The Organ Broker: A Novel

The Organ Broker: A Novel

4.9 14
by Stu Strumwasser
     
 

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The Organ Broker is the thrilling story of an underground black market organ dealer known as “New York Jack.” For eighteen years Jack has been a “transplant tourism director,” sending wealthy Americans and Europeans in need of kidneys and other organs to third world countries where they would buy them from transplant centers on the

Overview


The Organ Broker is the thrilling story of an underground black market organ dealer known as “New York Jack.” For eighteen years Jack has been a “transplant tourism director,” sending wealthy Americans and Europeans in need of kidneys and other organs to third world countries where they would buy them from transplant centers on the take. The death of a client and a newfound relationship lead to a crisis of conscience as he is forced to choose between a two million dollar commission—and participating in a murder. Jack races to South Africa, Brazil, and beyond, just one step ahead of his adversary and the FBI, in search of one small act of redemption.

As a disaffected youth in the late eighties, Jack Trayner entered the criminal world, selling coke when he needed money to pay his way through college. Although he later graduated from law school, an opportunity to earn easy money eventually seduced him into the bizarre and illegal black market for organs—a business that some consider horrendous and a small number of others deem to be heroic. The dual nature of this business assuaged Jack’s guilt and allowed him to flourish, yet the death of a client makes what he is doing all too real. The Organ Broker represents Jack’s confession.

The international black market sale of organs is very real and operates at this very moment behind closed hospital doors in many cities all around the world. It is a world that most people are only vaguely aware exists, and few of us know much, if anything, about, until now—in the pages of the confession of New York Jack.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
03/30/2015
Jack Traynor, the narrator of Strumwasser’s pointed, confessional first novel, which is centered on illegal organ transplants, explains the process that took him from peddling drugs through law school to the seminal incident that led him to arrange a kidney transplant for a former classmate. “New York Jack,” as he becomes known, establishes a worldwide network of sellers and buyers and, of course, hospitals where the transplants can take place safely. In South Africa, affable Dr. Mel Wolff runs a transplant center and the ruthless but efficient Pierre Kleinhans finds the often desperate donors. In Brazil, Dr. Juan Guillermo is his guy. Trayner’s perspective gradually changes as he realizes that there’s more to life than helping sick people and getting rich in the process. Readers will learn a lot about such matters as waiting lists, transplant success rates, and the whole sordid business of black-market transplants. While not terribly suspenseful, this is a real eye-opener. Agent: Jim Fitzgerald, James Fitzgerald Agency. (May)
From the Publisher
"A real eye-opener."
Publishers Weekly

"An unrelenting thriller that's hard to put down."
California Bookwatch

“The slick prose, especially the dialogue, makes the novel resemble classic noir... Recommended for fans of thrillers that tackle weighty societal issues, such as books by John Grisham, John le Carré, and Richard North Patterson.”
—Rebecca Foster, Foreword Reviews

"The Organ Broker is a powerful novel that everyone should read."
—Fran Lewis, Bookpleasures.com

"Author Stu Strumwasser has been able to deftly construct a world that most people are only vaguely aware exists."
—Greenspan's Bookshelf, Midwest Book Review

"Exciting and thought-provoking—the perfect package."
—Lee Child, New York Times # 1 bestselling author

"Tension and turmoil add up to high-stakes suspense in this all-too-real thriller, about a seedy and sordid world that rings with authenticity. The line between right and wrong is not only smudged, its smeared across the page." —Steve Berry, New York Times # 1 bestselling author

"A fascinating, troubling glimpse into the heart and soul of a black market organ dealer, which turn out to be even more complicated than we suspected. He’s a man who gazes at the stars while engaging in some of the most nefarious negotiations possible on this planet, a man capable of greed, regret, and love in equal measures. A gripping portrait of a man in conflict with himself."
—Daniel Asa Rose, author of Larry's Kidney: Being the True Story of How I Found Myself in China With my Black Sheep Cousin and His Mail-Order Bride, Skirting the Law to Get Him a Transplant ... and Save His Life, which was named “one of the top books of the year” by Publishers Weekly

"The Organ Broker is so richly imagined and executed I felt I was reading a memoir, not a work of fiction. Stu Strumwasser is a hugely talented writer. Read the first page and you won’t want to stop." -Don (D.J. Donaldson), author of the Andy Broussard/Kit Franklyn forensic mystery series and numerous medical thrillers.

