Dead Head

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Overview

Brain Surgery or Murder?

When brain surgeon Russell Lawton is abducted at gunpoint by terrorists, he's sure there's a mistake: how could he be useful to them? To his horror, he learns they have kidnapped his only child, eight-year old Angela. Unless Russell does what they want, they will bury her alive.

To buy time Russell agrees, and is immediately confronted with a seemingly impossible surgical problem. He ...

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Overview

Brain Surgery or Murder?

When brain surgeon Russell Lawton is abducted at gunpoint by terrorists, he's sure there's a mistake: how could he be useful to them? To his horror, he learns they have kidnapped his only child, eight-year old Angela. Unless Russell does what they want, they will bury her alive.

To buy time Russell agrees, and is immediately confronted with a seemingly impossible surgical problem. He must develop an innovative computer that can manipulate a robot by using brain activity. And fast, or his daughter dies.

Why? When Russell finds out why the terrorists need the computer, and how they plan to use it on a human being, he can't believe they're serious. But the consequences for not taking them seriously are his daughter's life, and the lives of millions of innocent people.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
Neurosurgeon-turned-novelist Allen Wyler's second adrenaline-inducing literary thrillfest (after 2005's Deadly Errors) blends medical suspense à la Robin Cook and Ludlum-esque psychological suspense with a premise that is as outrageous as it is intriguing: Terrorists abduct a renowned brain surgeon in a desperate attempt to save the head (or, more accurately, the knowledge within the brain) of a dying cell member who is days away from launching an attack of unparalleled proportions on U.S. soil!

Pioneering brain surgeon Russell Lawton knows he's in a world of trouble when he's kidnapped during a medical conference in San Francisco and told that if he doesn't do exactly as the terrorists command, his eight-year-old daughter, Angela, now also in the hands of the jihadists, will be buried alive -- the worst imaginable death for the claustrophobic child. With little choice but to comply, Lawton soon finds himself in the middle of a wild plot to keep a mortally wounded terrorist hacker's head alive long enough for him to unleash unholy havoc on American citizens. With the FBI closing in, Lawton must somehow find a way to save the life of both his daughter and those of tens of thousands of innocents...

Fans of medical-powered thrillers who can wrap their heads (no pun intended) around the outlandish and pulp-reminiscent premise -- akin to 1963's cinematic fiasco They Saved Hitler's Brain, Sydney J. Bounds's 1957 classic The Robot Brains, et al. -- will not only enjoy Dead Head, they'll love it. Paul Goat Allen
Publishers Weekly

A creepy, bizarre premise—terrorists want to remove a comrade's head and keep it alive long enough for him to help plan an attack—provides the basis for Wyler's second medical thriller (after Deadly Errors). Neurosurgeon Russell Lawton's research on brain-computer hookups puts him in the sights of a Middle Eastern terrorist cell after the cell's key associate suffers a near-fatal motorcycle wreck just before an intended attack. Faced with his body's rapid deterioration, the terrorists hit on the scheme of removing his head in order to salvage his brain—with the help of a kidnapped Lawton. After Lawton's abduction, he's forced to play along in order to save his daughter's life. The first half of the novel suffers from credibility problems, notably the terrorists' leap to adopt the unlikely plan and the speed with which they assemble the pieces. Also, what might have been a tense subplot involving Lawton's daughter falls flat. Wyler, a brain surgeon himself, keeps things moving despite the missteps; the gritty, graphic details of cutting-edge surgical procedures, capped with an exciting conclusion, should keep fans of the genre riveted. (Feb.)

Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780765355966
  • Publisher: Doherty, Tom Associates, LLC
  • Publication date: 2/6/2007
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 352
  • Product dimensions: 4.21 (w) x 6.63 (h) x 0.95 (d)

Meet the Author

Dr. Allen R. Wyler is an internationally renowned brain surgeon with over thirty years of experience, recognized for his pioneering work in the field of neurosurgery. He is currently Medical Director of Northstar Neuroscience, a biotech firm in Seattle, Washington.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 5 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 5, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Medical Thriller

    Dr. Russell Lawton has just completed an objective he's spent years working toward, making a speech and sharing his research at a prominent conference for neurosurgeons. Lawton's research is in the field of brain-computer interfaces, and his work shows promise. He has been able to have monkeys move robotic arms with their brain waves.

