Monday, December 12, 2011

Final Mercy by Frank J. Edwards

From Goodreads:

Dr. Jack Forester, director of the New Canterbury University Hospital emergency department, is about to win an ongoing battle to modernize the ED when he's stymied by the power-hungry dean, Bryson Witner. Then someone tries to murder Jack's mentor and the former dean, setting it up to look like suicide.

Dr. Gavin survives butwinds up in a coma, and his would-be killer takes advantage by framing Jack. When the woman Jack is falling in love with disappears after a visit to the new dean, Jack is in a race against the clock to find her, uncover Witner's dark past, salvage his career and avert disaster for New Canterbury.

From Misty:

I have to tell you right off, Final Mercy, a medical thriller, is a little out of my normal reading genre.  I knew that going in, but I was really interested in reading this novel when, after checking out Edwards' webpage, I saw that he is also a poet.  Many of you know I write fiction, but personally I think of myself as a poet first, a reader second, and a novelist third and last, so you can see why getting a look inside this book intrigued me.

But before I get to my review, here is a brief bio about Edwards.

Frank Edwards was born and raised in Western New York. After serving as an Army warrant officer helicopter pilot in Vietnam straight out of high school, he studied English and Chemistry at UNC Chapel Hill, then received an M.D. from the University of Rochester. Along the way he completed the MFA program in Writing at Warren Wilson College in North Carolina. He continues to write, teach and practice emergency medicine, and lives on the shore of Lake Ontario.

Edwards' knowledge and experience in the medical profession will be the first thing you notice when you start reading Final Mercy.  He narrates his story in a way only someone famliar with the inner workings of a medical center could.  His setting and background are solidly constructed and pull the reader in so immediately and fully you feel like you could be a part of the "office politics" at New Canterbury, but the third person narrative makes it easy to just be glad you aren't.

It only took about two sentences for me to know I was going to like this book, the writing is that tight.  Honestly, I'd almost forgotten that anyone still knew how to write like this.  With natural, flowing dialogue, Edwards drops information in a steady stream of bait.  And here is where I self-righteously attribute Edwards' skill at this to being a poet--being practiced at saying a lot in a very few words.  Edwards keeps a very active voice, and his style shows the reader the intricacies of his story instead of tells them, which creates a much deeper connection with the characters and, in my opinion, a more fulfilling read.

Jack Forester is a compelling character, one you will definitely want to prevail.  I often asked myself, at least in the beginning, why he did not just quit his job and move on (but that would just be me avoiding conflict--sidenote: sometimes I fast-forward through the major conflict in movies) and let Witner have the old hospital--because though Witner is very creepy in his private scenes, he is completely personable and even charming when he is dealing with other characters (which is the real creepy part).  But the conflict in this novel is the whole point of it, and Jack's determination to get to the bottom of things, along with the (thank you!) romantic element, keeps you curious and turning the pages.

Final Mercy is an excellent, intelligent read I would recommend to anyone.

I reviewed Final Mercy at the request of the author and read a complimentary reviewer's copy, but as with all our reviews here at Six Mixed, was compensated in no way for my honest opinion.

For more information on Final Mercy or Frank J. Edwards, you can visit his website Here.

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