"Powerful, original, and gut-wrenching. Stu Strumwasser takes us into the foreboding world of black market organ brokers, where each line crossed proves more dangerous than the last."
-Barry Lancet, author of Japantown and Tokyo Kill

"A thrilling narrative about the very real world of organ trafficking where human bodies in the third world are spare parts for patients in the first world. When The Organ Broker has a crisis of conscience Strumwasser asks if it's possible for him to make amends. The answer is both shocking and provocative."
—Scott Carney author of The Red Market: On the Trail of the World's Organ Brokers, Bone Thieves, Blood Farmers and Child Traffickers

“The Organ Broker by Stu Strumwasser is a great read. It is a medical thriller that you can't put down, and Stu is a talented storyteller. As a medical professional, I was impressed with the realism of the story. Stu's character portrayals bring this story vibrantly to life!”
—Dr. Marina Kurian, bariatric surgeon and host of SriiusXM DoctorRadio

“Strumwasser’s debut novel sends a wake-up call about the lucrative underground world of the organ donor industry. Absolutely provocative, The Organ Broker is a must read by all.”
—The Feathered Quill

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781628725230
Publisher:
Arcade Publishing
Publication date:
05/05/2015
Pages:
296
Sales rank:
1,169,127
Product dimensions:
6.20(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.20(d)

Related Subjects

Read an Excerpt

The Organ Broker

A Novel


By Stu Strumwasser

Skyhorse Publishing, Inc.

Copyright © 2015 Stu Strumwasser
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-62872-551-3



CHAPTER 1

ACCOUNT MANAGEMENT


I've had many last names over the years, but my first name has always been Jack. That makes it easier to remember who I'm supposed to be. I've been selling organs — mostly kidneys — on the black market for about eighteen years. Most of the business takes place overseas so the industry has come to be known as "Transplant Tourism" — and I'm the cruise director.

Last December I was making follow-up calls to some of my former clients like I've done every holiday season for the last six or seven years. It was comforting to check in with some of them around the holidays and learn that many were flourishing. Making those calls was the one accommodation I allowed myself despite my relentless efforts at security. I called them to convince myself that it was justified, that I was somehow absolved. I wasn't just doing it for the money ... I was saving lives.

I called Marlene Brown's house last year anticipating a routine update. A woman picked up and said, "Hello?" It was quiet in the background.

"Hi," I said cheerfully. "Is Marlene in?" Marlene was a pretty typical kidney case. She had been on dialysis a long time and had a slew of other health problems by the time her family got desperate enough to find Wallace on the Internet. Wallace is a buyer's agent and we sometimes work together. Marlene was a standard transplant tourism trip to Royston, one of my best facilities, in South Africa. She was probably gone for no more than ten days and should have done fine. It had been less than a year since then.

"Uhh, who's calling?"

"Jack. It's Jack Martinelli. Is she around?"

"Jack, Marlene's my mom. Are you a friend of hers?"

Yellow alert. "Yes." Nothing more.

"Jack, I'm really sorry to tell you this," she said quietly.

Shit, I thought. Marlene's dead.

"My mom died on Thursday."

"This ... this Thursday? Just now?"

"Yes," Marlene's daughter replied. "I'm Kim, her daughter. The funeral for Mom is the day after tomorrow. Near their place in New Hope. Do you know where that is?"

"New Hope, Pennsylvania?"

"Yes. If you grab a pen I'll give you directions."

"Oh. Okay. About two hours from New York, right?"

"Yes. Do you have a pen?"

I took down the directions, but I had no intention of going. She wasn't my friend. I had no personal connection to Marlene Brown. She wasn't the first client of mine to end up dead soon after a procedure, but somehow it felt different. She'd hung on for years on dialysis, outlasted renal failure, and managed to get a replacement part. A year later she went and gave up just in time to complicate Christmas.

