Sunday, March 23, 2014

Lip Reading by Harry Kraus, MD

The novel starts out with action – Dr. Rebecca Jackson in Africa to promote her recent autobiography, is kidnapped. But rather than a ransom, all the kidnapper wants Rebecca to see are the tragic results of the drug her company has been promoting in the area.

When Rebecca returns to the U.S. she is approached by an old flame, Noah, a researcher like her, but for a competing pharmaceutical company. His boss wants him to convince Rebecca to leave her company and join theirs.

We find out that Noah and Rebecca have a troubled history. He took the blame for an automobile accident Rebecca caused their senior year. The boy hit by the car ultimately died from an HIV tainted blood transfusion. That has inspired both Rebecca and Noah to work on a synthetic blood, something that would preclude expensive and lengthy blood typing and testing.

Rebecca has been able to make great strides in her research, often having amazing insights. The insights would come just before the migraines. Then she finds out she has a tumor in her brain. The greater blood flow around the tumor had been the reason for her insightful breakthroughs. But the tumor will also mean her death. She has to choose: risk death and continue her research or get treatment and risk never finding the breakthrough needed to save so many lives.

Kraus has crafted a good medical thriller with great characters. Rebecca is puzzling. She is a woman of great drive and a sometimes ruthless streak. Yet she has moments of compassion. Noah is just a sweet guy who was willing to go to prison for the girl he loved.

There is a bit of mystery involved in the plot. Rebecca is being blackmailed by someone who knows what really happened in that automobile accident twenty years ago.

I think the best part of medical novels is learning about the world of medicine. I was appalled at the procedure Rebecca's pharmaceutical company used in Africa to test their drug. It caused many deaths but the company really didn't care. The potential profit was all that mattered. Pharmaceutical companies are not painted in a good light in this novel.

Something else I learned about was the idea of synthetic blood. It could save thousands of lives as typing would be unnecessary. Unfortunately, in the galley I read, there was no section indicating how much of the novel was based on actual medical research and how much was just conjecture.

This is a pretty good novel with suspense, romance, a bit of mystery, and a reluctant believer in Christ.

Harry Kraus, MD, is a board-certified general surgeon. He has divided his professional experience between the U.S. and Africa. He is the author of over fifteen books, both fiction and nonfiction. He and his family live in Virginia. You can find out more about him and his books at You can follow his blog at

David C. Cook, 432 pages.

I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this independent and honest review.

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