Sunday, September 10, 2017

Review of "Stranger in a Strange World," by Lawrence W. Gold

Review of
Stranger in a Strange World, by Lawrence W. Gold, M. D. ISBN 9781548530914

Three out of five stars
 In his previous books, Gold has demonstrated that he is a master in creating an engaging medical thriller. However, in this one he shows that he is not nearly as capable in writing stories involving white collar crime regarding technology and corruption.
 David and Luke Hyatt are identical twins that attended medical school at the top of their class and had just entered their residencies when another vehicle runs a red light and slams into them. David is generally unscathed, but Luke suffers a near fatal head injury.
 When Luke awakens, he has acquired a form of Asperger’s Syndrome, he is now socially awkward, yet with a perfect memory and the ability to absorb information at incredible speeds. As his recovery progresses, the people of Brier Hospital decide to take advantage of his encyclopedic knowledge of medicine and have him consult on the extremely difficult cases.
 The plot then shifts to a technology company that is selling defective, programmable chips to the government to be used in national security applications. The chips are used in critical items such as missiles and are vulnerable to being hacked. A General is part of the conspiracy that is saving the technology company millions.
 The conspirators are ruthless and will resort to murder to cover their tracks. When they use a rare disease to try to kill another military man that is investigating, he ends up at Brier and under the care of the Hyatt twins.
 While the Brier Hospital characters of Gold’s previous novels are present here, they are minor actors in this play. The techno-thriller aspects of the story are not well done, although I admit to the possibility of bias here. I have done significant work in computer security, so there is the possibility that this experience colors my view. The socially inept doctor with Asperger’s Syndrome is an interesting approach to a medical thriller, it just doesn’t work with all the cloak and dagger plot devices.
 Those familiar with Robert Heinlein’s classic, “Stranger in a Strange Land” will see parallels beyond the similar titles.

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