Straight out of today’s hospitals and labs–and tomorrow’s headlines–comes a frightening, scalpel-sharp thriller from medical insider Joshua Spanogle. In an astounding debut, Spanogle takes us on an all-too-real race against time…as a young doctor enters the dark side of scientific research, desperate to stop a terrifying epidemic before it is too late….
In Baltimore’s St. Raphael’s Hospital, three newly admitted patients are among society’s most helpless citizens: female residents of Baltimore’s group homes for the mentally impaired, their bodies racked by a virus the likes of which no one at St. Raphael’s has ever seen.
Dr. Nathaniel McCormick is one of the first on the scene. A young investigator from the Centers for Disease Control, Nate is paid to explore the bizarre, the exotic, and the baffling–from superviruses to bioterrorism. But as soon as Nate begins to investigate the lives and habits of the victims, he knows something is terribly wrong. Using all his skills as a medical detective, Nate soon zeroes in on the “vector”–the one person who had sexual contact with the first victims. And when that suspect is found murdered, Nate fears that the disease he’s chasing may not be an act of nature, but of man.
With his brash style angering his superiors and fellow investigators alike, Nate turns to an old colleague and former lover, Dr. Brooke Michaels, for help. Together the two investigators follow a twisting trail of clues to a discovery that is at once groundbreaking and unspeakable. And as a circle of treachery tightens around him, Nate is about to confront the most chilling revelation of all–and a past Nate himself has been trying to escape.
At once a taut medical thriller and a riveting psychological portrait of a young doctor on the edge, Isolation Ward is a tale of runaway tension–with a brilliant “what-if” premise that is harrowing…heartbreaking…and impossible to wrench from your imagination.
Medical thrillers have been rather sickly of late, but Stanford med student Spanogle has applied the paddles and delivered a real jolt of excitement with this debut novel of a dangerous viral outbreak, diabolical medical chicanery and research run amok. Dr. Nathaniel McCormick, an officer in the CDC's Epidemic Intelligence Service, is called to St. Raphael's Hospital in Baltimore, where three young women come to the emergency room complaining of flulike symptoms and, after being admitted, begin to deteriorate in very alarming (and graphic) ways. After their skin begins to slough off in large patches, Nate fears the worst: that a deadly viral disease has been unleashed as part of a terrorist attack. Nate is an intelligent, impulsive, intriguing character, willing to lie and steal from both friend and foe to further the case. Once he learns, at a very high price, that a drug company has been experimenting with a very particular means for treating diseased organs, things begin to come together but time remains of the essence. Spanogle is a funny, smart and skilled writer at the beginning of what readers will hope is a long and prolific career.
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A super medical mystery in the mode of Robin Cooke w/a Mickey Spilane flare. I enjoyed how close to possible reality the plot skated. Also loved the "warts & all" MC.