Book Review: Fatal Rounds by Carrie Rubin

Fatal Rounds
by
Carrie Rubin

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Recent medical school graduate Liza Larkin knows something is wrong when she sees a stranger in the background of three family photos, including one from her father’s funeral. When a reverse-image search identifies Dr. Samuel Donovan, a top trauma surgeon in the Boston area, Liza switches her first-choice residency to Titus McCall Medical Center where Donovan works. Liza wants to keep an eye on this mysterious doctor and potential stalker. She can take care of herself, but she wants to protect her mother, Emily, a schizophrenic patient at nearby Home & Hearth Healing. She feels guilty about putting her mother in a psychiatric facility, but knows she could not provide adequate home-care.

Liza may be a strong woman, but she struggles with schizoid personality disorder and mourns her father, Kevin who was her best advocate. He refused to label his daughter. “You are not a list of symptoms, Liza. You are not a diagnosis. You are you, you are special,” he told her. Kevin, a rising politician, survived a shooting and immediately retired to open a food truck business, only to die from a heart attack two years later. Now Liza hears his voice in her head, guiding her decisions.

A little background information: schizoid personality disorder is not schizophrenia. It’s a condition “characterized by a lack of interest in social relationships, a tendency toward a solitary or sheltered lifestyle, secretiveness, emotional coldness, detachment and apathy.” (Wikipedia) Liza has a history of defending others with violence, but regular therapy has taught her how to overcome these tendencies and become more social. Combined with long runs and vigorous boxing workouts she manages her condition and has a small circle of friends. One concerning fact: Liza has stopped her therapy.

As Liza digs into medical records, she discovers a disturbing pattern of Donovan’s patients who suffered severe trauma but died from different causes after they recovered. Donovan’s god-like image will be hard to bring down, however, and Liza may have met her match. The closer she gets to uncovering Donovan as a murderer, the more reckless and crazed she becomes.

Wow, I really enjoyed this tightly-written story, Rubin’s latest medical/psychological thriller. Rubin does a great job with Liza’s character, who is far from perfect and sometimes makes bad decisions. Readers also learn what life is like for a first-year resident and about hospital administrative hierarchies. And through often-humorous dialogue and description, one of Rubin’s trademarks, we also get to know the side characters. As in her other books, she keeps the story current, highlighting some of society’s problems such as opiate addiction, obesity, and mental illness, as well as progress in social issues such as gay marriage.

The title is a clever play on words, referring to both doctors’ rounds and a boxing match. Donovan seems to be winning the rounds, but who will win the match?

Fatal Rounds is the first in the Liza Larkin series. I’m looking forward to the next one!

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Book Review: The Bone Hunger by Carrie Rubin

The Bone Hunger
by
Carrie Rubin

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

If you’re looking for a great medical thriller, check out The Bone Hunger by Carrie Rubin, the second in the Ben Oris series. Set in Philadelphia at the fictional Montgomery Hospital, it picks up after the first book, The Bone Curse. (Read my review here.) The Bone Hunger can be easily read as a standalone novel and follows the personal and professional life of Ben Oris. Ben was a medical student in the first book and now he’s a resident at Montgomery. Here’s a rundown of the story’s opening:

Dr. Ben Oris is not looking for trouble. After what he’s been through, he likes the ordinary. Three years earlier, he was cut by an ancient bone and became involved in a strange incident involving a mysterious disease and a Haitian Vodou priestess. Now Ben’s life is busy, but normal. A second-year orthopedic surgery resident, he’s under the tutelage of Dr. Kent Lock, one of the best reconstructive surgeons in the country. He’s also a single dad to three-year-old Maxwell. Nothing but work, family, and a hopeful romance on the horizon, just the way he wants it.

On a wintry walk through the Wissahickon Valley Park, Ben and Maxwell’s mother, Sophie, discover the severed limb of a recent knee surgery patient. Police and hospital seniors think it may be a sick prank, but later, when more orthopedic surgery patients go missing and their hacked-off limbs turn up, bearing alarming bite marks, Ben finds himself at the center of a murder investigation. In a rush against time, he must balance his demanding job and parenting responsibilities, follow hunches and most important, protect the people he loves.