I felt rattled when I hung up the phone. Maybe it was the coincidental timing of my call. There was a clump of sadness hanging in my throat that I couldn't seem to swallow.


* * *

Only a half hour after I had gotten off the phone with Kim Brown I called Wallace and had what constituted, for me, a minor fit. When you're playing with amateurs, you can miss a putt or two, but not with a pro like Wallace. Calling him was foolish.

"Hello?"

"Wallace, Jack," I said.

"Hey, New York," or something like that, from him. Not too excited or glad but always friendly enough. Wallace claimed to live in Connecticut.

"How are you?"

"Good. Happy holidays," he said cheerfully.

"You too."

"Glad you called," Wallace said.

"Oh, yeah?" Maybe I wouldn't mention it, I thought. Maybe it's not a thing to mention.

"I wanted to touch base and check your availability over the next month or two. Things always seem to get busier after the New Year and I have a few things I'm probably going to want your help with," Wallace said.

"Sure. I'm good," I told him. "The more lead time you give me, the easier —"

"I know that," he replied.

"I'm just saying, sometimes sourcing things can be difficult. If it's something hard to find."

"I'll give you as much time as I can. That's all I can do," he said matter-of-factly.

"Thanks," I replied. "Hey, Wallace, Marlene Brown. That was one of yours, right?"

"Why would you ask me that?"

"It's just me," I said. "It's just that she's gone and I thought you might want to know that."

"Why would you say that to me?" Wallace asked abruptly. "That's not a thing to say."

"It's Jack," I said and forced a small chuckle. "I'm just saying, I thought you might want to know. They were a nice old couple, she and her husband. That's all I meant."

"I don't care if they were nice or who is gone or not gone. Neither should you."

"Fine. Forget it. All I really meant to say is that I happen to know that a woman named Marlene Brown called it quits and I thought that would be of interest to you. You talk to these people. I don't. I just thought you'd be interested. That's all. Don't overreact, Wallace."

"Well, it concerns me that you would have that information, and I don't know why you'd be telling it to me. I don't even know anyone by that name, Jack."

There was a pregnant silence. "Okay," I said. "Have a good holiday."

He didn't say anything right away and there was another pause, and I could almost feel him thinking through how to handle the uncomfortable tension I'd created.

"Jack," he began quietly, "I need to know that we're okay."

"Of course."

"You are my biggest supplier now. I come to you first on a lot of things now. I have to be certain that we're okay. That you're steady."

"Steady, Wallace. You're right. It was the wrong thing to say. We're all good. Just call me after the holidays when you know what you need."

"Umm-hmm," he said, and cleared his throat softly. "Okay," he added and then hung up.

I should have never disclosed to him that I had talked to Marlene's daughter. He probably began looking into it right away. That's what I would have done. I've done it in the past. There are things I know about Wallace that he's not aware of. I've kept the information tucked away, available to me if necessary someday in the future. If Wallace uncovered other follow-up calls, he might not necessarily have cared, but it could have cost me business or it could have created even greater risks for me. It was an obvious and uncharacteristic mistake on my part.

I got off the phone that day struck by the thought that maybe it was time to leave the industry, and maybe this time it was really, finally true. After all of those years, despite the way my business had grown and the ease with which we were doing standard kidney deals, perhaps the whole thing had run its course — like an illness. I hadn't thought it through in a long time, hadn't considered what it was I actually did. I hadn't been in a shantytown in years. I hadn't worried much about getting caught either. I laughed a little when I recognized for the first time that I had gotten a little sloppy. I had apparently also forgotten that I was one of the bad guys.

CHAPTER 2

THE FUNERAL


Despite that awkward conversation with Wallace about having spoken to Marlene Brown's family, two days later I found myself heading south on I-95. I'm not sure why. Maybe it was morbid curiosity. Maybe voyeurism. Guilt? I had the melancholy sense of making a trip back to my grandfather's village in Ireland.

