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By E.W. Johnson

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Author E. W. Johnson weaves an interesting and thought-provoking tale of high-level fraud in COITIONED, one laced with perpetual drama and unexpected twists and turns.
When Dr. Sean Nolan investigates a major drug company’s possible falsification of clinical trial data for an expensive antidepressant they wish to market, he elicits help from friends in high places.

Dr. Sean Nolan is not your typical physician. Not only does he provide charitable care for anyone in need, but he has a way of getting surreptitiously engaged in high-profile legal matters such as toxic waste dumps, sex slave operations, and even a serial murder case. COITIONED is the story of his involvement in a pharmaceutical company’s falsification of clinical trial data who then tries to cover it up by paying people off.

One of Nolan’s investigative reporter friends named ABCDE is admitted to a hospital psyche ward following a failed suicide attempt (it is stated in a later chapter that ABCDE’s father had picked out her name because it was easy to spell). He brings her home with him to Portland, Oregon where he and his two daughters live and where she becomes part of the family. When he learns she had been part of a study for the controversial drug Serenetine, he begins an investigation that includes harmful threats, kidnapping, and murder. While his connections with influential people in government agencies are helpful in securing enough evidence to hold the pharmaceutical company responsible, it is Dr. Nolan’s sheer tenacity—even in the face of tremendous adversity—and commitment to the cause that bring hope for a favorable conclusion.

The story takes place at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the manner in which author E.W. Johnson (a medical doctor) cleverly weaves in COVID status updates throughout the narrative is not only a reminder of what transpired in the early days of this deadly virus but exemplifies the adverse effect it can have on things of vital importance such as the outcome of Dr. Nolan’s investigation. Johnson uses indirect characterization (describing a character through that character’s thoughts, actions, speech, and dialogue) when introducing them, often relying on what is left unsaid to create a more powerful image. Allowing readers to observe behaviors and interactions, as opposed to telling readers about them, is a great way to guide readers into coming to their own conclusions about a character and get them to understand how the characters’ personalities help drive the plot forward. Johnson’s writing is concise and logically organized. Technical facts and ideas are communicated clearly through a fitting choice of words, phrases, and sentences that make the subject matters understandable to laypeople.

On the negative side, COITIONED includes many instances of poor transitioning between changes in POV and scenes. Relatedly, significant changes in time and/or place within a chapter should have been indicated with section breaks. The book contains enough technical errors to warrant a thorough proofreading to correct several spelling, punctuation, and formatting errors.

Author E. W. Johnson weaves an interesting and thought-provoking tale of high-level fraud in COITIONED, one laced with perpetual drama and unexpected twists and turns.

~Florence Osmund for IndieReader

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