Monday, May 1, 2017

Introducing Dr. Knox

Dr. Adam Knox has spent his entire professional life tending to the needs of patients on the margins of society. After a stint in Africa with Doctors Without Borders, he now runs a clinic in the slums of L.A., seeing patients that few other doctors would. It's a shoe-string operation clinging to life in a run-down building that may be sold out from under him at any given moment, and Dr. Knox pays the bills by working for cash under the table at night, meeting the needs of patients who don't dare go near a hospital.

When a panicked woman brings a desperately sick child to the clinic, Dr. Knox realizes that the boy is suffering an allergic reaction to peanuts. He treats the child and the crisis passes, but in the midst of it all, the young woman who brought the child to the clinic, and whom Dr. Knox believes to be the child's mother, disappears.

Dr. Knox's nurse, who may be the only adult in the room, tells him to do the right--and legal--thing, and turn the child over to the Department of Children and Family Services. But Dr. Knox doesn't trust the bureaucrats and convinces the nurse that they--meaning she--should hold onto the child at least for a couple of days, so that his mother has a chance to reclaim him.

Like the nurse, any astute reader realizes immediately that this is a BIG MISTAKE. Before long, some very nasty people are visiting the clinic. Some of them are looking for the boy; some of them are looking for his mother, and they all pose a very serious danger to Dr. Knox, to his clinic, to his staff, and to practically anyone and anything else that the doctor might care about.

Well, in for a penny...

Dr. Knox is not about to cave into the threats, even though he puts a lot of people he cares about at risk. He attempts to track down the mother on his own and reunite her with her son, and the chips will fall where they may.

The result is a high-octane thriller that will keep most any reader riveted to the page. Adam Knox is a great protagonist, and the bad guys are truly scary. Spiegelman writes beautiful prose, and his descriptions of L.A. and its residents put the reader right in the middle of every scene. There's some suggestion that Dr. Knox might appear in a subsequent novel, and I really hope he does. If so, I'll be standing in line to buy the book hot off the press.

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