At the cemetery, I waded through patches of snow in shoes I was ruining. I eventually came upon a small gathering in the middle of an endless parade of headstones all pointing up out of the ground at imperfect angles, resembling long rows of crooked teeth in the mouth of a shark lying dead on a dock. I stayed on the perimeter and a priest was talking and then a line formed and they threw shovelfuls of dirt down on the coffin that contained Marlene Brown. All the men wore black overcoats. Does every man but me own a black overcoat? I hadn't attended a funeral since my father's almost twenty years earlier.

I remembered Marlene being a large woman, obese even. That had probably inflamed her diabetes and made things a lot harder. I never got close enough to get a look at the coffin. It's probably big, I thought. I wondered if they charge more if they need extra wood. The priest made a remark about how she had gotten a kidney transplant and how it had enabled her to spend a few more precious months with Joe and her eight grandchildren. I smiled inwardly, warmed by my own secret beneficence.

Marlene's priest was leading them through the Valley of the Shadow of Death. People huddled around her fresh grave in small groups and held each other's glove-covered hands. There was no wind, but it was cold. We could all see our breath that day in Pennsylvania. White puffs of vapor constantly dissipated in the air in front of our faces as we stood in the graveyard.

She had received a South African kidney. It was standard issue, from a poor black woman who lived in a tin shanty home. The Browns had paid $150K. The South African probably got about fifteen hundred. No one ever made follow-up calls to the sellers. There was a good chance that the South African got no aftercare. She might have gotten an infection or become unable to work.

In his eulogy the priest mentioned that Marlene's husband had gotten a second mortgage to pay for her operation. It didn't fully cover it, but neighbors and fellow parishioners donated enough to make up the difference. I didn't know that. I didn't talk too much to Wallace's buyers. From what Wallace had said, the guy didn't really try to negotiate. He just paid us. It wasn't the new knowledge of how the Browns had funded their purchase that struck me, but rather, the fact that I had been completely unaware of it.

"Traded his home for a few more months with his beloved wife," the priest said, while the cold, wet snow started to seep through the seams where the soles of my shoes met the soft Italian leather. I didn't know a thing about the Browns prior to that funeral. They belonged to Wallace. I had no idea about what they had gone through to buy my extraordinarily overpriced product that had, apparently, only extended her life for another few months. I realized then that I knew so little about any of them. I had stopped asking years ago. It caught me off guard.

Standing there in the snow, I thought about them all, and started to feel sick. I thought about the sellers in South Africa and Asia and South America, poor people living wretched lives all further cut off at the knees by the lies spewed by a network of finders that I had built and managed for years. I thought about all of our American and European clients who we had charged triple the fair price. They all went on to lead Marlene Brown–like lives, in varying degrees — although most did live much longer. Her husband, Joe, was crying, constantly wiping at his nose and his eyes with the fingers of a black leather glove. Then I found that I was crying, silently. It was not for Marlene; it was for me. I was crying for the life I had lost because I realized clearly that day that I had not saved a soul, but instead, I had played a part in destroying all of us. The magnitude of that loss was pushing down on my shoulders, sinking me deeper into the soft snow, pushing me down into the magma in the core of the Earth.

There is one thing that all priests and atheists have in common — they all hope the priests are right. But standing in the remnants of snow on the frozen grass in New Hope I certainly did not believe that priest when he said that Marlene Brown was in a place called heaven.

About twenty people in the US who need a kidney transplant are going to die today. They'll die waiting. A handful of others will die while waiting for a liver, heart, lung, pancreas, or for bone marrow. Twenty more will die tomorrow. The ones with the most money and the most determination are my potential customers. For them, greed for more life is a powerful motivator and that makes for incredible profit margins in my business. The rest spend days, months, and then years waiting, withering away in dialysis centers. The average wait for a kidney on a legit list these days is over seven years. That's no way to put up a fight.


* * *

What Wallace had said about things usually picking up in January was true. After the New Year, I was usually required to spend more time attending to some of the mundane and dirty details of my profession. This year was no different. Over the last decade or so, as I built up the business and became more efficient at getting things done, it seems like I've been a little busier each year. Over the last few years, it has also been accompanied by a sickening feeling, an apprehension of a coming closure, of an end — of getting caught, maybe. The more successful I am, the more deals I do, the more I am exposed to risk. It escalates.


