gimmethatbook

Reviews of what you should be reading next.

Month: January 2018

City of Endless Night (Pendergast #17) by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child

What begins as a manhunt for the missing daughter of a wealthy tech billionaire becomes something altogether different when the young woman’s body is discovered in an abandoned warehouse in Kew Gardens, Queens, the head nowhere to be found. It appears there may be two killers on the loose–one responsible for the young woman’s death, another responsible for the mutilation. A pair of such dastardly killers requires a team of equally talented investigators. Luckily, both Vincent D’Agosta and Special Agent Pendergast are back in town.
D’Agosta hopes that working a case back on his home turf for the first time in years will reinvigorate the FBI Special Agent and give him an opportunity to flex his investigative might. But neither is prepared to face a killer–or killers–as diabolical as this. It will take all of Pendergast and D’Agosta’s intelligence and strength simply to match wits–let alone stay alive

Thanks to NetGalley for this ARC!

This installment fits firmly in the middle of the pack when it comes to enjoyment value. Pendergast is always wonderful to spend time with, but in this book he seems psychically disturbed somehow, not the invincible man we are familiar with. His conversations with D’Agosta are nebulous, even distant, and there is no chemistry between them. Perhaps this is what the authors intended to create, given the final chapter’s activities. In any case, there are murders, bad guys, and beheadings, with plenty of gory details that Pendergast devotees are familiar with.

Some other reviews have stated that they could see the plot twists coming; I could not. Mostly I spent my time mentally urging the characters to make better choices and communicate more.

Some of the more enjoyable parts: having Pendergast battle things out in the abandoned mental hospital (I am an urban explorer and love hearing about places, even if I can only be there vicariously), and some of the dialogue is utterly delicious. Case in point – as Pendergast is trying to get into an office without an appointment:

“An appointment was merely a courtesy,” he said, allowing a little iron to mingle with the butter. “As a special agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, looking into an active homicide, I go where I please, when I please, as long as I have reasonable suspicion to do so. Now, I suggest you speak to your minders and arrange an audience….without delay. Otherwise, there might be unpleasantness in store for each of you, personally.”

This is the kind of dialogue I live for in a Pendergast book.  Often there are hidden gems like this, bright spots among dull moments in the plot. Perhaps these books are like pizza – as the saying goes: even if it’s done bad, it’s still good. Despite the characters not having chemistry, it was still great to spend time with them. Perhaps the next installment will show a happier Special Agent, given the plot twist at the end. I miss his smooth arrogance and confidence, and I’m sure you do too.

Summation: great characters behaving in ordinary ways. Pendergast is not shown in the strongest light, and there isn’t any real furthering of the big picture. However, it’s not the worst P&C book ever written. Let this book tide you over until the next one comes along.

Want your own copy? You can pick it up [easyazon_link identifier=”1455536946″ locale=”US” nw=”y” tag=”gimmethatbook-20″]here[/easyazon_link].

Counting Backwards ( A Doctor’s Notes on Anesthesia) by Henry Jay Przybylo

For many of the 40 million Americans who undergo anesthesia each year, it is the source of great fear and fascination. From the famous first demonstration of anesthesia in the Ether Dome at Massachusetts General Hospital in 1846 to today’s routine procedure that controls anxiety, memory formation, pain relief, and more, anesthesia has come a long way. But it remains one of the most extraordinary, unexplored corners of the medical world.
In Counting Backwards, Dr. Henry Jay Przybylo—a pediatric anesthesiologist with more than thirty years of experience—delivers an unforgettable account of the procedure’s daily dramas and fundamental mysteries. Przybylo has administered anesthesia more than 30,000 times in his career—erasing consciousness, denying memory, and immobilizing the body, and then reversing all of these effects—on newborn babies, screaming toddlers, sullen teenagers, even a gorilla. With compassion and candor, he weaves his experiences into an intimate exploration of the nature of consciousness, the politics of pain relief, and the wonder of modern medicine.

Filled with intensity and humanity, with moments of near-disaster, life-saving success, and simple grace, Counting Backwards is for anyone curious about what happens after we lose consciousness.

Thanks to NetGalley for this ARC!

There is nothing as fascinating as anesthesia. The very idea of being in a state where your insides could be cut, manipulated, and sewn back together is mind-blowing; yet this happens on a daily basis all over the world. COUNTING BACKWARDS is the personal account of a person with intimate knowledge and respect for this phenomenon.

He shares stories of the good, the bad, and the ugly surgeries that he has overseen. From babies to gorillas, he has seen more than his share. The book is not just medical jargon; he recounts his interactions with patients and shares some of his most intimate thoughts with us. We learn what his routine is when setting up for a surgery – and why it never varies. We learn the history and development of anesthesia drugs – and why he creates a new plan for each patient. Dr Przybylo is a caring and meticulous man, one that I would want in the surgery suite with me.

This memoir came about when he enrolled in the MFA program at Goucher College; a step that is admirable and daunting. His professors must have loved encouraging and developing his writing style, as the story flows as smoothly as isoflurane into the lungs. The good doctor draws from his years of experience as he discusses patients, medicine, and humanity. Each story has a moral of sorts – they don’t always have a happy ending – but there is always a lesson to be learned.

It takes a special person to have the intelligence to understand the workings of anesthesia, while also possessing the compassion to care for people. The human race can be a frustrating and ugly bunch while sick and/or scared – I’ve been one of those people a few times. Dr Przybylo is kind enough, as well as strong enough, and that is what made this book stand out for me. There was just enough anesthetic detail and gore to keep me interested, while keeping the human condition firmly front and center. This book would be a wonderful addition to someone’s medical library.

Want your own copy? You can pick it up [easyazon_link identifier=”0393254437″ locale=”US” nw=”y” tag=”gimmethatbook-20″]here[/easyazon_link].

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