Do No Harm

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Someone is stalking the UCLA Medical Center — a depraved madman who is preying upon the staff, particularly those who are young and female. No stranger to the terrible ravages of senseless violence, E.R. Chief Dr. David Spier must keep the emergency room running smoothly and efficiently, even as his terrified co-workers wonder who will be the next victim. But when the monster himself is dragged into the E.R. in handcuffs — hideously burned, suffering, and begging for mercy — the nightmare is far from over ... it ...

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Someone is stalking the UCLA Medical Center — a depraved madman who is preying upon the staff, particularly those who are young and female. No stranger to the terrible ravages of senseless violence, E.R. Chief Dr. David Spier must keep the emergency room running smoothly and efficiently, even as his terrified co-workers wonder who will be the next victim. But when the monster himself is dragged into the E.R. in handcuffs — hideously burned, suffering, and begging for mercy — the nightmare is far from over ... it has only just begun. A single act of humanity is about to unleash a bloody wave of horror that threatens to engulf everyone and everything Dr. Spier cares about. His most sacred oath as a healer has become a death sentence — for David Spier ... and for a city under siege.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
Gregg Andrew Hurwitz's first two novels, The Tower and Minutes to Burn, established him as a rising star among thriller writers. With Do No Harm, Hurwitz makes an impressive entry into the crowded field of medical suspense, delivering a fast-paced, often frightening story that will appeal to fans of Robin Cook, Michael Palmer, and Tess Gerritsen.

In the opening paragraph, popular UCLA Medical Center staffer Nancy Jenkins runs screaming into the emergency room, having been attacked by an assailant who tossed a bottle of lye into her face, blinding and disfiguring her. Chief of Staff David Spier quickly takes control of the situation and tries to restore a semblance of calm among Nancy's friends and colleagues. But a second attack on another staff member soon follows, and it becomes clear that someone is targeting the medical center. Panic, outrage, and intense media scrutiny inevitably ensue. Then, in a supremely ironic twist, the assailant -- a deeply disturbed loner named Clyde -- is captured and delivered to UCLA's ER for treatment of his injuries, so that Dr. Spier finds himself forced to give medical assistance to the man who has terrorized his hospital.

Hurwitz is a resourceful, fluent storyteller, and he pushes the narrative along at a breakneck clip. His central characters -- the troubled, dedicated Spier and the thoroughly demented Clyde -- are credibly and carefully developed, as is the large and varied supporting cast. Hurwitz has a gift for portraying aberrant states of mind and a genuine feel for the everyday stresses of hospital life. Do No Harm is colorful, authentic, and incredibly hard to put down. Bill Sheehan