* * *

In the car on the drive home, I thought about the church I went to, growing up in Queens. We took "Religion" classes on Wednesday afternoons. Sometimes my father picked us up in his big Oldsmobile, collecting us from the nuns and then distributing my friends and me to our respective houses for supper. We always left Religion feeling giddy. We snickered and elbowed each other in the ribs. The rides with my dad were strange, with a pervasive tension filling the quiet interior of his big car, his cigarette burning down gently in the ashtray. "Trayner's dad's such a hard-ass," the others would say at school. My dad drove without speaking. When we piled into his car, he might have managed, "How was it tonight?" sort of rhetorically, to which I guess I said, "Good." That was all. I didn't believe those nuns. He didn't believe them either, not at 5:45 on a Wednesday, the sky overhead already devoid of light.

A few days after Marlene Brown's funeral I was back at home in New York, thinking about her husband, Joe. It was just after New Year's. For a long time I had been aware of what I was doing, but I felt justified. I had endured an abusive father and an uncaring universe — as if that was special. Every kidney transaction I closed felt like another act of debasement that I was somehow forced to suffer, like a martyr. And each life-saving transaction became a small deposit I made in a karma savings account that I thought I could draw upon later. It turns out they were withdrawals, not deposits. When I tally it now, it's impossible to deny the magnitude of the mess I have made.

I pulled out some cash from under the luggage in my closet that I would have otherwise taken to the safe deposit boxes. I placed stacks of hundred-dollar bills into the cutouts I'd made with a box-cutter in the middle of a two-volume set of The Complete Works of William Shakespeare. I wrapped the books in tin foil and then wrapped that in bubble wrap and tucked them into a box with a typed note that said: "Joe, Enclosed is $50K. It is for you and you deserve it. You also need it, so don't do something stupid and give it to the Church. Don't try to deposit it in a bank or it will cause big problems for you. Don't tell anyone about your windfall for reasons obvious enough. Just use the money so you can do a little better than you might have done. I am sorry for your loss." That was it. Of course, when he read the last sentence, "I am sorry for your loss," he would know that his anonymous benefactor was referring to Marlene. I hardly felt worthy of making reference to Marlene, but I sent my condolences anyway. In years prior to that, if I had said, "I'm sorry for your loss," I probably would have just been referring to the fucking money. But not anymore.


* * *

I thought about that poor guy spending every last penny and then some, and having her go and quit just the same. It was too late to buy her a new kidney. And I found myself shaking my head and fighting off crying while I wrapped those books up in a shroud of bubble wrap. I decided to book a flight to Johannesburg and go see a farm for the first time in many years.

That was the first time that I considered the mechanics of what I am now preparing to do. In addition to quitting, I'm going to have to stop Wallace as well, which is much more complicated. He has been my associate and sometime-partner for over ten years. My plan is to have him meet me in the lobby of the emergency room at Columbia Presbyterian — one of the best transplant centers in the world. Wallace and I have met in person only on infrequent and important occasions. I'm confident that he will come but what I feel, much more than anxiety, is resignation.

I guess the way you're going to feel about all of this depends on whether you place a greater value on kindness or on honesty. It's more important to me now to tell you the truth than to spin the story to try and somehow make you see it my way. The hospital doesn't have a machine to filter out the impurities in one's soul, but in a way that's why I'll meet Wallace there. I think that what I'm looking for, perhaps for the first time, is the same as that which most people are seeking: a little bit of meaning. I only hope it's more than a symbolic gesture.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from The Organ Broker by Stu Strumwasser. Copyright © 2015 Stu Strumwasser. Excerpted by permission of Skyhorse Publishing, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Stu Strumwasser was born in Queens and raised in Lynbrook, New York. After graduating from Cornell University, he quickly became a successful businessman, working for several firms on Wall Street before founding Snow Beverages and serving as the company’s CEO for six years. He is the cofounder and COO of Tengrade, a social rating tool. Strumwasser is also the drummer and songwriter for indie rock band Channeling Owen. This is his first published novel.

