4 out of 4 stars
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In the book Sanguinity Point by Peter Palmieri, Dr. Benjamin Snow is a Pediatric resident. He is the kind of doctor that is so devoted to his work that one time, after having a terrible stomach bug, he made his rounds pushing his IV bag, to the horror of his superiors and fellow residents. Despite his devotion, he also has a difficult time knowing the correct thing to say, not just to patients, but to everyone. He feels like he doesn't quite "fit." After he is involved in a traumatic incident during his rotation at the hospital, he is given a new name by the media, Dr. Baby Killer, and loses his long-awaited Critical Care fellowship. He finds himself with virtually no other hospital willing to even consider him.
With over a hundred grand in student loans to pay off, Snow is forced to take a fellowship in General Pediatrics at the Medina Clinic in Purgatory, Texas. It is the last place he wants to be, and the last kind of fellowship he wants to do. Purgatory is an underserviced town on the border, with all the troubles that tend to go with that. But everything else seems too good to be true. He has a more than generous salary, even though he had no other options of places to go. The newest hospital, El Dorado Hospital, has the best of everything and is making a lot of money, which it seems willing to spread around. It also has a cozy, even preferential, relationship with the Medina Clinic.
Snow has so many questions. Where is all the money coming from? Why won't Dr. Medina, the man who brought him here, give him any information about the money? Is it legal? Who is El Chacal? And maybe even the most critical question of all: What kind of man is Benjamin Snow?
Snow notices more and more behaviors going on at the hospital that cause him to start asking questions, even though he has been told to leave it alone. As doctors begin disappearing, Snow finds himself sucked in even deeper, but will he figure things out in time, and if he does, will he make the right decisions?
Sanguinity Point was just such a satisfying read! Even though it is not a short book, weighing in at 549 pages, it is a quick read. I read it in under 24 hours, partly because I just did not want to put it down, especially as it was coming to the final climax. I found myself wanting to race through to the end.
I was struck by the naturalness of the writing. What I mean is the conversations, descriptions, and backstory flowed so smoothly that I, the reader, became part of the story. There was no awkwardness jolting me out into the real world. I love it when the writer is so good, you forget for a moment you are reading!
I am kind of a sucker for troubled kids with good hearts. The more posturing they do, the smarter the mouth they have on them, often the more I enjoy them, and I enjoyed the relationship Jesus (a smart-mouthed kid if ever there was one) develops with Dr. Snow, or “Snowflake,” as Jesus calls him. In spite of Jesus’ smart mouth and vulgar attitude, Snow can’t help but like him, and Jesus attaches himself to the good doctor like a burr.
The book is interspersed with Spanish words and medical terms. Very few of them are defined, but most of them make sense in the context. I have a limited understanding of Spanish (yet, somehow seem to know a lot of Spanish curse words, go figure), but I was still able to get a reasonably good understanding of what was meant. It is true that these things may be a turnoff for a few people, but for me, they lend authenticity to the book.
This book reads a bit like a mash-up of early John Grisham and Robin Cook. People who like that kind of murder/thriller will likely really enjoy it. Although it is not overly graphic in language or violence, it does have some strong language throughout and scenes of violence so may be better suited for older readers and those who are not opposed to some bad language. This book had a handful of errors: a missing comma, a couple mistaken or doubled words, but it did not detract from my enjoyment of it.
I give this book 4 out of 4 stars. It is because of books like this that I am a fan of the C/T/M/H genre in the first place. I cannot wait to get my hands on other stuff Palmieri has written. I have found a new author I love!
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