New York Times and USA Today best-selling author
Life is good for Dr. Laura Nelson. Her kids have their ups and downs, but seem well adjusted to high school and college; her research project at the university is going well; and she is highly regarded as the chief of surgery at Tampa City Hospital. The sense of tranquility is disrupted when she is drawn into the diagnosis of the first cases of HIV/AIDS seen in Tampa.
But the challenge of this new disease is dwarfed by the disaster that impacts Laura's life a few days later. A highly resistant bacterial infection is raging in the surgical intensive care unit, and patients are dying. To make matters worse, Laura's daughter is exposed to the bacteria and begins to show symptoms.
Desperate at this point, Laura calls her young friend, Dr. Stacy Jones, at the CDC in Atlanta. Stacy arrives in Tampa, unaware that a deadly plot is underway in Atlanta as a covert white supremacist cell plans an unthinkable attack on a massive scale.
Caught in the middle, Laura and Stacy encounter an opportunity to connect the Tampa nightmare with the impending Atlanta devastation. But can they prevent it?
Set in 1985, Gussin's mildly engrossing third medical thriller featuring Dr. Laura Nelson (after 2007's Twisted Justice) finds the thoracic surgeon facing Tampa City (Fla.) Hospital's first-ever HIV/AIDS case. In addition to her patient, Matthew Mercer, Laura must also deal with infectious disease researcher Victor Worth, who has only recently discovered he is Matthew's father. Angered that his former employer, Keystone Pharma, has passed up a drug that could save Matthew's life, Victor plots to experiment on hospital patients. CDC researcher Charles Scarlett, meanwhile, draws up an even less safe prescription, this one consisting of flesh-eating bacteria, on behalf of a white supremacist group, the Order. Also included among the plethora of characters and plot twists are Laura's woes over an illness suffered by her daughter, Natalie; a bit of romance; and the difficulties of single motherhood. There are too many organisms in the petri dish, but Gussin manages to bring it all together for a slam-bang finish.