Doing Harm

Doing Harm

by Kelly Parsons

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781250033482
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication date: 02/02/2016
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 480
Sales rank: 509,668
Product dimensions: 4.10(w) x 7.50(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

KELLY PARSONS is a board-certified urologist with degrees from Stanford University, University of Pennsylvania, and Johns Hopkins, and he is on the faculty at the University of California San Diego. He lives with his family in Southern California. Doing Harm is his first novel.

Read an Excerpt




Saturday, July 11

“Steve?” Sally’s voice floats down from our bedroom at the top of the stairs. “I’m almost ready. Are the girls okay?”

“They’re fine,” I call back automatically, staring into the downstairs bathroom mirror. I give one final tug on my tie, walk out of the bathroom, and step over the baby gate that guards the living-room entrance, separating that space from the rest of our small house like a barbed-wire fence around a POW camp. I survey the scene.

Katie is hunched over her play stove in a corner of the room, rummaging through plastic pots and pans and muttering to herself. Her five-year-old face is set in fierce concentration, and I glimpse what family and friends often comment on but that I myself rarely acknowledge out loud: Except for her dark black hair, which today is set in pigtails, Katie is the spitting image of me—green eyes, an elongated face, and prominent ears. Meanwhile, a short distance away, Annabelle observes Katie serenely from her baby walker, thinking about whatever it is that ten-month-olds think about. She looks every bit as much like her mother as Katie looks like me, with straight, dark black hair, matching dark eyes, and a small nose.

Annabelle spots me, smiles adoringly, bangs happily on the narrow plastic shelf in front of her, bounces up and down, and waves like she hasn’t seen me in months. I wave back like an idiot, pumping my hand back and forth with childish enthusiasm. The waving thing never gets old at this age, and I love it. “Hi, ’Bella. Hi, sweetie.”

Katie spins around. “Daddy!” she shrieks, running over and wrapping herself around my leg. I love that, too. Who wouldn’t? Sure, they’re a pain in the ass sometimes—okay, practically all of the time—but I can’t imagine why anyone would not want to have kids. “I’m making dinner!”

“Oh, boy. Show me.”

She disengages herself from my leg, takes me by the hand, and leads me to the play stove. She solemnly spoons some white Styrofoam peanuts, the kind used as packing material in shipping boxes, from a plastic pot and into a small bowl, which she then hands to me. I poke its contents suspiciously and hold up one of the thumb-sized peanuts.

“Where did these come from?”

“Mommy’s box.” She gestures toward an open cardboard box sitting near the front door, a recent purchase from an online store. A few of the peanuts lie scattered on the floor around it, carelessly strewn across the cracked linoleum. “Eat, Daddy.”

“Katie, you shouldn’t be playing with these. They’re too small for Annabelle.”

“But ’Bella likes them.”

My stomach does a queasy flip. “What do you mean, ‘’Bella likes them’?” I turn sharply to face Annabelle, realizing that she hasn’t made a single sound, not so much as a gurgle or a raspberry, since I came into the room, and that her cheeks are puffed out, like a chipmunk with a bunch of nuts tucked in its mouth. She smiles at me again, and her lips part slightly, revealing a glimpse of white Styrofoam.

Annabelle bears my frantic plucking of all of the peanuts—and there are a lot of them—from her mouth with grace and equanimity, never once crying or resisting. When I’m done, I hand her a plastic rattle, which she shoves in her mouth as if nothing happened, and squat down next to Katie, who’s flipping calmly through a picture book.

“Katie. You shouldn’t have put those things in ‘Bella’s mouth.”


“Because they could have hurt her.”

“Why?” A hint of defiance has crept into her voice.

“She could have swallowed them and gotten sick.”

Her lower jaw juts forward. “’Bella’s not sick. She liked my dinner.”

Hard to argue with that. I’m trying to frame a suitable but firm response that doesn’t involve complex descriptions of human-respiratory-tract anatomy when the doorbell rings. I check my watch. Right on time. As usual. “Just … don’t do it again, Katie,” I say lamely, rising to my feet.

“Okay.” She’s already flipping pages in her picture book.

I grab the box full of the Styrofoam peanuts, shove it in a nearby closet, and open the front door to find my mother-in-law staring up at me, steely-eyed and unsmiling.

“Hi, Mrs. Kim.”

