to set aside. "Doing Harm" does not release its hold on your attention until the last word, with unexpected twists popping up at each frantic turn of the page. It is well written with strong character development and filled with heart-pounding suspense. Considering the question on the book's cover, "What Would You Do?", I shiver to even contemplate being in our protagonist's position. I have recommended this novel to more than several and am certain that Dr. Parsons has found a second career. Kudos to this debut author...I look forward to more of his work.
Janice C. (Hayward, CA)
I enjoyed this book a lot. Great book for a train ride. I just won't be going to the hospital for awhile.
Jean G. (Rockford, IL)
No Harm Taken
A 40 year career in the medical field made this book a natural choice and I was not disappointed in its authenticity. Although it held my interest, as it will everyone liking medical intrigue, I at first felt it an almost too uncomplicated read, with little literary value. But as the plot starts to twist and turn I no longer cared. And why not have a genuinely good read occasionally?
The story spans less than 2 months in the life of a highly regarded chief resident surgeon. Technology of the 21st century appears to take a much too relevant role in the care of living, breathing humans. Its capabilities are endless for "doing harm" . This may incite some talk for book clubs. Slight letdown in the ending which also might be for discussion but still a great read.
Patricia S. (New Canaan, CT)
Cat and Mouse Game
Life seemed to be going well for Steve, a chief surgical resident at University Hospital, his wife Sally and their 2 daughters. He loved being in control-that's why he became a surgeon-but suddenly his life starts escalating downward-out of control. Who or what is responsible for the deadly mistakes at the hospital-doctors' recklessness, bad luck or a manipulative psychopath. A first novel by a doctor, the medical information is accurate, the book tightly written, and the tension rises despite part of the plot being disclosed halfway. I couldn't put the book down and finished it in one day, a month after I had shoulder replacement surgery. It's suspenseful to the last page.