Fatal Formula: Midwest Book Review

The time is 1953: the place, Cook County Hospital of Chicago where a gifted intern, Dr. Henry Mason, hangs himself, shocking his colleagues. Why would he commit suicide when he seems to have everything?

The quick answer is: he didn’t. But embedded within the question of how Dr. Mason died is the bigger question of who in the medical community might have had a reason to want him dead, and as puzzles increase and attention focuses on Henry’s ground-breaking research, disparate and powerful forces coalesce to gain control of what will be one of the biggest discoveries in the history of medicine.

Fatal Formula is a riveting story that will appeal to fans of Robin Cook and other medical thrillers. It crosses the line into the mystery realm yet focuses on a discovery that could change the world and those forces that would do anything to control it.

But unlike many of these thrillers, which focus on discovery, treachery, and murder, Fatal Formula also includes the formulas of people’s relationships, from their professional associations to their love lives, considering how these forces enter into the equation of innovation and confrontation.

Readers who normally eschew some of the medical thrillers on the market for their formula approaches will find something different in A.J. Harris’s production: a survey of the fundamental forces affecting forensic pathology resident and investigator, Dr. Sam Davis’s life, an examination of romance, flings, and the primary foundations of lasting relationships, and a detailed examination of formulas for greed, success, love, and lives well lived.

As Dr. Sam Davis edges ever closer to a dangerous truth, so he uncovers the kind of relationship that will support rather than injure him – if he can navigate the obstacles that threaten to inject defeat and danger into a formula that negates success.

Does Dr. Henry’s find promise miracles, or is it a recipe for disaster? And will Dr. Sam learn the difference in time? The result is a powerful, compelling, and revealing story line that adopts a winding, twisting approach through all kinds of possibilities and takes no linear path in its journey. It’s the kind of medical mystery thriller that will keep readers guessing about love and loss right up to its unexpected conclusion.

Diane Donovan, Midwest Book Review