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Reviewed by Darryl Greer for Readers' Favorite
Code Blue With Intent is author Marilyn Esper Kelsey’s foray into medical thrillers. Her lead character is Kate Ross, an RN case manager at Northwest General Hospital, Morristown, New Jersey, renowned for its surgeons and innovative surgical techniques. Despite its impeccable reputation, Kate and her colleagues become concerned when an unusual number of patients start dying. That concern is heightened when it appears they were all insured by the same company, Premier Regional. As more and more patients die, Kate becomes suspicious of her colleagues, even her own love interest, Dr. Jake Fenelli, and as the story unfolds, the suspects build. Just when it seems obvious who the killer is, along comes someone who is more likely. Meanwhile, over at Premier Regional, things aren’t all that rosy. There are too many bothersome patients who have a history of multiple hospital admissions. This is seriously affecting the insurer’s bottom line just at a time when they are trying to merge with a larger, more economically sound medical insurer. What to do? Back at Northwest, layer by layer, Kate is unraveling the truth but as she gets closer to identifying those responsible for the deaths, she is placing herself in mortal danger.
It is hard to believe that Code Blue With Intent is Marilyn Esper Kelsey’s first medical thriller. It has all the positive hallmarks of a Robin Cook novel. The writing is tight, the tension builds steadily from the outset through to the explosive dénouement. Clearly, the author is either a former health practitioner herself or has carried out a monumental amount of research. The setting of Northwest General is very real, there is an authentic feel about the medical-speak, hospital procedures and drugs used in the story. The scenes are highly visual, the characters real and the dialogue believable. The book appears to have been professionally edited, something that cannot be taken for granted these days. At times I had to ask myself if the story wasn’t a little too implausible but on reflection, I don’t think it matters. Code Blue With Intent is a gripping, hard-to-put-down read that will scorch your fingers as you turn each page.