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The Organ Broker: A Novel 4.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 15 reviews.
MikiHope More than 1 year ago
What an interesting book and so well written. It flows calmly through rough waters just telling things like they are in Jack's life. His childhood was horrible--he didn't like his chosen occupation as a lawyer. That's when it all started--he had to become a drug seller to pay his way through college. It describes how, as a broker of human organs, mostly livers or kidneys, he truly feels like he is doing some good. He is never totally comfortable and that feeling becomes worse and worse until he meets his supposed son from the only woman he has ever loved. Then he meets a young boy--one of the foreign donors--things start to change for Jack. He is beginning to really question if he truly is helping people. Then his son comes to him and it turns out his son's lover needs a heart--now Jack is not a murderer and that is what it would take. What Jack ultimately does will take your breathe way. Although this is a novel I am sure there is a black market for organ transplants. In the afterward of the book the author explains what is truly still happening and possible ways it can be stopped. I think everyone should read this book--it is certainly an eye opener!
FeatheredQuillBookReviews More than 1 year ago
Strumwasser's debut novel sends a wake-up call about the lucrative underground world of the organ donor industry. Forty-five-year-old Jack Trayner is a businessman, a cruise director in the Transplant Tourism industry. While the titles appear to be flashy, the truth is that Jack works on the black market, selling mostly kidneys. Jack rakes in a lot of cash, but to him it's not all about making money big bucks. Jack intrinsically believes that he is saving lives. His line of thinking drastically changes when he finds out that one of his former clients, who had just received a kidney transplant a month ago, dies. To further complicate matters, Jack receives a chilling response from the business contact who sold the kidney when Jack shares the information. Nonetheless, he attends the client's funeral, standing in the backdrop. And for the first time in eighteen years working in the industry, Jack realizes that he didn't save a soul, but rather he "played a part in destroying all of us." The funeral is a poignant moment in Jack's life, enough that he seriously begins to think about getting out of the organ donor racket. Yet it's not until he visits one of the organ farms—more like a shantytown in South Africa—that he's totally convinced. Getting out of the industry is a dangerous move, especially since Jack is the best in the business. While ruminating on his exit strategy, Jack recalls his shady and painful past—his dysfunctional upbringing, drug dealing through law school, his unsuccessful love life, and how he shifts from practicing law to the black market when a buddy of his asks for Jack's assistance in finding a kidney. But amid his scheming, Jack's life takes yet another turn when a buyer demands a live heart donor for a dying AIDS patient, and the patient turns out to be none other than Jack's son's lover. Stu Strumwasser weaves truth into his hardboiled-edge thriller. Divided into six parts, Strumwasser's plot zeros in on Jack, a seemingly cold and heartless man. Strumwasser portrays a man who is a victim of child abuse, and as a means of survival combines manipulation shrouded in apathy. Jack has a soft spot, which Strumwasser capitalizes on to shift his first person narrative into a different direction. Using a well-defined foiled yet sketchy cast, Strumwasser carefully develops the tender side of Jack's harsh character. Strumwasser keeps his plot flowing by throwing in plenty of twists and turns while alternating past and present scenes replete with Jack's thought processes, engaging character dialogue, romantic snippets, and factual information about the world-wide organ shortage crisis that, together, build up to one surprising ending. Strumwasser closes his engaging plot with an author's note that includes a plea for readers to register to be an organ donor, a practical and efficient "three-pronged solution" (taken from his March 23, 2014 published article in Salon.com) to the organ shortage—"a problem that is quickly growing into a quiet epidemic," and websites for further information. Quill says: Absolutely provocative, The Organ Broker is a must read by all!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was an excellent story from beginning to end! Though a work of fiction, the author is well educated about the reality of organ transplant needs in todays society. While most readers will think the scenarios described are fictitous I am here to say..not so ! Good Work Stu! I will recommend this book to all my medical friends and co-workers
