REVIEW: Fatal Intent by Tammy Euliano

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Read this book for: medical thriller, serial killer, moral questions, amateur detective, personal stakes

Quick Review: Uniquely interesting and thought-provoking, with a solid thriller core, this pushes genre boundaries for a great read!

When her elderly patients start dying at home days after minor surgery, anesthesiologist Dr. Kate Downey wants to know why. The surgeon, not so much. “Old people die, that’s what they do” is his response. When Kate presses, surgeon Charles Ricken places the blame squarely on her shoulders. Kate is currently on probation, and the chief of staff sides with the surgeon, leaving Kate to prove her innocence and save her own career. With her husband in a prolonged coma, it’s all she has left.

Aided by her eccentric Great Aunt Irm, a precocious medical student, and the lawyer son of a victim, Kate launches her own unorthodox investigation of these unexpected deaths. As she comes closer to exposing the culprit’s identity, she faces professional intimidation, threats to her life, a home invasion, and, tragically, the suspicious death of someone close to her. The stakes escalate to the breaking point when Kate, under violent duress, is forced to choose which of her loved ones to save, and which must be sacrificed.

FATAL INTENT is a medical thriller that pits an amateur sleuth doctor against an extremely clever serial killer.

The first thing you will notice about this book is that it is distinctly not a police procedural. This is a series of crimes that takes place largely in hospitals, investigated by a doctor, lawyer, and an elderly lady. The police are involved to some degree, but the main investigative force here is distinctly a team of medical professionals. That different perspective — one which Euliano weaves in comfortably and knowledgeably — makes this a refreshing read.

The characters themselves are also believable, with lots of detail about things going on in their personal lives that make them feel real. None of them suddenly develop super-sleuth skills; it’s fairly straightforward logic and an investigation that is sensible for them to be taking on themselves. The characters are human in a way that makes the story much more real, which is particularly important given some of the difficult moral and emotional topics that this novel tackles, which are not often present in a standard thriller.

That said, this is still a solidly plotted, page-turner of a thriller. Euliano has done an excellent job of keeping it tightly paced without feeling forced or contrived, or like the characters are in unreasonable amounts of danger. The peril and tension fit well with the story and the circumstances, and make this novel very easy to lose yourself in.

FATAL INTENT is definitely one that you should pick up if you are a thriller fan, especially if you are looking for one that is a bit different in terms of setting and style!

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