Well it's a new year and for the 3rd year in a row, I'm participating in Keishon's TBR Challenge--the challenge to bloggers for us to reduce the size of those piles of books waiting To Be Read. Keishon has a list of suggested themes, but other than a stray romantic suspense, most of my TBR books are historicals. So I'm going to ignore the themes this year and go with what I have. I've been carting this month's entry around since Thanksgiving. But I also have had a gazillion library books to read and return, so this one kept staying on the back burner.
A year and a half ago I read CJ Lyons' debut book, Lifelines. I loved it and it was my number 1 phave the month I read it. Warning Signs is the second in Lyons' quartet of medical suspense novels centered around 4 women who work together in a Pittsburgh hospital. Marketed as general fiction (meaning you won't find them in the romance section at the store), they nonetheless have strong romantic elements. So far both books are written with the POVs only of the 4 female protagonists. Lifelines focused on ER attending physician, Lydia. Warning Signs focused on 4th-year medical student, Amanda. Urgent Care (recently released) features ER charge nurse, Nora. Leaving (I assume) resident physician Gina as the main protagonist for the final book, Isolation, due in December.
Like Lifelines, Warning Signs takes place over just a handful of days, although it's set a few months later. When a young, apparently healthy young woman is admitted to the ER with a type of paralysis, red flags are raised as she exhibits symptoms similar to at least 2 other patients who died. Each time, these patients were under the care of neurologist Dr. Lucas Stone, and Amanda has been carrying around quite a crush on the good doctor. We only ever see Dr. Stone through Amanda's eyes. He's an intense, focused individual with a clean fetish. He reminded me of TV's Monk. Anyhow, Amanda's running scared because she's been exhibiting some of the same strange symptoms that their patient has. She's chalking it up to the fatigue that's common among medical students and refuses to discuss her symptoms with the observant Lucas. But he's persistent and as Amanda and he get closer to the truth, some pretty strange things begin to happen.
This is a very engaging read. It is fast-paced, but we have plenty of opportunity to get to know the 4 women better and what drives them. Lydia is growing into her relationship with Trey; Nora is trying to cope with her break-up from Seth; and Gina--well Gina has all kinds of issues and a lot of growing up to do. Good thing her book is last. Should you have read Lifelines first? Yes, I'd say so, although I don't think you'd be lost in Warning Signs if you haven't. WS really is all about Amanda's medical mystery. There's a fair bit of medical terminology here, but nothing that gets in the way. In fact, I think Lyons does a good job of explaining conditions and procedures as they relate to the story. And the glimpse into life in a busy, urban hospital was fascinating. Since the author is an experienced pediatric ER doctor, I'm sure that what we're reading is authentic. My only complaint is that the climax and ending to the book seemed rushed, even though the pace of the whole book was fast.
I also enjoyed a lot of the references to Pittsburgh. I've been there a few times as several of my college roommates were from the area. Lyons' website has several pictures of the city and some interesting background to the books. Also, in looking at her website and then at Amazon, it appears that she's self-published some suspense books for the Kindle. Right now she's donating royalties from any Kindle sales of these books to Doctors Without Borders for Haiti relief. If you have a Kindle, go take a look.
Meanwhile I can definitely recommend this book. I'm looking forward to reading Urgent Care soon--hopefully before it becomes eligible for a TBR post.