Book Browser
Compelling...Gregg Hurwitz is the heir apparent to Robin Cook.
Jonathan Kellerman
Do No Harm is a terrifying and savage descent into the darkest corners of evil and madness.
Michael Connelly
...a gripping page-turner...that sticks in mind long after the last page is turned.
Sue Grafton
. . . the perfect blend of suspense, pacing, strong storyline, compelling characters, and a villain who will knock your socks off.
T. Jefferson Parker
. . . a spooky, surprising and unsettling thriller. Good character, a suspenseful plot and a shock of an ending.
Publishers Weekly
After two page-turners distinguished mainly by their lurid action and intrigue (The Tower; Minutes to Burn), Hurwitz shows a more serious side in this adeptly researched, well-constructed tale about science gone awry. One thing that hasnt changed, however, is the authors knack for creating distinctive villains. Here, its a psychologically damaged young man who is terrorizing the staff of a Los Angeles hospital by throwing flesh-burning alkali in the faces of nurses and doctors. After the second attack, police finally figure out the assailant is Clyde Slade, a disgruntled former hospital worker who was let go months earlier for trying to steal drugs. Emergency room physician David Spier believes that Slade may be motivated by something deeper. He launches an investigation of his own, eventually determining that Slade was an unwitting participant in a hushed-up medical study decades earlier that ended in disaster. The study, designed to foster fear in young boys, wound up traumatizing most of them for life. Slades current behavior, Spier reasons, represents not only a way to exact revenge against the hospital but fulfills a psychological need to generate fear and torment in others. As the cops close in, Spier finds himself advocating for Slade even as he hunts him down. In his most ambitious book to date, Hurwitz delves convincingly into the world of medicine, psychology and investigative techniques. Some characters"a gleeful embalmer, a Nazi construction worker"are a bit over-the-top, and several scenes serve as little more than showcases for Hurwitzs research. But the action comes fast and steady, and by the end, Hurwitz has almost made the case that an alkali-throwing loonie deserves our sympathy. (Aug.) Forecast: Young up-and-comer Hurwitz is building a following, which should be bolstered by television and print advertising for Do No Harm, and Hurwitzs six-city author tour. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
In this new thriller by Hurwitz (Minutes To Burn), a nurse is attacked by a man throwing an alkali substance over her head and face just outside the UCLA Medical Center emergency room. The hospital is thrown into an uproar when a female doctor is similarly brutalized, and the full focus of the Los Angeles Police Department is centered on the medical facility and its staff. Dr. David Spier finds himself in a dilemma when the perpetrator is caught and dragged into the ER. Not only is he burned by the alkali he had in his possession but he has been beaten by the police. The doctor fears that he will never live to see a trial date. The media pick up on the turmoil inside the ER as most of the staff refuse to help Spier treat the man. When the suspect escapes, Spier becomes Dr. Death to all concerned. As his life is turned upside down, the doctor delves into the motivation behind violent crime and finds answers that he does not want. Hurwitz is a brilliant storyteller, and, despite a few scenes that stretch the reader's credulity, he has written a fast-paced plot with nicely defined characters. For all fiction collections. Jo Ann Vicarel, Cleveland Heights-University Heights P.L., OH Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060008871
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 7/9/2003
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 544
  • Product dimensions: 4.18 (w) x 6.75 (h) x 1.08 (d)

Meet the Author

Gregg Hurwitz

Gregg Hurwitz is the critically acclaimed author of The Tower, Minutes to Burn, Do No Harm, The Kill Clause, The Program, and Troubleshooter. He holds a B.A. in English and psychology from Harvard University and a master's degree from Trinity College, Oxford University. He lives in Los Angeles.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Face white and blistering, eyelids swollen nearly shut, hair falling from the front of her scalp in thin clusters, the nurse stumbled blindly through the UCLA Medical Center Emergency Room doors, both hands waving in front of her. Her cries came from deep in her chest, rapid animal sounds that twisted into raspy moans by the time they left her mouth. A half-moon darkened the V of her scrub-top collar, and the skin along her clavicle had whitened and softened.

She tried to say something, but it came out a guttural bark.

A Hispanic gardener leapt up from his seat before the lobby's check-in windows, cradling the bloody bandage wrapping his hand and knocking over his chair. He circled wide as the nurse advanced, as if afraid of attack or contamination. A mother holding her five-year-old stepped through a set of swinging doors, shrieked, and beelined to the safety of the waiting room. The guard at the security desk rose to a half crouch above his chair.

A blister burst near the woman's temple, sending a run of viscous fluid over the mottled landscape of her cheek. Open sores spotted her lips, and when she spread her mouth to scream, her Cupid's bow split, spilling blood down her chin. She groped her way along the wall, her shoulders racking with sobs, her mouth working on air.

An expression of horror frozen on her face, Pat Atkins circled her desk in the small triage room, knocking over her first cup of morning coffee, and ran into the lobby toward the woman.

The woman retched, sending a thin spray of grayish vomit across the vivid white wall. She lunged forward, her shin striking the overturned chair, and tumbled over, breaking her fall with the heels of her hands.

Pat sprinted over, shouting at the security guard, "Tell them to get Trauma Twelve ready!"

She reached for a pulse as the nurse rolled onto her back, sputtering and gurgling, leaving a hank of hair on the clean tile floor. When Pat saw the nurse's ID badge, she inhaled sharply, running a hand over her bristling gray hair.

"Jesus God," she said. "Nancy, is that you?"

The swollen head nodded, the whitish raw skin glistening. "Dr. Spier," she rasped. "Get Dr. Spier."

