Cry of the Needle by Roger Radford

I read Cry of the Needle this week.

While medical thrillers are rarely my thing, I find Roger’s writing style enjoyable and was instantly enthralled by the story that lay before me.  It is certainly not a light read.  The plot and subplots are so complicated, that this book demands your full attention.

And it got exactly that, my full attention.  My first impressions of Kiernan Kelly, the primary character, were not so great.  I found him distasteful and unlikable.  However, his devotion to his wife slowly changed that and after a handful of chapters I found myself interested in him.  After a few more chapters, I was actually sympathizing with the IRA hitman with revenge on his mind.

I will not go into much detail about the other characters in the book.  They are important and you should read the book to learn about them.  That’s as much as you’ll get out of me.

The primary plot is about corruption and cover-ups in the medical world.  A simple epidural, done everyday in thousands of hospitals in the Western world, goes awry because of doctor incompetence and pharmaceutical double-dealing.  That single plot line really makes you sit down and think: it could happen to you.

Greed trumps the value of human life in this book.  Not just at the professional medical level, but all the way up the governmental chain that is supposed to protect us mere mortals from those who hold our fates in their skilled hands.

Overall, it’s a great read.  Fast paced, good plots, interesting characters and well written.

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