Racing from the life-and-death decisions of a big San Francisco hospital to the tension-packed fireworks of a murder trial, this story lays bare the ambitions and fears of healers and killers, lovers and betrayers. As the book surges toward its unpredictable climax, Sidney Sheldon proves once again that no reader can outguess the master of the unexpected.
Aficionados of cliches and stereotypes will derive extraordinary pleasure from practically every page of this formulaic potboiler from the bestselling Sheldon. As the novel opens, Dr. Paige Taylor is on trial for the mercy killing of a patient (Did she off the guy for his fortune?); the action then flashes back five years, when Paige and two other female doctors meet as first-year residents at a San Francisco hospital. Paige is the dedicated one, Kate Hunter (``Kat'') an African American whose mother inspired her to lofty ambitions (``You can be anything you want to be. It's up to you'') and Betty Lou Taft (``Honey''), the plain Southern belle whose diligent application of techniques gleaned from the Kama Sutra has assured her a professional niche. The trials and tribulations of both patients and medicos include suspenseful operations, natural deaths, murder and suicide (``All this time he was calling out for help and I didn't hear him.''). Even Sheldon's typically careful research seems forced and out-of-place: tidbits about African tribal lore and medical terms and procedures only interrupt the bathos. Nonetheless--contrary to the book's title--Sheldon's popularity will no doubt remain undiminished. Literary Guild main selection.