As a doctor myself, I found this story chilling and horrifying. Alex Taylor, an emergency room doctor, slowly wakes up to find herself naked and strapped onto the operation table with her legs in stirrups, and her private parts exposed. She is threatened with hints of rape and getting her lips stapled by a doctor in surgery garbs, and slowly gets anaesthetised by rudimentary anaesthesia (horrors…).
When she wakes up the second time she finds herself in her own department trolley as a patient. She screams holy terror and gets all the tests done, everything is normal. Everyone starts doubting her story as the impersonator has left no clue, so was that an hallucination. Did a previous episode on Alex a year back trigger her brain into psychosis? As another patient comes to the emergency room in a critical state, Alex begins to see the connection. Is that real or imaginary? Is Alex going mad??
This is a debut novel by author Liz Lawler and I can assure you that she has gone all out on this story. The events happen as a roller coaster ride, there is no slowing down. There are murders and botched up procedure, there are threats by unknown assailants and doubts by the colleagues and police. There is a boyfriend who is a know-it-all and arrogant, and there is a could-be-boyfriend colleague who is shunned.
There is jealousy and envy, friends who are not friends, the not so friendly become friends, boyfriend becomes persona non grata and the shunned colleague becomes a possibility. The police who should help become the one ganging up, therapists sit passively, there is disbelief all round… Liz has included all emotions in this spine thrilling suspense.
The author has written the story well. Each sentence is filled with adrenaline, and the thrill doesn’t stop till the last page. Liz Lawler took me on a ride along with Alex. As a doctor, I wanted to stand by her and fight for her. There are times I wanted to jump into the page and tell all the characters to believe Alex, that all that she says really happened. Alex’s despair is acutely felt throughout the story, her desperation and her turning to medications and alcohol feels like a personal let down. The book does not stop pace and everytime it slows down there is a murder happening… Exciting…
There are, but of course, a few niggles
Alex is an emergency room doctor, where she has to make split second decisions to a save a patient’s life yet she comes to work drunk and on medication, yet can save lives zonked out…?? Not possible
The police who investigate, do more thinking than investigation, even the officer who gangs up on Alex, thinks and thinks and thinks… weird theories without a base. How about doing some actual police work and getting evidence…..??
The things happening around Alex are too far fetched, Alex at times comes as a ditsy airhead, instead of being a doctor with the highest qualification who does everything extremely well, including flying a helicopter but yet drinks and self medicates, and does not report an earlier attack. All emergency room doctors are friendly to police yet Alex knows no one… How is this an intelligence of an emergency room doctor??
There are characters there are actions and there are emotions but they don’t match… Each character says something, does something else… Yet Alex believes them, in her insecurity???
Alex could have been written as a stronger woman, playing the victim card gets on the nerves, a victim who takes control of her life would have made this book fabulous.
Inspite of these, the book does not fail to thrill, it reads fast, it makes the heart beat fast, it makes the real world disappear till the Alex’s reality is revealed…
I enjoyed it thoroughly and would recommend it to readers who enjoy medical suspense as there are quite a few medical words and procedures.
I received an ARC from NetGalley and publisher Bonnier Zaffre and this is my honest and unbiased opinion.
My rating : 3.5 stars
About the Author
Born in Chatham and partly raised in Dublin, Liz Lawler is one of fourteen children and grew up sharing socks, pants, stuffed bras and a table space to eat at. Liz spent over twenty years working as a nurse, and has since worked as a flight attendant and as the general manager of a five-star hotel. She now lives in Bath with her husband. Don’t Wake Up is her first novel.
Alex Taylor wakes up tied to an operating table. The man who stands over her isn’t a doctor.
The choice he forces her to make is utterly unspeakable.
But when Alex re-awakens, she’s unharmed – and no one believes her horrifying story. Ostracised by her colleagues, her family and her partner, she begins to wonder if she really is losing her mind.
And then she meets the next victim.
Publication date : 18th May 2017
Publisher : Bonnier Zaffre, Twenty7
Language : English
Available on Amazon
Medical suspense which thrills