Professor Brad Parker has returned in yet another highly enjoyable Geoffrey M Cooper novel, BAD MEDICINE: A Medical Thriller, that pairs the world of medical research with a criminal investigation. This time, Parker is the interim director of the Maine Translational Research Institute, where he is tasked with resolving a “messy tenure controversy” between Mark Heller and Carolyn Gelman, two faculty members in the cancer research wing. Both are up for tenure but Carolyn claims that Mark has been sabotaging her research, which seems to be unlikely and Parker is confident of wrapping up the issue quickly and getting back to his beloved research. But only when he arrives and takes charge does he realize there’s something deeper going on, with a hired killer and the Russian mafia in the picture, along with clinical trials going awry. As the director, not only is he pulled into the situation but he is also very close to becoming a victim.
Unlike his previous book, Forever (# 2 in the series) Cooper doesn’t focus much on delving deep into the science behind the research, except in the beginning where he once again demonstrates his ability to simplify complex scientific concepts. In fact, Cooper completely dismantles the image of “white-coated lab professionals staring into microscopes for hours” that the words “scientific research” usually conjures. There’s politics, intrigue and the battle for power and money, just like in any corporation. Cooper ups the ante when incidents at the beginning of the case throw Parker’s relationship with his partner—FBI agent Karen Richmond—on to shaky ground. But there’s never any drama, just quiet, internal observations. The struggle for trust is portrayed finely and given time to process, while the plot keeps moving forward with nefarious twists and turns that keep the engagement level high. Which is where Cooper’s brilliance as a writer shines through; he skillfully juxtaposes very real moments with the fast-paced details of the ongoing case and investigation. The drama and action are given their rightful places in the story—patients die mysteriously, a man isn’t who he pretends to be, and Parker himself becomes a target.
Bold storytelling, a sensitive portrayal of relationship problems and a taut whodunit makes BAD MEDICINE: A Medical Thriller another winner for Geoffrey M Cooper.
~Swati Nair for IndieReader