“Steven.” She steps across the threshold. I hesitate, and then awkwardly bend over to hug her. She wraps her arms around my waist and lightly pats my back once before quickly withdrawing. She steps back and stares at me coldly.

I shift my weight and cough. “I, um … We really appreciate you watching Katie and Annabelle tonight for us, Mrs. Kim.”

“You’re welcome, Steven.”

Like a knee-high rocket, Katie launches herself at my mother-in-law, grabbing her by the leg and screaming with laughter. Annabelle beams and bounces furiously up and down in her walker.

Mrs. Kim’s face blossoms into a broad smile. “Oh my goodness! What a wonderful greeting!” With Katie still affixed to her leg, she gingerly steps into the room and, with a strength that defies her petite frame, scoops up Katie in one arm and Annabelle in the other. They giggle happily as she whispers to them in rapid-fire Korean.

Sally appears at the bottom of the stairs, her slim figure tucked into a sleek black cocktail dress, looking harried but elegant as she snaps a pearl earring into place. “Hi, Mom. Thanks for coming over.” She pecks her mother on the cheek, and they confer briefly on bath, dinner, and bed for the girls. “We should be back by ten.”

“Where are you going tonight?”

“We’re going to a cocktail party for Steve’s work before grabbing some dinner.”

Her mother nods approvingly. “Good. You deserve a night out.” I’m standing right there, but Mrs. Kim addresses Sally as if they’re the only two people in the room.

Good-bye, Mom.” We hug and kiss Katie and Annabelle good night, and a short while later we’re in our sky blue Toyota Sienna minivan headed for my boss’s house.

“I think your mom is really starting to warm up to me.”

“Why’s that?” Sally flips down the passenger-side sun visor and starts applying lipstick in the cosmetic mirror fixed to the back of it.

“She didn’t mention my weight.”


“Or my hairline.”

Sally sighs. “Why are you letting her get to you tonight?”

“I’m not.” Yes I am. “It’s just … I’m a doctor. Aren’t mothers-in-law supposed to, you know, appreciate the doctor thing?”

“She does. It partly makes up for your not being Korean.” She’s done with the lipstick and is fluffing her black, shoulder-length hair.

I glance at her, chagrined. Such blunt, casual acknowledgment of the only ongoing source of tension in our marriage—her parents’ displeasure with their daughter’s decision to marry outside the Korean community, a displeasure that two well-adjusted grandchildren and years of stable marriage have done little to diminish—is unusual.

“But not completely.”

“No. And never will.” She snaps the visor back into place and gazes out the window. “But I think you know that already. Can we talk about something else?”

“Sure.” She must be in a philosophical mood or something. As bad as it’s been for me with her parents, it’s been ten times worse for her. But she’s always stood her ground with them. It’s one of the reasons I love her so much.

Sally is many different things, most of them synonyms for success, and all of which I absolutely adore: smart, driven, witty, confident. I know most people wouldn’t call hers a pretty face—on some objective level, from a purely aesthetic standpoint, I know it’s quite plain, really; maybe even erring on the side of unattractive. Thick lips. A nose that’s too small for her broad cheeks and wide-set eyes. But I can honestly say without a trace of sentimentality that I think she’s absolutely beautiful. She has an indefinable charisma that belies her looks, an enviable, innate ability to walk into a crowded room, instinctually size it up, and win over every single person in it with smooth-talking charm. She doesn’t even have to try. People like her. All kinds of people. To me, it’s a mystical talent, something I wouldn’t be able to do if my life depended on it. And a talent that she’s always put to good use: Before she had Katie and decided to stop working, Sally had a very successful career as a high-ranking assistant to the head of Human Resources at my hospital. That’s how we met.

I try to think of something else to talk about, and my mind drifts back to the Styrofoam-peanut incident with Annabelle. I relate the story, playing down the part about me actually being out of the room when Katie shoved the packing material into her sister’s mouth—like a mother bear defending her cubs, Sally can be extremely touchy about anything that even remotely threatens the health of the girls, and my relatively more laissez-faire approach to parenting has gotten me into trouble with her more than once. But when I’m finished, Sally simply throws back her head and laughs. “‘She liked my dinner.’ You know, Katie reminds me more and more of you every day.”

I think about the way Katie looked earlier tonight, bent over that stupid toy kitchen, so intent on what she was doing. “Because she’s so smart?”

“Nice try. No. Because she’s so stubborn.”

