Annabel Tillson, a third-year medical student is starting her clinical rotation. Her first stop is the surgery ward, where she initially finds it difficult to live up to her neurosurgeon father’s stellar reputation, and one of the medical residents has an intense dislike of her. Then, patients start dying within 24 hours of uncomplicated surgical procedures. Annabel suspects there is some commonality among the deceased, and, with the help of a resident from another specialty, undertakes her own investigation.
Dead Still by Barbara Ebel is a stunning medical mystery that, unlike other mysteries, doesn’t have a human antagonist. Nonetheless, it has a human villain who complicates Annabel’s already complicated life. The author displays her extensive medical knowledge, mostly through dialogue, perhaps more than really necessary, but it is still a compelling read. After reading this book, the reader is likely to think twice before going to hospital, even for a simple procedure. The characters are all fully fleshed out, the setting is intense, and the plot is well crafted.
I give it four stars.