The Deception

The Deception

by Barry Reed

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From Barry Reed, New York Times best-selling author of The Choice, The Indictment, and The Verdict, comes a suspenseful psychological thriller and courtroom drama involving medical malpractice and sexual intrigue.

At seventeen, Donna DiTullio was a highly ranked tennis player with world-class potential. At twenty-one, she's hospitalized as a suicidal…  See more details below


From Barry Reed, New York Times best-selling author of The Choice, The Indictment, and The Verdict, comes a suspenseful psychological thriller and courtroom drama involving medical malpractice and sexual intrigue.

At seventeen, Donna DiTullio was a highly ranked tennis player with world-class potential. At twenty-one, she's hospitalized as a suicidal manic-depressive. But under the care of Dr. Robert Sexton and with the help of some experimental medication, Donna is ready to be discharged. Then, unexpectedly, she leaps from a fifth-floor balustrade, leaving herself paralyzed and near death.

Attorney Dan Sheridan is called in to sue the hospital and its owner, the Archdiocese of Boston. Sheridan presses his investigation against the powerful interests of the Church and the medical establishment, an investigation and subsequent trial that test all of his skill as a lawyer and lead to an ethical dilemma that will nearly cost him his life.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Although the intense legal infighting that pumped up Reed's bestsellers The Verdict and The Choice is in place here, this novel about a malpractice suit loses energy in other ways. Donna DiTullio is a promising young tennis star who leaps from the sixth-floor atrium of a Boston hospital after making a seemingly miraculous recovery from manic depression. She survives, but in a near-comatose state, and Reed's customary hero, attorney Dan Sheridan, takes up her legal cause in a suit against the hospital, which is owned by the Archdiocese of Boston. Soon, Sheridan comes to question both the effectiveness of the experimental drug Donna was taking and the compassion of her psychiatrist, Robert Sexton. The action picks up considerably as Sheridan survives an attempt on his life while engaged in some legal legwork, and as he finds himself in a race against time and his would-be assassin to save both the case and Donna's life. As before, Reed's great strength is his ability to convey the ordinary, day-to-day corruption that throws up an almost insurmountable mountain of obstacles for his hero to overcome. He focuses so much attention on Sheridan's problems and issues, however, that he generates only token sympathy for Donna; that flaw, plus a rather predictable outcome, flatten the novel's ending. But Reed, as always, does entertain, including enough wryly ironic passages on the practice of medicine and the law to give the suspense a welcome moral kick. (May)
Library Journal
In this tale of intrigue, Reed (The Indictment, LJ 7/94) returns lawyer Dan Sheridan to the legal-medical battlegrounds of Boston. After receiving an experimental drug, tennis star Donna DiTullio seems to have staged a dramatic recovery from manic-depression. But when she is ready for discharge, she plunges from the fifth floor of the hospital atrium and nearly dies. Were her psychiatrist, Dr. Robert Sexton, and the hospital negligent? Her distraught parents turn to Sheridan in search of a multimillion-dollar settlement to compensate for Donna's lost career and to provide long-term care. As attorneys on both sides engage in bribery, spying, and unethical dealings to increase their chances of winning, Sexton's criminal past slowly comes to light, but his murderous leanings will already be clear to the reader. Reed is strongest in the early chapters, but the plot slows as Sexton's guilt becomes obvious, and Sheridan's romance seems unconvincing and superfluous. Add where Reed is popular or where demand for legal thrillers is high. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 1/97.]-Kathy Piehl, Mankato State Univ., Minn.
School Library Journal
YAJust about everyone lies to everyone else throughout this medical-legal novel. Young tennis star Donna DiTullio is hospitalized after a suicide attempt and treated as a manic-depressive by the renowned Dr. Sexton. After a startling recovery due to treatment with an experimental medication, Donna is scheduled to leave St. Anne's psychiatric center when she falls from a fifth-floor balcony. Severely brain injured, she has little chance for recovery. Attorney Dan Sheridan is brought in by the DiTullio family to sue the doctor, the hospital, and its owner, the Archdiocese of Boston. Thus begins the unraveling of the true events that occurred on the balcony. Once Sheridan uncovers those deceptions, he must decide whether to expose the doctor's guilt or let the case stand as the hospital's negligence because of a balcony that was not properly secured. His decisions alter his life and leave readers to decide for themselves about the means he chooses to reach the end. An interesting story and a very fast read, the book will appeal to many YAs and leave them with a few questions worth asking.Carol DeAngelo, formerly at Fairfax County Public Library, VA
Kirkus Reviews
Dan Sheridan, one of the slicker members of Boston's criminal bar (The Indictment, 1994), accepts a civil suit that pits him against the city's legal, medical, and religious powers in another arresting case-history of health care gone wrong from old pro Reed (chairman of the Massachusetts Trial Lawyers Association).

Donna DiTullio, a stressed-out tennis prodigy who attempts suicide at age 22, sustains massive paralytic injuries in the wake of a five-story fall from an atrium balcony at St. Anne's Hospital. The maimed girl's distraught parents retain Sheridan to sue the hospital, its owner (the Roman Catholic Archdiocese), and her physician—Dr. Robert Sexton, a world-class psychiatrist. Mother Church quickly calls in heavy-hitting Charles Finnerty to defend its financial interests. With help from partner Tom Buckley, the undaunted plaintiff's counsel begins digging into the backgrounds of everyone connected to his client's near-fatal plunge. In the course of these inquiries, Sheridan unearths disturbing evidence that Sexton's top-drawer credentials mask a dark past. While the opposition gets the better of preliminary courtroom skirmishes, Sheridan (a resilient Vietnam vet) soldiers on, even managing to establish rudimentary communications with voiceless Donna. The game gets appreciably rougher as the determined advocate presses for answers to the question of why a vulnerable mental patient was left unattended in an open area, and hHe eventually comes close enough to the truth to draw potentially murderous fire from an anonymous assailant while jogging. Before the proceedings are fairly under way, however, Sheridan risks all to engineer an ethically iffy, out-of-court confrontation that ensures approximately appropriate forms of justice for all parties.

Although a seemingly pivotal character (a psych-unit nurse) drops out of sight early on and Sexton's use of a Prozac-like medication turns out to be a red herring, Reed once again makes the machinations of big-time attorneys immensely entertaining.

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Meet the Author

Barry Reed is a veteran trial lawyer, airplane pilot, and novelist. He enjoys playing basketball with his grandchildren in the driveway of his Westwood, Massachusetts, home.

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