“Oh.” I grip the steering wheel a bit more firmly.

Sally pats my shoulder affectionately. “I know. You hate hearing that. But it is what it is. Besides, it’s not all bad. Being single-minded is what’s enabled you to succeed. I mean, you never give up. I love that about you. But it is a real pain in the ass sometimes. Once you’ve made up your mind about something, no force on the planet will get you to change it. Even when you’re wrong. Especially when you’re wrong. You know what I’m talking about.”

“You’re seeing the same thing with Katie?”

“Every single day.”

“Surgeons are pretty stubborn. Maybe she’ll become a surgeon someday.”

“God, I hope not.” She smirks.

“Yeah. Well … you know what they say about surgeons, right?”

Sometimes wrong, never unsure.

“Shit. Have I used that line before?”

“Just a couple of hundred times. Where did you first hear it?”

“I’m not exactly certain. Probably from Collier.”

We ride together in silence for a few minutes before she says, “Your meeting with Dr. Collier is next Monday. Right?”


“What are the chances he’s going to offer you a job?”

My insides suddenly bunch up into a little ball. “I don’t know.”

“Still? Haven’t you talked to him about it yet?”


“We really need to stay here in Boston, Steve. Our whole lives are here.”

“What do you want me to say?” We’re launching into a variation of a conversation we’ve had countless times before. I know how much she wants to stay in Boston. “The opportunity hasn’t come up to talk about it. Besides, I think Northwest Hospital is getting ready to make a firm offer.”

“But … you don’t want to work at Northwest.”

“The money’s good at Northwest.”

“That’s not what I said. It’s not a medical school. It’s not what you want.”

“I know.”

“How about Harvard, or U Mass?”

“They’re not hiring right now.” What’s left unsaid is that there’s only one job I really want anyway, more than I’ve wanted just about anything else in my life, and Sally knows it: to work at University Hospital and be a professor at University Medical School.

“Why don’t you ask Dr. Collier about it tonight? He’ll be relaxed. Sociable.”

“I’m … I don’t know. Maybe.”

“Since when are you so indecisive? You just got through saying how”—she lowers the pitch of her voice an octave—“never unsure you are.”

“You don’t just go waltzing up to my boss and ask him for a job. It’s not the way it works. We’re talking about University Hospital. You don’t ask to work at University. You’re invited. Between med school and residency, I’ve spent the last nine years of my life busting my ass there—”

“All the more reason for you to be proactive about the whole thing.”

“—and I don’t want to blow it now.”

She drums her fingers along the armrest. “If you don’t ask him, how are you ever going to know for sure? Maybe he’s waiting for you to show some interest.”

I stare at the road and purse my lips.

“Honestly.” She sighs, turning back toward the window. “Sometimes I don’t know who’s worse: you, or the five-year-old.”

*   *   *

Dr. Collier and his wife stand in the spacious foyer of their home in Wellesley, underneath an elaborate chandelier, informally greeting their guests as they enter through the front door. It’s been an unusually dry spring and summer, and the mosquito population is light, so the heavy oak front doors are thrown wide open to admit both a pleasant early-evening breeze and the guests streaming across the threshold.

Each year in July, Dr. Collier, the chairman of our department and my boss, has a cocktail party for all of the surgeons that work for him. He and his wife throw a pretty decent party. Beyond the foyer, in a living room with vaulted ceilings seemingly as high as a cathedral’s, faculty and residents from my department stand around with drinks in their hands, clumped into groups of varying size and composition. They chat amiably as servers—nubile young women wearing identical white dress shirts and long black pants—circulate with blank smiles and hors d’oeuvres laid out on silver platters. Along one side of the room, a string quartet plays classical music; on the opposite side, a bartender pours drinks from the Colliers’ ornate, marble-topped wet bar.

Dr. Collier himself is the spitting image of the actor Charlton Heston. Not the young, square-jawed, noble, 1950s Charlton Heston from the movie The Ten Commandments, but the older, crankier, more blustery 1960s and 1970s Charlton Heston from movies like Planet of the Apes and The Omega Man and Soylent Green. It’s much more than just a passing resemblance, and I often wonder if Dr. Collier puts any conscious thought into imitating him. Tall, lanky, muscular, and uniformly bronzed even in the middle of January, his sinewy virility and biting cynicism are matched only by his propensity for spontaneously launching into bombastic speeches.

