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Reviewed by Rebecca McLeod for Readers' Favorite
In a sleepy Canadian town, the heat is taking its toll on the residents and so is a serial killer that the media dubs “The Kidney Slasher”. He likes young, healthy brunettes with blue eyes, but the seeming randomness of his kills leaves the entire town on the edge of hysteria, wondering who will be next. Through the eyes of Dr. Claire Valincourt, an ER physician, and detective Gerry Rosko of the local PD, we follow the frantic search to discover the identity of the killer. The urban legend nightmare of brutal back-alley surgery has just become fact in "Without Consent".
I knew I was reading a good thriller when I found myself wincing sympathetically with the grisly details and trying to hunch over to hide my own kidneys. Bev Irwin’s superb research and descriptive skills will have you hooked; every kidney, cup of coffee, and ER crisis is limned in living detail. I really enjoyed how even the minor characters in this book were memorable, from a roguish Scottish coroner telling off-color death jokes, to gun-wielding old ladies and small-time crooks, with not a single two-dimensional character among them. The plot balanced an excellent sense of momentum and urgency with the police’s non-linear efforts to find The Kidney Slasher; there are just enough red herrings to make the ending uncertain and leave you wondering whether good will triumph or whether another victim will lose a kidney — and his or her life.