3 out of 4 stars
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Cut by Amy S. Peele follows Sarah Golden, who works as an organ transplant nurse, and her friend, Jackie, as they attempt to investigate a wealthy and famous recipient of an organ donation. Sarah suspects that she was somehow able to game the organ donation system. With a nationwide shortage of donated organs, this is a serious crime.
As a medical thriller, Cut is effective. It's full of deception and high-speed chases, and, except for parts towards the end of the book, the pacing is well-executed; nothing felt like it was rushed or dragging. While I did notice some awkward phrasing, such as "abdominal six-pack", the writing style was generally efficient and clear, with minimal typos. Every character feels distinct and interesting, even the antagonists. The medical and ethical aspects of organ donation are covered in sufficient detail, without feeling overwhelming.
My main problem with this book was that every aspect of it was sacrificed, at one point or another, for the sake of the plot. Rather than allowing the narrative to develop organically, it seemed like everything exists for the sake of the plot Sarah is involved in. Practically every conversation had something to do with organ donation and the deception surrounding the patient they are investigating, even if it was tangential. The settings, which range from Miami to Chicago, seemed to barely exist, except as a backdrop for Sarah and Jackie's escapades. Both the characters and the world they existed in felt somewhat flat.
At the end of the day, though, Cut was still an enjoyable read. It told the story it set out to tell, with very few bumps or inconsistencies, and the action and characters were enough to get me to keep reading. Because of the rather unrealistic and single-minded focus on the plot present in the writing, though, I can only rate it 3 out of 4 stars.
I can see Cut being a worthwhile read for committed fans of medical thrillers, particularly anyone interested in organ donation, as the book covers these aspects admirably. More general fans of the thriller genre will also enjoy this. The book does contain strong sexual themes, which is another thing that may dissuade some readers. I'd warn potential readers that this isn't a traditional mystery; the culprit is revealed within the first half of the book. Personally, though, I found enough reasons to continue reading that it was still rather enjoyable.
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