About the only non-Hestonesque thing about him is his musical preference in the operating room: show tunes. He’s especially partial to West Side Story. Imagine watching Colonel Taylor from the original Planet of the Apes cut out somebody’s kidney while humming along to “I Feel Pretty,” and you’ll have some idea of what it’s like to operate with Dr. Collier.

Tonight, he’s wearing a light brown linen suit and pink dress shirt, no tie, with a pink paisley silk handkerchief neatly folded into the left breast pocket.

Sally and I approach Dr. and Mrs. Collier just as they’re finishing speaking with one of the other residents. “Steven,” Dr. Collier says, shaking my hand briefly before focusing all of his attention on Sally. He smiles warmly and kisses her on the cheek. “Good evening, Sally. Welcome to our home.”

Mrs. Collier is a thin, graceful woman with long brown hair flecked with gray, friendly eyes, and a genteel Southern accent. Looking stylish in a sleeveless silver dress, she takes my hand first, then hugs Sally. Sally gushes over a console table that dominates the foyer (“This wasn’t here last year, was it?”). Mrs. Collier beams her approval and responds that no, she only bought it just last month, and launches into a detailed description of the antique store in which she discovered it.

Dr. Collier takes the opportunity to talk shop. “So. Steven. How does it feel to be a chief resident?”

“Terrific, Dr. Collier. I’ve been looking forward to it for so long, I can’t believe it’s actually, finally here.”

“Excellent. I’ve been out of town at a conference recently. I understand that you started on service last week, with Luis Martínez as your junior resident.”

“Yes, sir.”

“Well, you won’t find a more industrious resident than Luis. I’m sure the two of you will make an excellent team.”

“Thanks, Dr. Collier. I’ve enjoyed working with him so far.” I don’t know if enjoy is exactly the right word—I hardly know the guy—but we’ve had a productive professional relationship over the past week.

“Is he coming tonight?”

“No. He’s on call.”

“Well. Someone needs to mind the store. In any event, Steven, we’re expecting great things from you during your chief year.”

“Does that mean you’re going to hire him on after he graduates next June?” Sally interjects coyly, clutching my arm. She’s finished her conversation with Mrs. Collier, who’s now chatting with another guest. “I’m hopelessly biased, of course, but I think he’s a great catch, Dr. Collier.”

Dr. Collier chuckles. It’s a little annoying. He never laughs like that in front of me unless I’m with Sally.

I feel the blood rushing to my cheeks.

What the hell does she think she’s doing?

“I’m sure he is, Sally. And we’re certainly grateful for the work he’s done for us thus far. But we normally don’t offer faculty positions to … let’s see.” He places his hand on his chin and studies me intently. “Your undergraduate degree was in … computer science. Right, Steven? From the University of Chicago?”

Dr. Collier prides himself on knowing the educational and personal backgrounds of each of his residents. “Yes, sir.”

“Yes. Computer science. Well. Chicago is a fine school and all, but I don’t know if we need any computer scientists in the department,” Dr. Collier says, winking at Sally. “Especially ones who grew up in Philadelphia. You know how I feel about the Phillies.”

I’m about to respond, but then Sally beats me to the punch.

“But don’t forget, Dr. Collier, he also minored in literature.” Sally pats my arm. “He’s a true Renaissance man. You can tap both sides of his brain. Besides, he was an excellent computer hacker in his day. You don’t see that very often in a surgeon.”

“Was he?” Dr. Collier arches an eyebrow in a deliberately exaggerated way. “That I was not aware of. Hmm. Hacking. Nothing illegal, I hope, Steven.”

“That depends,” Sally interjects before I can answer, her hand on my arm. “On the kinds of things you need him to do for you.”

Dr. Collier throws back his head and laughs heartily. “So he can operate on patients, break into computer systems, and recite Shakespeare? Impressive. That is quite a skill set.” Sally laughs merrily at his dumb joke while I stand there forcing a grin, watching stupidly as my boss and wife talk about me in the third person.

“Dr. Collier, I’m sure he’d recite anything you’d like him to.”

“I bet he would.” Dr. Collier chuckles again. “Well, I’ll see what I can do.” His attention abruptly shifts to one of the other guests behind us, a senior doctor in the department. “Enjoy yourselves, you two.” Still smiling, he guides his wife by the elbow away from us and toward the other doctor.

“What were you doing back there?” I murmur in Sally’s ear as we walk the short distance from the foyer to the living room.

