A Price for Genius

by Lin Wilder

This is my third Lin Wilder book in the last 4 months, and I’ll be reading her Dr. Lindsey McCall series as long as she writes them.  Although each book could stand alone, as a methodical reader, I really appreciate reading a series sequentially. Watching characters grow and develop make or break any series, and Wilder is proving herself adept at stretching the boundaries for her characters.

Book 3 in the McCall series, “A Price for Genius” is very different than books 1 and 2. Reviews for those books can be found here:

This book is primarily set in Switzerland, and much of the plot centers around a kidnapping. Wilder keeps the material fresh by introducing new characters, and they assemble to form a rescue team. Unlike the McCall we met in book 1, by book 3 a small community (more accurately a family) develops and we get to enjoy relationships growing deeper. It will be interesting to see how the group grows in book 4.  Yes, book 4 is in the works already.  blog

One thought which runs through my brain while reading all of Wilder’s books is that she must be very, very intelligent. Her writing is not dumbed-down and she manages to use her own previous experience in the medical field to write material which is interesting as fiction, but which also is informative to a reader.  I read a wide variety of material and I really am drawn to that which challenges me, rather than simply turning pages to finish. Wilder writes for a smart audience.

Here is an example of the level of intellect found throughout the novel:

But the threats to twenty-first-century man can rarely be solved by fighting or fleeing. Rather than dissipating through extreme physical exertion, these hormonal and neurochemical products are built up over time and can be toxic. The consequences of severe stress and adrenal exhaustion over prolonged periods of time can be fatal, leading to the belief that stress is considered one of the top contributors to the leading causes of death in the twenty-first century, heart disease and stroke, cancer.

The only thing I did not like, and I didn’t even realize it until the last chapter, is that one of my favorite characters didn’t get much time in this novel.  Max.  A Doberman. Yes, I missed the dog.




The Fragrance Shed by a Violet

by Lin Wilder

If you follow my personal blog, you are aware that I am NOT A FAN of the medical profession and feel great disdain for Big Pharma.  This attitude change occurred in the last 4 years and one additional side effect of the trauma of my iatrogenic illness was losing an entire genre of books.  I used to read every single medical thriller I could find, and laugh at the memory of my one overnight hospital stay where the book I was reading was by Robin Cook.  As a sort of exposure therapy, I decided to delve back into medical fiction and see if I could separate my own trauma from a fiction book.  I am so glad I discovered new indie author, Lin Wilder.  She was the perfect author to pull me back into my old stomping grounds.  blog

“The Fragrance Shed by a Violet” is not your typical medical thriller.  I would probably not even add “thriller” to the descriptor except that most books set in the medical industry do involve mayhem – murder, espionage, the evils of the industry, etc.  Wilder has written a book which involves the medical profession, but truly I felt this book was character driven.  Yes, Dr. Lindsey McCall is a brilliant researcher employed by a large Texas medical center, but there are so many pieces to this story, it felt more like contemporary fiction involving relationships rather than subterfuge.  This, I think, was key for me truly enjoying the work.  Wilder presents us strong, driven, intelligent female characters like McCall and investigative reporter Kate Townsend.  As the foil to those strong women, we also spend time with Lindsey’s sister, Paula a nurse with a troubled past who proves prominent in the direction Lindsey’s life takes.

As the sister of two alcoholic brothers who passed very early because of their disease, I felt a real connection to the siblings in this book.  As a reader, finding connections to characters brings the story to life and Wilder wrote a good story.  Wilder pulled me in not only with her writing but with the use of prophetic quotes at the start of each chapter, and the presence of spirituality in the story.  This did not read like smack-you-in-the-face Christian fiction, but as in many real lives, faith plays a role for some of her characters.  Reading this book was comfortable and enjoyable.

I did read the author bio prior to starting the book and I appreciated throughout my reading the fact that Wilder spent decades employed in the medical field.  Somehow, to me, knowing she had real life experience behind her gave a sense of legitimacy to her writing, especially during the parts where research and drug development was explored.  It was also quite clear that Lin Wilder is one smart cookie.  The novel is very well written, the characters are fleshed out and the story felt complete.  This was a great first medical book for me to start with and I highly recommend “The Fragrance Shed by a Violet.”



For the US Map Reading Challenge, this one is set in Texas.  Yes, I’ve read another Texas book this year, but it’s a big state so I’m recording this one as well.

Unfortunate Event

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.  blog

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.