by Marc David Veldt
Confession time: I am a sucker for medical thrillers. Starting in my teens I cut my teeth in this genre reading ALL of Michael Palmer, Robin Cook and Patricia Cornwell’s books. It’s comfortable, with a predictable formula.
There is always:
- an intelligent medical-based professional (a surgeon, ER doc, coroner)
- a nefarious bad guy (big pharma agent, disreputable insurance company)
- something bad happens to innocent patients
- hero doctor is blamed
- chaos ensues
- doctor is redeemed
…and that’s what I expected when I started “Unfortunate Event.” I’d even say that the first half of the book was a very typical medical thriller, but much better than you’d expect from a first time author. The dialogue was believable, characters were interesting, plot was good. Then, Veldt went off script and turned this traditional doctor based fiction into something else entirely. And I loved it. The protagonist acted in unexpected ways and drew the reader into his anti-hero role.
Dr. Jack Andrews became less the amiable white-coated professional, and more like a Die Hard movie bad guy. As a reader, Veldt made me like both sides of this coin. And, more importantly, he made me root for Andrews both as good guy and “bad” guy. The fact I even used parenthesis around “bad” guy tells you that my own moral compass is in question as I really liked the vendetta part of this medical thriller.
As his bio tells us, the author knows about medicine because he spent 35+ years as an operating room physician. What is surprising is how well he weaves a tale, and how much he seems to know about guns, violence and the underbelly of society.
Back in my day, authors wrote a book. If it was successful, perhaps they wrote a sequel. Today I’ve become the grumpy old man yelling at kids to stay off my lawn, whenever a brand new author titles their first book – book 1 in a series. We don’t need to live in a society where everyone presumes they are a future Peter Jackson trilogy. But, this book must continue. I felt cheated when it ended, because I don’t think the hero (antihero?) is done. I want to see what happens to him next. I think his new life could be compelling and I think Veldt has the chops to continue the story for us.
STATE CHALLENGE – this book is set in Nebraska.
I received this book as a gift, but my review is an honest opinion. I highly recommend.