Thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.
Synopsis: Morgan Finney, a biotechnology tycoon, is a shy, highly intelligent but socially awkward and emotionally fragile man. It was his wife, Jenny, with whom he connected and who enabled him to connect with others. When Jenny dies of complications during a surgery led by Dr. Rita Wu, Finney’s grief turns to rage. He vows to kill Rita just as he believes she killed his wife. But first he will systematically destroy her life. Aided by a mysterious man named Sebastian, Finney uses advanced medical technology to brainwash Rita. He tricks her into ruining her reputation and brings her to the brink of madness. Alone, fighting for her sanity and life, Rita reaches out to ex-lover Dr. Spencer Cameron. Together they uncover Finney’s horrific intentions and race to stop him.
Under the Knife is the first book I’ve read by Kelly Parsons and I wound up reading it in one sitting. In my opinion it’s definitely more of a plot driven story than a character one. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but in this case the two protagonists: Dr. Rita Wu, and her ex, Dr. Spencer Cameron struck me as a little flat. They were both likable enough but particularly in Rita’s case, I never had a solid emotional connection to her. She’s an ambitious female doctor who is determined to show no weakness in a field dominated by men. Unfortunately her personal life is a mess. She has a drinking problem which is what led to her current predicament. After the death of their parents, she’s trying to care for her younger sister who also has an addiction. And despite loving him, she breaks up with the rather bland Spencer for a reason which made no sense to me whatsoever. Basically, she’s the type of character I’ve seen in many other books and there’s really nothing that makes her stand out. Morgan Finney however scared the heck out of me! During flashbacks to before his wife Jenny dies, it’s apparent he’s not quite right. He’s a genius yet socially awkward and it’s Jenny who succeeds somewhat in bringing him out into the world through their shared love of Comic Con. His grief and rage over the loss of his beloved wife leaps off the page, but then he turns into a true psychopath who doesn’t care who dies in his quest for revenge, so there’s no sympathy for him either. The true star of this story though is the medical technology. I mean, what Parsons sets forth is pretty implausible (although he’s a doctor so what do I know?) but its suspenseful and creepy, and it kept me turning the pages because I just had to know the outcome. I also liked that underneath everything is the very real quandary about ethics as it’s applied to the field of medicine and the positive and negative implications of medical technology. Overall, Under the Knife is a decent medical thriller, that with the right director and cast would probably make an even better movie. If you’re a fan of authors such as Robin Cook, Michael Palmer and Daniel Palmer, I definitely recommend this. It’s a quick read although it might give you second thoughts about being treated at a hospital!