“Trying to help you.” She nonchalantly plucks a salmon-topped cracker from a passing tray and bites into it.

“I thought we agreed to do things my way. In the car.”

She swallows the salmon cracker and wipes the crumbs off her fingers with a cocktail napkin. “We never agreed on anything. You simply stopped talking. Remember? I saw an opportunity and took advantage of it. Did you see Dr. Collier’s reaction?”

“Yeah. He made fun of me.”

“But in a good way, Steve. I bet you he talks to you about a job next week.”

“I bet you he throws me out of his office.”

But she’s spotted one of the other resident’s wives, a friend of hers, and is moving away from me, smiling and waving. She’s already begun to work the room.

A catering girl walks up and offers me a bruschetta. I take it, shrug, and follow Sally into the crowd.


Copyright © 2014 by Kelly Parsons

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Doing Harm 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 24 reviews.
jayfwms More than 1 year ago
This book moves like a heavily-laden freight train. It starts slowly as the characters are introduced and we learn more about hospitals, surgery and pharmacology then we ever thought possible. As the story continues, it gains momentum with twists and turns coming faster and faster. At the conclusion things are moving at a pace so rapid it takes the reader’s breath away as the gut-wrenching issues play out. The conclusion was very satisfying, but unanticipated. You will learn more about medicine than you could imagine, in details that create lasting mental images. There are no stereotypes – each character is real with talents and flaws. If you read this, be prepared to reach a point where you cannot put the book down until you have finished it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Starts slow but then gets really good
quaintinns More than 1 year ago
A medical thriller, which kept me listening, on the edge of my seat, until the end of the epilogue and closing interview with the author. A gripping debut for a major fiction career for Parsons! The audiobook narrator, Robert Petkoff, was a solid reader with a soothing voice, and his performance of some of the patients - a total riot with his sarcastic tones and character private thoughts. Would highly recommend the audiobook, as a narrator can make or break a book, and in this case, Petkoff had it on the mark. Kelly Parsons, a board certified urologist definitely knows the medical jargon, and apparently gets the writer and mystery thriller diagnosis on the money, with DOING HARM. (Will keep you second guessing hospitals and doctors, for sure). The main character Dr. Steve Mitchell, senior surgical resident at a prestigious Boston University Hospital loves power and control, is ambitious, cocky, and as most residents, overworked and sleep deprived. He is married to a smart and intelligent wife, Sally, who gave up her high powered job to stay home with the two young daughters, and finds out she is pregnant soon after the book begins. Two strong powerful women characters - protagonist (Sally) and antagonist (Gigi) –both interacting with the main character Steve, who finds himself in the middle of a nightmare from hell, and is unsure how to escape and save his reputation and family. With an array of medical complications, botched surgery and deaths coming one after another – all pointing towards him, the competent and powerful doctor, begins to second guess himself, especially with the lethal dosage of potassium, which seem to be ordered by no other than himself. As his patients begin dying, Steve realizes that the deaths are not accidents, and he has to stop the deaths before his professional future is irrevocably destroyed…but he can’t tell anyone what is happening without risking both his career and his family. Worn down, Steve has a one-time affair before he realizes she is a dangerous femme fatale intern, sociopath, with a vindictive and psychotic plan to further her career, holding all the cards with an extensive blackmail scheme, involving even more deaths. Steve does not know whom to trust. The stakes are high, adrenaline rush kicking in, fear, and mystery. She challenges him to a game,where if he wins someone lives, if he loses, well, they're dead. Steve is aware he is being set up by this cold blooded psychopath who is forcing him to play a game of cat and mouse (even though he hates cats), strategy before they kill another patient. So loved the funny and sarcastic brilliant lines of Steve’s thoughts throughout the book, keeping me laughing through all the intense scenes. I can only image doctors’ thoughts about patients and their families. With Steve’s undergraduate degree in computer science and hacking, came in handy with his hunt to nail this crazy intern, along with his partner in crime, Louise and his intriguing background. . The plot was well developed, full of suspense, action packed, realistic, page-turning, and fascinating medical terms explained, and character development was right on. An accurate behind the scenes of a hospital, where doctors hold your life in their hands – no wonder they are on a power trip. Makes you wonder what is in the IVs and if you can trust anyone in the medical field – surgeries gone wrong – wonder why? Keeps you guessing . . . hope there is a sequel.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Could not put this down it was so good
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I sailed through this book, anxious to see what happens to the characters next, and learned a few things as well. It had me from chapter one.
Caroles_Random_Life More than 1 year ago
