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Talk about the odd couple. Doctor Michael Van Emery, beer-drinking, smoking, middle-aged family doctor, and Harmon Burke, fastidious fourth-year medical student from New York City, are certainly that. The setting is the Pine Barrens of New Jersey, where Dr. Van Emery has an office. His backwoods brand of medicine irritates the urban Burke, where the young man is taking rotation-but at least they both play chess. Issues of abortion and euthanasia are portrayed. The medical student has a deep, dark secret about a fire in his youth that the older man uncovers. With a cast of characters that would make Dickens proud, Van Emery and Burke travel through the Pine Barrens and are driven to the story's denouement.