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What can I say about a guy who buys and sells human parts as if they were just another commodity? What I can say is that I absolutely loved this book. In fact I enjoyed it so thoroughly that I own the hard cover, a digital copy and an ARC which is a preview copy supplied by the publisher. The story takes off and once in the air I never wanted to land. Every ingredient that makes a book outstanding and memorable is contained in this involving, fascinating, and highly entertaining novel. I will not reveal anything about the plot or premise. What I will reveal is this: Buy this book today and read it at once.
GRocklein More than 1 year ago
“The Organ Broker” by debut novelist Stu Strumwasser takes the reader into uncharted waters. The book describes the life of New York Jack, a black-market organ broker who buys organs from poor sellers in Africa and South America, operating secretly for years, until his partner asks him to get a heart—which would require a murder. This is an awesome book which is both exciting and a literary accomplishment. I urge readers of good fiction to get this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really loved this book. It combines a fast moving plot, interesting (lovable and unlovable) characters, and a thoughtful exposition of the ethics of the organ donor system and its black market counterpart, all without being preachy. While it is a true New York novel in every way, the plot spans continents, giving the story a global canvas and allowing the author to weave together multiple, diverse personalities that intersect to illuminate our genetically programmed quest for continued life, and its inevitable dark consequences.  
RosanneK More than 1 year ago
As the main character, Jack, grapples with his career choices and beliefs about who he really is, Strumwasser's succinct, vivid, and often in your face writing (this is meant as a compliment) immediately got my attention. From New York City to South Africa, Strumwasser took me on a journey into the depths of the organ donor black market (known in the book as "organ tourism"), as well as into the depths of Jack's own psyche. What struck me most about the novel, is that while Jack's life is somewhat fantastical, at its core, the book is about the choices we make, living with the consequences of those choices, and that life is full of nuance and ambiguity. In addition, Strumwasser provides a haunting portrayal of the organ donation process. A great first novel that will get you thinking and, better yet, keep you thinking about not only Jack's choices but your own life choices as well.
eskae107 More than 1 year ago
The Organ broker is a great read that will keep you engaged throughout. Stu Strumwasser does a masterful job of letting the reader feel the inner conflict going on within the main character, New York Jack, while bringing to light a major issue of illegal organ transplants.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Is The Organ Broker fiction or non-fiction? I think I know Jack…for real. This was like reading someone’s personal diary that you just cannot put down, but you know you shouldn’t have opened. Jack makes you think long and hard about what position you take when it comes to our current medical system versus those willing to pay or go the extra mile to live. I’m pretty sure that I would hire Jack.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very exciting, while also being quite informative about the underground organ market. Most importantly, the story and writing kept me engaged throughout, wanting to find out what happens next.
GBaum More than 1 year ago
Captivating medical Thriller!! The Organ Broker is one of the best medical thriller's I have ever read! Strumwasser's detailed development of his characters, from New York Jack on down to the towns people in South Africa, is spot on and made me feel as if I was personally coming in contact with each and every one of them. He also made the story come to life for me, as I sat on the edge of my seat, wondering if this was actually fiction or genuinely taking place around me in real time. I highly recommend this book to any reader who likes an entertaining page turner and truly looks to become captivated by an intriguing and suspenseful storyline.
j_m_j More than 1 year ago
A plot driven thriller that will educate the reader on the problematic, poorly run nightmare of organ transplantation, which allows many to die unnecessarily in this county. This crisis is revealed through the morally ambiguous entrepreneur, New York Jack. As Jack navigates through the first meaningful relationships of his adult life, he is forced to re-consider the role he wants to play in a sinister, yet lucrative business. Jack is not just one thing, he is simultaneously flawed, ambitious, fragile, destructive and heroic.
GibblerLB More than 1 year ago
A truly eye-opening look into the dark & oftentimes misunderstood world of organ donation.
DCon1 More than 1 year ago
The Organ Broker took me into a world I never knew existed. Strumwasser’s writing grabbed me and kept me from start to finish. The characters and settings helped to weave a complex narrative that was engaging and riveting. Jack’s struggles were real and thought provoking. A great read – highly recommended.
NewYorkJack More than 1 year ago
Lee Child called THE ORGAN BROKER:  "Exciting and thought-provoking--the perfect package."