Implant - F. Paul Wilson

(No Series)

No back cover blurb, only reviews, so I’ll summarize the longer review from the back of the novel: “Dr. Gina Panzella has returned to Washington, D.C., to practice, hoping to join the legislative process and influence the future of medicine. Her boss, Dr. Duncan Lathram, has similar aspirations, but his aims are less benign. Lathram is a famous plastic surgeon with a new device that speeds healing, putting him great demand among Washington’s rich and powerful. When Gina notices that Lathram’s clients keep having violent accidents, she thinks it is only coincidental. Gradually, her reluctant investigation into the accidents jeopardizes her relationship with her lover, an FBI agent, as well as her life. This suspenseful medical thriller has complex, likeable characters, an intriguing background, and it raises important questions by pitting self-serving bureaucrats against unethical physicians. Definitely a cut above most medical thrillers” ­ Library Journal

In many ways the story worked well. The beginning makes sure the reader knows who and why, but because of telling through the antagonist’s eyes from the start, there’s not much mystery. The reader is left wondering a few things, such as the full back story, but not much else. Otherwise, though, it was fun to read to see what Gina would discover, when she’d put it together, what she’d do about it, and how Lathram would react when he found out. The story isn’t unpredictable by any means, but it’s still a fun little thriller. The plot itself isn’t complicated in the least, it’s a simple straight forward ride, but there’s a certain comfort zone in these types. Wilson does an admirable job making sure the scenes work together well, keeping action alive, although it can be said that the beginning focuses strongly on other action pieces, and not the major one.

As a fault, the romance relationship between Gerry and Gina reads like a stereotypical romance. Their relationship is one of those ‘good natured’ kinds that you expect from Avon or Historical types. When they’re together it’s hunky dory, and, despite any problems unraveling later on, the way they respond to each other is a bit formulaic. I also found her internal dismissal of the past love unrealistic and convenient. That aside, I did enjoy their characters individually, and can’t fault Wilson too much on this.

Some of the scenes, particularly in the end, are full of suspense and written in a tight pace that kept my heart thumping.

Gina is hard-working and determined, and, even though a bit wooden, turned out to be an entertaining protagonist. Gerry, also wooden, came across as a nice guy, the perfect doting father with a traumatic background to his wife. Strangely enough, the most fun person to read through was the antagonist, Lathram. Wilson made sure the reader understood his reasoning; he definitely wasn’t a bad guy all the way through, just a confused one, and a lot of sympathy/empathy was on his side.

The main story long wasn’t strong in the beginning chapters, but it was still entertaining because something was always happening in the scenes. The pacing was consistent and didn’t feel rushed, nor too slow. Plot kept traveling uphill on a steady path, picking up frequency at the top, unraveling well at the resolution.

Wilsons style is direct, uncomplicated, and unhurried. He injects enough detail, and changes the wording when in a point of view of another character. As an example, the character of Lathram uses large, rare words…because of this, most of the scenes he’s involved in uses more complex descriptive vocabulary. When Wilson uses medical jargon, he makes sure it’s spelled out for the reader as to what it is. One of the first chapters speaks of a pulmonary embolism, and the definition is given through Gina’s eyes via internal dialogue. While sometimes this technique is frowned upon because it can take the reader out of the story and remind him/her they’re reading, it works here and isn’t used too often. Dialogue is convincing and used when needed, description isn’t relied on too heavily, and all things come out nicely trimmed and well edited.

The medical thriller turns out to be a story with an easy to follow plot, predictable twists and turns, but still is light and enjoyable reading. I wasn’t disappointed reading through this, but I suspect Wilson offers better stuff. I remember reading ‘The Touch’ years back, and remember enjoying it more than this. Don’t pass this one up if you own it or see it somewhere cheaply, but don’t go in expected a literary orgasm either. Wilson does his stuff well enough, but you don’t get fireworks.

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