At Montgomery, Lock and his surgical team continue their surgery schedule, replacing knees and hips, on the heels of a near-death plane crash in Alaska while on a humanitarian mission. Psychological stress and fears about who the next victim will be may be too much for the team. In addition, new developments make Ben question his professional loyalties. Are the surgical implants somehow connected to these grisly crimes? Should Ben investigate or leave it to the police?

Rubin provides readers with a great look at what it’s like to work in the medical world, with a big dose of grueling schedules, hospital hierarchies, politics, feuds and power plays. She also offers a realistic commentary about life situations, specifically related to diversity, treatment of the elderly, religion and respecting differing beliefs. She does all this with compassion and humor and expertly builds these details into the story.

Rubin also includes chapters about the mysterious “monster” responsible, but not its identity. Written in first-person, these chapters offer insight and suspenseful details as the story develops.

The plot moves at a steady pace and then, bam! Readers get what they’ve been waiting for: a thrilling confrontation between good and evil, with all sorts of unexpected twists. Even the final pages reveal additional developments, setting Ben and the rest of the characters up for the future.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading The Bone Hunger and recommend it to readers who like medical thrillers, suspenseful stories and mysteries. I look forward to the next in the series.

I received a copy of The Bone Hunger from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Check out my reviews of Rubin’s other books below:

The Seneca Scourge
Eating Bull
The Bone Curse

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Book Club Mom’s Author Update – Carrie Rubin

Author name: Carrie Rubin

Genre: Medical Thrillers

Book: The Bone Hunger

During these pandemic times, I’ve remained focused on my writing (or at least I’ve tried to…) and have some book updates to share. Thank you so much, Barbara, for the opportunity.

Last month, Book 2 in my Benjamin Oris series about a man of science who faces otherworldly situations was released. In The Bone Hunger, a standalone thriller, Ben is now a second-year orthopedic surgery resident. When the severed limbs of his former patients start turning up in Philadelphia parks, he must once again bury his skepticism and risk his career to uncover the monstrous force behind the murders before someone close to him becomes the next victim. Publishers Weekly notes: “This is just the ticket for Robin Cook fans.”

And because I don’t always walk on the dark side, in June, my lighthearted cozy mystery, The Cruise Ship Lost My Daughter, was published under the pen name Morgan Mayer. Inspired by a cruise I accompanied my mother and stepfather on, it’s about a spry and tenacious octogenarian couple who go searching for their daughter on the same British Isles cruise she went missing from six weeks before.

Meanwhile, my agent has my newest manuscript on submission, and I’m working on another one I hope to submit to her by the end of November.

Thank you again, Barbara. Always a pleasure to visit Book Club Mom!

Website: www.carrierubin.com


Are you working on a new book? Have you won an award or a writing contest? Did you just update your website? Maybe you just want to tell readers about an experience you’ve had. Book Club Mom’s Author Update is a great way to share news and information about you and your books.

Email Book Club Mom at bvitelli2009@gmail.com for more information.

Open to all authors – self-published, indie, big-time and anything in between. Author submissions are limited to one per author in a six-month period.

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Who’s That Indie Author Recap: Jan/Feb 2016

Who's That Indie Author pic

Have you met these indie authors?

Here’s a recap for January and February 2016.  Be sure to click on the author’s name to view the full indie author profile.


Donna A. Ford

Donna FordGenre:  History/Biography/Inspirational
BooksMiracle of the Call – Twentieth Century Heroes and Heroines; Concord Sage – Ralph Waldo Emerson Life and Times
Favorite BookThe Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis.
Biggest Challenge:  Marketing
Contact Information: Website: donnaaford.com; Email: author@donnaaford.com


David Olimpio

David OlimpioGenre:  Nonfiction/Memoir
BookThis is Not a Confession
Favorite BookLondon Fields, by M. Amis
Biggest Challenge:  Finding an audience
Contact Information: You can find David Olimpio at his website and blog: davidolimpio.com, on Twitter @notsolinear, and on Facebook, Tumblr & Pinterest.


