Thursday, November 29, 2018

Guarded Prognosis, by Richard L. Mabry, MD (author), Bill Nevitt (narrator)

Richard L. Mabry, November 2018

Dr. Caden Taggert, a surgeon, receives an unexpected visit from two DEA agents, at his office. His DEA number is apparently being used to write suspect prescriptions. They want to find out who is really behind it. It's a frightening experience, and he far too easily accepts their encouragement not to call a lawyer. And, heck, he doesn't even know a lawyer, and doesn't want to upset the DEA agents.

It's a mistake, of course. They don't even have a search warrant. Something is wrong here, but he's not asking the right questions. He introduces the agents to his staff and the other two surgeons as doctors leaving academia and hospital work, and interested in seeing how this private practice office is organized. He's introduced trouble that's not the trouble he thinks it is, though the reader, or listener, soon knows.

Meanwhile, his father, Dr. Henry Taggert, also a surgeon, is having troubles of his own. He has just learned that he may have pancreatic cancer. It does cause him to reach out to his son. Neither man would want to say so, but since Henry's wife, Caden's mother, Nancy, had a stroke that reduced her to a vegetative state a year ago, what closeness they once had has faded away. Now he needs his son.

It takes us, and Henry, longer to find out there is also trouble in his practice.

What happens over the next several weeks becomes a terrifying roller coaster ride, that changes the two men's relationship with each other, Caden's with his wife, and Henry's with his office nurse, who has been a supportive friend since Nancy's stroke.

This is an explicitly, but not cloyingly, Christian novel. I'm a New Englander. In this part of the country, advertising your religious faith is not considered a sign of the strength and sincerity of your belief. On the contrary, we tend to believe that things that get heavily advertised are probably for sale. It's different in Texas, where this book is set, and I guess in much of the south.

This is likely why many New Englanders and many southerners tend to regard each other with dark suspicion.

So it's worth noting that these are plausibly real and plausibly good people, sincere in their beliefs. If you're a religious believer of a culture more like mine, be aware that they do talk about their faith more than some of us might find appropriate.If you are not religious, again, be aware. These characters are sometimes naive, but they're neither phonies nor fools.

If you are the flavor of atheist that thinks being religious is ipso facto proof you're either a phony or an idiot, this book might not be for you.

Recommended with the obvious caveats.

I listened to the audiobook. The narration is solid and easy to listen to.

I received a free copy of this audiobook, and am reviewing it voluntarily.