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Dr. Eli Branch, a young surgeon, appears to have everything going for him when he joins Gates Memorial Hospital in Memphis in Pearson's promising if cliché-laden debut. Branch's wild ride starts after he gets the blame for a botched procedure headed by the chief of vascular surgery. Branch goes from fair-haired boy to pariah at Gates, from rising medical scientist to fugitive suspect as his enemies seek to prevent him from discovering facts that could destroy them. Pearson, himself an M.D., dramatically describes operating scenes and lucidly explains medical issues, from aortic device failures to stem cell therapy. Unfortunately, the plot contains just about every hoary B-movie concept, from corrupt hospital officials and a ruthless medical corporation to a beautiful temptress and secret underground passages. Still, Branch makes an appealing hero as he fights the steep odds against him. Hopefully, he'll be back for a more realistic sequel. (Feb.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.