Carrie Rubin

Carrie Rubin picGenre:  Medical Thriller
BooksEating Bull  and The Seneca Scourge
Favorite BookA Fine Balance by R. Mistry
Biggest Challenge:  Promotion
Contact Information: You can find Carrie on her website, carrierubin.comFacebook, Twitter(@carrie_rubin) Goodreads: Carrie Rubin and Google+.

 


A.B. Funkhauser

A B FunkhauserGenre:  Gonzo Mortuary Revenge Fiction
BooksHeuer Lost and Found and
Scooter Nation
Favorite BookChild of the Morning
by P. Gedge
Biggest Challenge:  Sleeping.
Contact Information: Website: abfunkhauser.com;   Twitter: @iamfunkhauser; Facebook: A. B. Funkhauser Author.


Phyllis Edgerly Ring

Phyllis RingGenre:  Historical fiction, romantic suspense, inspirational nonfiction.
BookThe Munich Girl: A Novel of the Legacies that Outlast War.
Favorite BookBig Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Liz Gilbert
Biggest Challenge:  Finding creative ways to make a book discoverable.
Contact Information: You can find Phyllis at her website, Leaf of the Tree, on Twitter: @phyllisring, on her Amazon Author Page, and on her Goodreads Author Page.


Shelley Wilson

SONY DSCGenre:  Young Adult Fiction; Adult Self-Help Nonfiction
BooksHow I Changed My Life in a Year; Meditation for Beginners, Vision Boards for Beginners; Guardians of the Dead; Guardians of the Sky; Guardians of the Lost Lands.
Favorite BookThe Folk of the Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton
Biggest Challenge:  Promotion/marketing
Contact Information: Website: shelleywilsonauthor.co.uk; Writer Blog: shelleywilsonauthor.com; Twitter: @ShelleyWilson72.


Linda K. Sienkiewicz

Linda K SienkiewiczGenre:  Women’s Fiction
BooksIn the Context of Love
Favorite BookGilead by Marilynne Robinson
Biggest Challenge: Being published by a small press means not getting the big advance that another author might get from a big New York publisher.
Contact Information: Linda’s website – lindasienkiewicz.com; Twitter – @LindaKSienkwicz; Facebook – lindasienkiewicz.author


Are you an indie author?  Do you want to build your indie author network? Why not get your name out on Who’s That Indie Author?

Email bvitelli2009@gmail.com for a bio template and other details, and follow along on Book Club Mom to join the indie author community!

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What’s That Book? The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

Whats That Book

The Goldfinch

Title: The Goldfinch

Author: Donna Tartt

Genre: Literary Fiction

Rating: ****

What’s it about? A thirteen-year-old boy survives an accident that kills his mother. To maintain a connection to her, he steals a priceless painting. But though the artwork is his tether to her, it’s also a constant source of guilt, one that grows like a cancer as he gets shuttled from a wealthy, New York family who took him in to the father who had previously abandoned him. His angst and suffering continue into adulthood and lead him into the seedy underbelly of the art world.

How did you hear about it? In the news shortly after it won the Pulitzer Prize in 2014, though I didn’t read it until recently for a book club.

Closing comments: I give the book two different star ratings: 5 stars for the writing and 3 stars for keeping me engaged, thereby awarding it 4 stars over all. In terms of the writing, the description was wonderfully vivid, filling my mind with images as well as words, and the weaving together of complex plot and thematic elements was beautifully done. On the other hand, the novel often dragged, with dense passages throughout its hefty 771 pages that made my mind wander. But overall it’s a worthwhile, thought-provoking read. Just plan ample time to finish it.

Contributor: Carrie Rubin

Carrie Rubin is a physician, public health advocate and writer.  She is the author of two medical thrillers, Eating Bull and The Seneca Scourge. You can find Carrie on her blog, The Write Transition, where she chronicles her transition into the writing world, and on Twitter @carrie_rubin.


Have you read something you’d like to share?  Consider being a contributor!  Contact bvitelli2009@gmail.com for more information.

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