I spotted Stigma, a first novel by Philip Hawley, Jr., on the new book shelves at the library. Although I prefer science fiction, sometimes I can’t resist a medical thriller with a nice, juicy disease. The disease in question was a mysterious autoimmune-style reaction to (the reader must suspect) that new vaccine approach every other character in the novel is working on.

The medical side of the plot took some interesting twists and turns, but it was overshadowed by the more physical exploits of the ex-Navy SEAL emergency-room physician, his ex-girlfriend, and his mysterious nemesis. This was frustrating for me because when I read a medical thriller, I want the heros wearing biohazard gear and the extras bleeding out of their eyes. I’m not so interested in the hand-to-hand combat in South American jungles and the specially-modified Glocks.

Definitely at the point where the hero stops the imminent threat of worldwide contagion, he should be using his new vaccine rather than a block of C4. But if you like the heavy-handed ex-SEAL approach to epidemiology, then Stigma is for you.

Comments are closed.