Nearly knocking over a radiology resident with an armful of charts, David Spier sprinted into the Central Work Area bridging the two parallel hallways of exam rooms that composed his division. He pointed at an intern and snapped his fingers. "Carson's supposed to stitch up a leg in Seven. Go keep an eye so he doesn't duck out -- you know how he is with sutures. And I need a urine on Mitchell in Eight."

He stepped across the CWA, patting his best resident on the shoulder. "Diane -- let's move."

Diane handed off the phone to a nurse and pivoted, her shoulder-length straight blond hair whipping around so the nurse had to lean back out of its way. Grabbing the pen from behind her ear, Diane slid it into the pocket on her faded blue resident scrubs. David rested a hand on her shoulder blade, guiding her into Hallway One. They both shuffle-stepped back as the gurney swept past them and banked a hard left into the trauma room. They followed behind, David resting his hands on the back of the gurney. The nurses folded in on the patient's writhing body, a wave of dark blue scrubs. Pat leaned over, slid a pair of trauma shears up the moist scrub top, threw the material to the sides.

"What do we have?" David asked.

A nurse with shiny black hair glanced up. "Caucasian female, probably midtwenties, some vomiting, erythematous blisters on face and upper chest, eyes are opaque, moderate respiratory distress. Appears to be some kind of chemical burn." She reached down and untwisted the ID badge from the mound of fabric. Her face blanched. "It's Nancy Jenkins."

The news rippled visibly through the nurses and lab techs. Though they were accustomed to operating under duress, having a colleague and friend wheeled into the ER in this state was beyond even their experience.

David glanced at Nancy's blistering face, her pretty blond hair lying inloose strands on the gurney, and felt a chill wash down his chest to his gut. He recalled when they had wheeled his wife in here two years ago, the night of his forty-first birthday, but he caught himself quickly, checking his thoughts. Instinctively, his physician's calm spread through him, protective and impersonal.

He quick-stepped around the gurney so he could examine Nancy's face. Her eyelids and lips were badly burnt. If the caustic agent dripping from her had gotten into her eyes and down her throat, they were dealing with a whole new host of problems.

"Get me GI and ophtho consults," he said. "And someone contact the tox center. Let's get the offending agent ID'd."

Pat glanced up from her post behind Nancy's head. "Some nasal flaring here, and she's stridorous." She chewed her lip. "Hurry with that monitor."

"Find me some pH strips," Diane called out. "And let's get saline bottles in here stat."

A clerk ran from the room. Two nurses dashed in, pulling on latex gloves and snapping them at the wrists.

"Was it an explosion?" someone asked.

"Doubt it," Pat said. "Nancy walked in herself -- it must've happened right outside. Security's already contacted the police."

"She's working hard," David said, glancing at the skin sucking tight against her ribs and around her neck. "Supraclavicular and substernal retractions. Let's get ready to tube her."

Nancy tried to sit up, but Pat restrained her. Nancy's breath came in great heaves. "Dr. Spier," she said. Her voice was thick and rough, tangling in the swell of her throat.

David leaned over Nancy's face. The...

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 9 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 9 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 23, 2005

    Horrible, long-winded story

    I believe this was the worst book I've ever read. The author just seemed to ramgle on. I think the storyline could have been good by another author, or by leaving out all the unnecessary rambling I finally just had to speeed-read through to the end.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 21, 2004

    Kept me interested

    A likable main character with requisite flaws. But this thriller kept me interested and does not bog the reader with unnecessary medical terminology. Some of the characters became annoying but overall a good story and author.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 4, 2003

    Face paced thriller

    Do No Harm was an excellent, face-paced thriller. The medical and criminal aspects were interesting; Hurwitz certainly has done his research and the book reads like a good, fast- paced episode of er. Having read many books of this genre, Hurwitz is among the best. The characters are well developed and the story moves along quickly. I am looking forward to picking up his other books.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 8, 2003

    Must read

    This is a must read for any reader. You will find you can't put it down no matter where you are in the book. I recommend you take it on a plane or on vacation because you will need the uninterrupted time with it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 15, 2003


    What's next for Dr. Spiers? Hunt down Bin Laden? Unrealistic, soap operatic babble.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 29, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

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    Posted November 22, 2008

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 14, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 8, 2009

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