Monday, April 8, 2013

Review of Code White by Scott Britz-Cunningham

I just finished Code White by Scott Britz-Cunningham and am impressed with how well this debut novel is written. There are many ways to mess up the medical thriller but the biggest is always making the technical information seem like a foreign language that is not in any way interesting or digestable. There are ways that authors of medical thrillers can get so wrapped up in explaining procedures that ultimately they lose any interest the reader had in it's entertainment value. Brilliantly, Britz-Cunningham's Code White is a good balance of medical information and entertainment.

We are introduced to Ali O'day who is an up and coming neurosurgeon who's about to broadcast for the whole world, an implant of a revolutionary mini-computer into a young boy's brain. This surgery is groundbreaking and will allow Jamie, the boy, to see. Her lover Dr. Helvelius and her soon to be ex-husband assist her in making history all the while, there's something much more dangerous in the works.  With reporters and the whole world watching, the hospital security team calls a "code white", a bomb threat.

Harry Lewton, the hospital's chief of security is doing everything in his power to locate the bomb that is in the hospital. Harry is the quinessential security guy you want on your team. His passion, dedication, intelligence, and care makes him the one to root for in this novel. He's a well-developed hero that readers crave in these types of novels. I hold him in high regard because there wasn't anyone else that sparked my interest as he had which brings me to some of the things that I didn't think worked that well.

Ali is a well-rounded developed character and has a lot of good qualities, but she also has some that annoyed the crap out of me. She seemed cold and stoic in moments I thought she would have softened a little bit especially when she was presented with the news of the bomb threat. I understood that she hadn't always had a great relationship with the US of A but for someone who cares so deeply for patients, that layer should have been easier to break in her facade.  Her relationship with Jamie does knock some of the reservations I have about her, but then I don't think it was enough for me to really enjoy reading her segments as I did Harry's. And as far as Ali is concerned, her love triangle thing gets a little old and tiring for me and for Ali. What's girl to do?

Finally, my last thing that was a little off for me was the revelation of the whodunnit early in the novel left a little to be desired by the reader. I thought that Britz-Cunningham could have definitely milked that cow a little longer. I hope this doesn't deter any readers because it doesn't hurt the plot, I personally would have liked to do a little more guess work. I mean c'mon! I'm no doctor so the least I can do is put together clues as to who the culprit is.

Overall, I think this was a great, well written, fast paced novel and I really enjoyed spending the few hours that I did with it. Britz-Cunningham has written a great novel right out of the gate. His expertise and knowledge in the medical field and techno field will not disappoint any techies or physicians nor will the thrills, suspense, character depth, and pure entertainment disappoint others who find that to be crucial. I'm happy that Britz-Cunningham's work stands on it's own and he doesn't have to be given brownie points for having a novel set in Chicago and mentioning Evanston. ***

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