    Flush with success after the talk,, he relaxes and then, his world changes. He is kidnapped by terrorists. Worse, they inform him that they have kidnapped his daughter and will kill her if he doesn't do what they want. What they want is for him to help them communicate with another of the men in their network. The terrorists are planning a major attack on American soil, but this man, who plays a key role, has been involved in a car accident and is not expected to live.

    Their plan is to have Lawton take custody of the patient, and if he shows signs of not being able to survive, to use his research to help them extract the knowledge they need. If the body dies, they want to sever the head and keep it alive, with Dr. Lawton using his research to translate the brain waves into speech. Is this possible?

    Lawton is caught in a vise. Either help the terrorists destroy his nation, or refuse and lose his daughter to murder. Faced with her death, he agrees to help the terrorists. But when the FBI find out about his daughter's abduction and come to question him, he establishes a line of communication with them. Can Lawton keep the patient alive long enough to save his daughter and for the FBI to foil the terrorist attack?

    This book is recommended for thriller readers. The action starts immediately and each chapter rackets up the suspense. The reader is taken along on a careening journey, unsure how it will all work out. The author is a surgeon himself, so the medical terms and procedures are correct and logical. Readers won't be disappointed if they are reading for a thrill--this book packs a powerful punch.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 1, 2007

    Unique and exciting medical thriller

    The phrase spine tingling takes on a whole new meaning in the medical thriller DEAD HEAD. This fast-paced story spans the country and thrusts NIH research neurosurgeon Russell Lawton into a desperate battle against time, terrorists and the Feds to save his young daughter, Angela. No less desperate is a cell of Middle Eastern extremists, who threaten to bury the child alive. The leader of the cell, a ruthless former battlefield surgeon, forces Russell to use his strictly theoretical research in brain-body synthesis in a frantic attempt to keep a gravely wounded comrade alive long enough to complete his deadly assignment. Closing in from the other side is savvy FBI Special Agent Sandra Phillips. Brought into what appears to be a parental custody dispute between Russell and his former wife, the agent soon realizes that something much larger and far more sinister is going on. In less skilled hands this chilling 'what if' story could have easily fallen flat, but the author, himself a neurosurgeon, takes an utterly unfathomable concept and makes it completely feasible. As Russell fights to save his daughter, the reader is swept up in a nightmare scenario where medical boundaries and personal safety take a back seat to one man's courage and ingenuity.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 23, 2007

    A Frightening Look at a Possible Terrorist Scenario

    Russell Lawton is a neurosurgeon who works for the NIH and is presenting a paper on his research at a medical meeting. His special interest area is brain-computer connections. He is kidnapped by Muslim terrorists and is forced to help them preserve the body and brain of one of their critically injured colleagues. His daughter's life is in the balance, along with the brother of his assistant, whose life is also threatened. He must devise a way to let the injured terrorist speak to his co-conspirators, even if his head is separated from his body and preserved. Dr. Lawton overcomes obstacle after obstacle in his need to have his daughter spared a horrible death. The action and plot are non-stop and grab you from the moment you read the first few pages. The ending is somewhat of a surprise and is well written.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    superb medical thriller

    In Georgetown Medical Center in Washington DC, Mohammed, an automobile accident victim likely to die, is being treated. His comrades paid $50,000 in cash for him to have the best care and since also he looks Muslim, the FBI is notified. Across the country at the San Francisco Moscone Convention Center, neurosurgeon Russell Lawton is kidnapped by Muslims after giving a speech on his research. The abductors know Mohammed is dying but before he dies he has to complete his mission, a terrorist attack in the D.C. area. They demand Dr. Lawton, if the situation warrants it, to remove Mohammed¿s head and put it in a ¿brain computer interface to produce speech from thoughts.¿ As an incentive to gain the doctor¿s cooperation they have kidnapped his daughter and will kill her if he doesn¿t perform the cutting edge surgery. If he helps these predators, millions of lives will be lost if he doesn¿t, they will kill him, his colleague and his daughter. --- Science fiction becomes science fact as the author states in the afterward that the concepts are sound and only technology is needed to accomplish what the terrorists want. There is plenty of action in this exciting, adrenaline producing thriller yet the characters, even the antagonists, are well developed so that readers get to know them and what drives them. DEAD HEAD is a medical thriller that is on par with the best of Robin Cook. --- Harriet Klausner

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 24, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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