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 stories are populated by good surgeons gone bad, good surgeons forced to do bad, and a supporting cast that includes cops, spies, federal agents, high-ranking military officers and a medical student who finds himself in a unique position. But don’t get the wrong idea. These stories are not plot-driven spectacle (I must save the planet from Anthrax-spewing chimps that escaped from the primate research center in Midtown Manhattan), nor are they character-driven internal ruminations (I’m going to brood about my mother’s colon cancer for 300 pages). These stories are character reacting to plot, and plot shaped by character reaction. The characters are people we can relate to, and the plotlines are taken from today’s headlines—kidney transplantation and the shortage of donor organs; the black market for the buying and selling of human organs; stem cells and their role in tissue engineering and organ fabrication; the use of bioengineered microbes as lethal weapons; the ever-widening scope of corporate espionage. If my stories sound like medical mysteries, medical thrillers or novels of medical suspense, they are, but I prefer to think of them as novels of surgical suspense, stories imagined by, and told through, the lens of a surgeon.
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