Friday, April 09, 2010

Friday's Forgotten Books: "Dead Head" by Dr. Allen Wyler

Back early this year, Patti Abbott, asked me to submit a book review for her "Friday Forgotten Books" blog. I did and enjoyed doing it as well as the interest the review created. Since then, Patti has suggested I keep doing them, along with her regular contributors, every Friday.

It hasn't happened because I normally am at work when I suddenly realize that it is Friday and again I forgot to post an appropriate review. Currently, I am still home on medical leave which made it work today.

I offer for your friday consideration "Dead Head" by Dr. Allen Wyler. Having read his first novel "Deadly Errors" and this one, it is a tossup which one is better though the premise here is certainly a bit creepier. The review was originally published in 2007 and the book still is relevant today.


Following up on his novel “Deadly Errors” the author has crafted yet another superb and at times very disturbing medical thriller. For neurosurgeon Russell Lawton, the conference where he has presented his paper on connecting a robotic hand to the neurons in a monkey’s brain by way of on interface between the two has been routine though the material isn’t. If it works, some day paralyzed humans might be able to move their limbs by way of thinking it to happen. What has been a concept deep in the realm of science fiction is gradually becoming modern reality.

Stopped after his speech by a beautiful woman masquerading as a reporter, he agrees to be interviewed and follows her willingly outside of the Moscone Convention Center. That will be the last willing thing he does as he is soon grabbed and removed from the street by Islamic terrorists. Before long, he is in the air in a private jet on his way back to his laboratory at the National Institutes of Health.

With his young daughter a hostage and faced with death, Dr. Russell Lawton has no choice but to cooperate. The terrorists are demanding his help and they are proposing something so unthinkable at every level that Dr. Russell Lawton is revolted to the very core of his being. Beyond the incredible medical challenges, the very idea they insist will be done raises huge moral and ethical challenges. And yet, Dr. Lawton has no choice if he wishes to save his life, his daughter’s as well as other potential victims.

What follows is an incredible read that propels the reader on an emotional roller coaster. Dr. Allen Wyler again uses his extensive medical background to bring forth insight into a complex medical problem. Those very detailed bits of medical information are skillfully woven into the story and do nothing to slow it down.

At the same time, unlike most thrillers, the main characters in this book soon to be released are rich and detailed. Dr. Lawton’s emotional agony both in terms of his daughter as well as what he has been asked to do come alive for the reader. This is also true of other characters unwittingly drawn in such as FBI Special Agent Sandra Phillips who is part of the secondary and independent storyline of the kidnapping of Lawton’s daughter.

The result is an excellent fast paced read full of medical information and surgical procedures, action, and deep moral questions. This thriller with a currently scheduled release date of February 6, 2007 written by Dr. Allen Wyler is not easy to put down once finished and sure to leave the reader with a lot of imagery and questions about the possible medical break through and its meaning.

By Allen Wyler
ISBN #0-765-35596-5

Kevin R. Tipple © 2007, 2010

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