About your Book:
Death at Brier Hospital is routine and provides the perfect opportunity to murder and get away with it. Jacob Weizman, a physician, and his wife, Lola, a psychotherapist, are holocaust survivors and need no proof of evil in this world. Jacob and Lola are unique protagonists. They’re octogenarians who take the fear out of getting old. Their intelligence, competence, humor, and sense of history make them appealing in a world that too often disdains the aged. After fifty-five years practicing medicine, Jacob is disappointed, but not surprised by several patients’ deaths, even the unexpected ones. Soon, however, it becomes clear that a killer is stalking the halls of Brier Hospital targeting Jacob’s patients. While Jacob has made enemies over the years, he finds it inconceivable that anyone would murder his patients for revenge. The killings mount even as the hospital and police increase security and pursue a vigorous investigation. Finally, unsatisfied with surrogates, the killer targets Jacob.
Targeted Age Group: Adults, mature teenagers
Genre: Medical thriller
The Book Excerpt:
Julie Kramer pulled off her sweat-soaked green surgical cap as she entered the recovery room at Brier Hospital. “Where is Mrs. Hogan?”
The recovery nurse checked her clipboard. “She’s in bed one, Doctor.”
Julie walked to the gurney and placed her hand on Shannon’s cheek. “Are you awake?”
Shannon Hogan drew the thin sheet up to her neck. “I think so. It’s freezing in here.”
Julie brought a heated blanket to Shannon and reviewed the results of the colonoscopy just completed.
Shannon heard the cold words and felt Julie’s warm hand on her shoulder. “I’m sorry, what did you say?”
“I wish there were other words than tumor or cancer…they spark our primal fear like shouting ‘fire!’ in a crowded theater.”
Shannon held her face between both hands and cried.
Half listening to Julie’s explanation, Shannon tried to absorb the surgeon’s meaning. Like a drowning woman, she fought for the surface and gulped for the essence of life just in time to hear the reassuring words. “Thirty years ago, cancer was a death sentence. Not anymore.”
Julie grasped Shannon’s hands. “We found it early, that means you’re going to be around for a long time.”
Shannon and Peter Hogan were deeply religious people and had their faith tested through a lifetime of loss. First came the tragic death of their six-year-old daughter Mandy to leukemia. Then the business failures, the loss of their home in the Berkeley Hills fires of 1991, Peter’s heart attack and bypass surgery, and Shannon’s cranky, stubborn mother who lived with them for twenty years, proving that misery, indeed, loved company. With her mother gone, the kids settled and Pete’s retirement in sight, Shannon made a tragic error; she forgot that providence had not lost its special interest in her.
With retirement a year away, Pete came home one night with a pile of brochures.
Shannon scanned the colorful photos. “Mexico! We can’t move to Mexico.”
“South of the border, we can live like royalty. They have everything we’ll ever need.”
After several trips, they settled on San Miguel de Allende for their retirement. It had perfect weather, a large American community, and cultural richness…their dream come true. They’d sell their home and be on their way.
So much for that, Shannon thought one morning, three weeks before they were to leave. It began with non-stop cramps in her abdomen, followed by the shocking bright red blood in the toilet. Colonoscopy and the dreadful diagnosis followed, bad news delivered with blinding speed.
Peter walked alongside the gurney as they wheeled Shannon toward the elevator and surgery. “You must get her through this, Julie.”
Julie placed her hand on his shoulder. “Don’t worry, Pete, Shannon will be just fine.”
After the fourth hour, Julie came into the surgical waiting room. Her smiling face was the most beautiful thing Pete had seen in his lifetime.
Naturally, that wasn’t the end of it. Weeks of complications followed. Cycles of desperation and relief, then more despair, and finally the answer to their prayers, Shannon was nearing discharge.
As I enter 502, Shannon Hogan’s room, I see my hazy outline cast against the wall from the subdued indirect lighting. I blend with the shadows and move in silence to her bedside.
Her face reflects the peace of untroubled sleep, a few moments of respite from her pain. She’s caught in a dream, ignorant of the futility of it all, as if her denial could stem the inevitability of the final release—the ultimate freedom to a life everlasting.
I smile in anticipation, feeling the force of my will over her existence, a power reserved to the few.
When I reach into the pocket of my white coat, I feel the syringe. It’s warm from my body heat. It’s 30ccs of a milky fluid—my special gift.
Sterile syringe…what a joke.
I withdraw the syringe, rub it against my cheek, and then caress it as if it were a chess piece, a captured queen. The clear plastic IV line is within my reach as I find the intravenous injection port. The pink cover over the hypodermic slides off exposing the shiny stainless steel needle. It sparkles gaily as its razor sharp tip pierces the rubber stopper of Shannon’s IV line.
I look up, staring at the heavens through the two floors above and say my silent prayer.
I grasp Shannon’s sleep-warmed hand, giving it a gentle squeeze. Her eyes flutter then open. Shannon looks around and tries to focus on my silhouette. With the light behind, I know that all she can see is my outline.
“What…” she begins, but I silence her with a whisper. “It’s going to be all right. He is with us tonight.”
Shannon trembles. I’m certain she’s not sure if this is a nightmare.
I feel warm as I push the plunger slowly, inexorably down the barrel toward the syringe’s base. Shannon grimaces as the fluid burns the veins of her arm. Then her lips part to scream. I quickly cover her mouth with my leather-gloved hand. She grasps my arm trying to escape, but I hold her still with my other hand. She’s remarkably strong until the medication forces her muscles to relax, to twitch, then they refuse to respond to her commands to contract. Finally, the muscles surrender to the potent power of the paralyzing potion.
She’s awake, I can tell, a silent witness to her death, but she’s unable to move a muscle.
Her pupils widen in panic.
Her heart pounds.
She tries to breathe…smothering…gasping in her mind, but frozen.
Shannon’s conscious brain cries, please…please…no…no…Pete…Mandy…My God, no… no…no!
I take a serene sigh of satisfaction, raise the sheet to her neck, and caress her face. A single small tear streaks over her cheeks from the corners of her pleading eyes.
My work done, I stroll to her door and depart.
Author Home Page Link