Excellent medical thriller! I received an advance reader edition of this book from St. Martin's Press and Net Galley for the purpose of providing an honest review. I am giving this book 4.5 out of 5 stars. This book took quite plot twist and turns which kept the pages flying. While some readers may find some of the medical scenes a bit too realistic, I loved what those details brought to the story. This book was written by a doctor and the surgery scenes definitely were authentic. Dr. Steven Mitchell is the married father of 2 girls. He is a senior resident at University Hospital and loves the surgical aspects of his job. He and his wife Sally both hope that he will be able to continue working at University after he completes his residency. Steve works with Luis at the hospital and the pair will also be working with a medical student, GiGi, for a period of time. Early in the book, Steve has a remarkably bad day in the hospital that ends with one patient dead and another clinging to life. As the death is being reviewed, Steve realizes that he may not be completely responsible for the death. Steve tries to stay one step ahead of the culprit while holding on to the things he holds dear in his life and protecting the hospital's patients. Steve is not always the most likeable character. He starts off in the book with a bit of a cocky attitude which moves into full blown jerk mode at a point. As he finds himself in the middle of a deadly game, he became more relate able. He realizes that he has made mistakes, admits those mistakes, and does his best to move forward. I would recommend this book to anyone who like a fast paced thriller. There are some graphic medical scenes that could bother some readers and intrigue others. I find myself in the second group. I look forward to reading future works from this debut author.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love a good medical thriller and found this to be among the best I've ever read. The characters have depth and you either love them or hate them from the get-go. I spent many hours on the couch reading much to the happiness of my cat. He loves it when I find a book I cannot, no matter what, put down.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A first rate medical thriller that combines an intriguing plot with superb writing. You will want to read this one!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Won an ARC from Good Reads First Reads Synopsis Steve Mitchell, happily married with a wife and two kids, is in line for a coveted position at Boston's University Hospital when his world goes awry. His over-reaching ambition causes him to botch a major surgery, and another of his patients mysteriously dies. Steve’s nightmare goes from bad to worse when he learns that the mysterious death was no accident but the act of a sociopath. A sociopath he knows and who has information that could destroy Steve’s career and marriage. A sociopath for whom killing is more than a means to an end: it’s a game. Because he is under a cloud of suspicion and has no evidence, he knows that any accusations he makes won’t be believed. So he must struggle to turn the tables, even as the killer skillfully blocks his every move. It's been probably several years since I've read a Medical Mystery. My two favorite authors of this genre are Michael Palmer & Jonathan Kellerman. Has Kelly Parsons reached the level of mastery as these two impeccable authors? Not quite, but I think if he continues along the lines of his debut novel he could become a leading author in this area. Several areas of contention I had was the book did start off a little slowly. However, once the story got fully underway I was totally engrossed & could not put it down. Also, there was a little too much in the way of explaining the medical terminology. I think there is a fine line between explaining to the average reader who doesn't have a thorough understanding of medical lingo what the procedures & such are & going a little overboard on those explanations. I felt it went over that line just a little. A lot of readers will say how they figured out who the culprit was very quickly & that it killed the story for them. Yes it was quite easy to figure out the whodunit of the story & you do find out very early on who it is. I think that is what I liked so much about this book. You then have to try to figure out what Steve is going to do to try to figure out who the next victim will be & what he is going to do to stop the murderer. Let me tell you, myself being a Sterile Processing Dept Technician I was quite thrilled when I read this line "I close my fingers around the metal handle, still warm from the steam sterilizer...." You're probably all wondering why that sentence would get me so excited. I work with steam sterilizers every day, Monday to Friday. Steam sterilizers are one method that ensures sterility of instruments & makes them safe for patient use. So Thank You Kelly Parsons for putting that in there! It might not seem like much, but it really is. Sorry to drift off from my review. Overall I thought this was a very well written & executed novel. For a debut novel I think it is quite top notch. I am very pleased that I won a copy of this & got to enjoy a great book :)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book but it seemed to run out of steam in the ending. Suddenly all works out.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Well done! I couldn't put the book down. I love medical thrillers and this one is in my top ten! I couldn't guess the ending which is rare.... medical jargon flawless.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The hallmark of an excellent author is to cause the reader to be totally immersed in the story! Very difficult to put down and truly causes heightened anticipation of what is coming next. Seriously, this is your first book?? I look forward to your next suspenseful thriller!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was able to keep me on my toes the entire time I was reading, I highly reccomend this book to anyone interested in the medical field.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Makes you think and keeps you reading ... Interesting book it almost had to be written by a docter
