Book review: ‘Doing Harm’

Sun SentinelApril 26, 2014 

Kelly Parsons’ “Doing Harm”


  • Fiction

    Doing Harm

    Kelly Parsons

    St. Martin’s Press, 368 pages

Kelly Parsons’ highly entertaining debut delves deep into the ethics and competitiveness of the medical profession while exploring why doctors choose their careers.

“Doing Harm” starts strong and never loses its momentum. The energetic plot is infused with an intriguing look at modern medicine without being overwhelmed by the intricacies of the profession.

“Doing Harm” also will scare anyone who has to go to the hospital.

Steve Mitchell, the chief surgical resident at a top Boston teaching hospital, thinks he is on the right track with his career and personal life. Yes, he’s a bit arrogant about his skills. but that serves him well in the competitive medical profession and with his egotistical colleagues. He also loves his wife and is excited that they are expecting their third child.

But then Steve is blamed when a patient under his care dies. Trying to figure out what he did wrong, he stumbles on the chilling realization that a murderer is targeting patients hospitalized for routine surgery.

Parsons keeps the action chillingly realistic while also showing the different personalities who choose the medical field. Each character – from the brilliant medical student to the former gang member – feels authentic.

Parsons, a urologist who works in San Diego, doesn’t break new ground in “Doing Harm,” and resorts to a couple of twists that don’t ring true. Still, Parsons’ skillful plotting and knack for characters makes “Doing Harm” a gripping medical thriller.

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