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book had lots of drama & mystery. It was well written and interesting.
mysticrosetiger More than 1 year ago
This book is a great read. If you like a medical mystery, suspense thriller, this book is for you.
DiiMI More than 1 year ago
How long has it been since you’ve read a good medical thriller where the main character is being railroaded, patients are suffering and dying needlessly and even though the psychopath responsible is known to the reader, there really doesn’t seem to be a way to prove it? Dr. Steve Mitchell is an excellent surgeon with a bright and promising future who thrives in the operating room until one fateful surgery begins a downward spiral in his career and his confidence. When he continues to make mistakes, his job and his reputation are on the line and no one believes he is innocent. Someone is tampering with medications and it looks like its Steve, because computer records never lie, right? Why is someone sabotaging his career, is it personal or is he just a means to an end? Who will win the twisted game of cat & mouse that is costing lives in the prestigious teaching hospital? Doing Harm by Kelly Parsons builds slowly as each character is introduced and the atmosphere is set for this deviously evil tale of deceit, betrayal, and the needless slaughter of the weak. I don’t think it’s necessary to like all of the characters, because their flaws make them more human. Steve did have some grandiose ideas about himself and his talents as a surgeon, but when his world started to crumble, his future was hanging by a thread, he willingly became part of the biggest betrayal of all, to his wife and his family. Bad Steve,weak Steve. His internal dialogue, while I’m sure could be quite real for a medical professional, were cold and uncaring. I just didn’t feel Steve was redeemable hero material. GiGi, was, on the other hand, brilliantly portrayed as the intelligent, beautiful medical student who was willing to do anything to reach her objectives. Too bad she has a few issues. Kelly Parsons picks up the pace and races to the finish with a chaotic flare that will definitely get your heart pumping! (Think rollercoaster reaching the top and then cresting and then speeding to a finish, making the whole ride worth it!) As a devoted medical thriller reader, I did enjoy the concept, the plot, and the realistic dialogue between all of the characters, particularly the patients. Like the thrill of watching a surgeon at work with every detail vividly described? Doing Harm has it! I received an ARC edition from St. Martin's Press in exchange for my honest review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Facile writing, obvious plot, had no interest in relating to characters, dull--did not have enough interest to finish the book.
BrandieC More than 1 year ago
3.5 stars Doing Harm is the first novel by urologist-turned-writer Kelly Parsons. That this was a debut novel was no surprise, nor was I surprised to learn that the author is a doctor. The book got off to a very slow start; had I not committed to review it, I would have been tempted to give up at the 30% mark. I hope that other readers are also willing to tough it out because the book improved substantially after that point. I had two main complaints. First, the protagonist, Dr. Steve Mitchell, was a jerk; it's impossible to relate to an adulterous, narcissistic doctor who says things like, "Patients are less likely to ask you annoying questions (and hence slow you down) when you've just roused them from sleep at some god-awful hour of the morning." While I did end up feeling somewhat sorry about the situation in which he found himself, I never connected with him emotionally. Second, I felt at times that Parsons was talking down to me. He regularly used medical terms and then provided a full explanation of those terms, often through awkward devices (like having one doctor tell another doctor that TPN, an acronym which Parsons had already used without definition 21 times, stands for "total parenteral nutrition" and then explain how a hospital pharmacist prepares a TPN bag). His lay explanations of the various medical procedures were very good, so I'm not sure why he considered it necessary to use all of the medical jargon. Here's a prime example: "Their clinical observations are peppered with ominous-sounding phrases like 'maximum pressor support initiated, concerned by worsening coagulopathy,'. . . . . . Shortly after I dropped her off in the SICU, it became apparent that she had suffered a massive heart attack during the operation. What's left of her weakened, stunned heart struggles feebly to pump blood to the rest of her body." Despite these issues, Doing Harm was generally well-written and well-paced. Parsons knows how to tell a thrilling medical story; he just needs to become a little better at writing one. I received a free copy of Doing Harm through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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