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Life Support Mass Market Paperback – August 1, 1998

192 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews Review

Former romance author and medical doctor Tess Gerritsen is writing in a new genre: medical suspense. Advertised as her "first novel," Harvest jumped onto the New York Times bestseller list and thus legions of new fans were introduced to the work of this talented author. Gerritsen's second thriller, Life Support, is as moving as any of her romances. Dr. Toby Harper works the night shift in an emergency room. More comfortable with the steady horror and tedium of emergency care than with a normal lifestyle, Toby alienates herself socially from her peers and from her sister. She spends her daytime hours alone with her mother who suffers from Alzheimer's disease. When elderly Alzheimer's patients from the same retirement home start dying mysteriously, Toby is the only one suspicious enough to investigate. As a result she finds herself, her mother, and her own sanity at risk. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Library Journal

Another medical thriller from Gerritsen, who one-upped Robin Cook with her best-selling first novel, Harvest.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Pocket Books; Reprint edition (August 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671553046
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671553043
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (192 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #283,553 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Internationally bestselling author Tess Gerritsen took an unusual route to a writing career. A graduate of Stanford University, Tess went on to medical school at the University of California, San Francisco, where she was awarded her M.D.

While on maternity leave from her work as a physician, she began to write fiction. In 1987, her first novel was published. Call After Midnight, a romantic thriller, was followed by eight more romantic suspense novels. She also wrote a screenplay, "Adrift", which aired as a 1993 CBS Movie of the Week starring Kate Jackson.

Tess's first medical thriller, Harvest, was released in hardcover in 1996, and it marked her debut on the New York Times bestseller list. Her suspense novels since then have been: Life Support (1997), Bloodstream (1998), Gravity (1999), The Surgeon (2001), The Apprentice (2002), The Sinner (2003), Body Double (2004), Vanish (2005), The Mephisto Club (2006), The Bone Garden (2007), The Keepsake (2008; UK title: Keeping the Dead), Ice Cold (2010; UK title: The Killing Place), The Silent Girl (2011), and Last To Die (August 2012.) Her books have been published in forty countries, and more than 30 million copies have been sold around the world.

Her books have been top-3 bestsellers in the United States and number one bestsellers abroad. She has won both the Nero Wolfe Award (for Vanish) and the Rita Award (for The Surgeon). Critics around the world have praised her novels as "Pulse-pounding fun" (Philadelphia Inquirer), "Scary and brilliant" (Toronto Globe and Mail), and "Polished, riveting prose" (Chicago Tribune). Publisher Weekly has dubbed her the "medical suspense queen".

Her series of novels featuring homicide detective Jane Rizzoli and medical examiner Maura Isles inspired the TNT television series "Rizzoli & Isles" starring Angie Harmon and Sasha Alexander.

Now retired from medicine, she writes full time. She lives in Maine.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

38 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Wendy Kaplan on March 18, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I always appreciate a good medical thriller, so I'm not the type to swoon at the first mention of blood.This book, however, had me so frightened that instead of feverishly forging ahead to see what happens next (which I desperately wanted to do), I had to put it down from time to time to regain my equilibrium. When Gerritsen is at the top of her game, as she is in this novel, I think nobody can beat her. Not Robin Cook, not anybody.
It's hard to describe the plot without giving away vital information, and I don't intend to be a spoiler. But I can tell you that the action starts hard and fast on the very first page, when a world-renowned surgeon, elderly but revered in his field, attempts a simple appendectomy and winds up killing his young, healthy patient in the most gruesome of ways. Our glimpse into his mind while this is going on is almost scarier than the act itself...and that is the first chapter of the book! It doesn't get calmer from there.
It seems that a number of very fit elderly men, in full control of their faculties and all living in a very upscale retirement home, are showing strange mental symptoms, one after the other, and eventually dying horrible deaths. Dr. Toby Harper,who heads the ER rotation at a local hospital, encounters two of these patients, and is at a complete loss to diagnose the problem, let alone solve it. Her dogged determination to get to the bottom of the illness(es) lands her in a conspiracy so sinister that she can't even guess at the true nature of it, except to know that it is putting herself, her dear elderly mother who suffers from Alzheimers, and seemingly her entire medical reputation at stake.
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Bucherwurm on May 15, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Wouldn't it be wonderful if the heroine from Harvest could meet the star of Life Support for a cup of coffee. Picture them together, the amazed looks on their faces as they realize how much they have in common! Both are talented female hospital based physicians who find out that an evil cabal of doctors is wreaking havoc on the health of patients. And, in both cases our protagonists digging into their affairs do not amuse the dastardly doctors.
Toby and her new found friend discover that a few missteps in their work coupled by efforts of the vile physicians have placed their jobs and personal safety in great jeopardy. And, gasp, both of them had to face real or potential malpractice lawsuits.
Tess Gerritsen can write attention-grabbing thrillers. No question of that, but is she going to use the same plot format for all of her stories? I realize that her latest novel, Bloodstream, which I have not read, takes place outside of a hospital, but a read through of the cover summary makes me awfully suspicious that the same plot is going to descend on us once again.
Please, TG, you seem to be a good thriller writer, but would you please, please, change some of the basic elements in your next story? If you have not read either of these novels, please do read one of them, and you will be well rewarded. If you read both I'm sure you will be drenched in déjà vu.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Helena S on September 17, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Life Support is the first book I have read by this author, but it definitely won't be the last! The story is well paced and gripping with good characterization. The plot revolves around an upscale retirement community whose doctors have discovered a way to prolong an individual's natural lifespan; unfortunately, the procedure can also create horrific consequences. Dr. Toby Harper, a doctor working in a local ER, admits two of these retirees and is baffled by their symptoms. Her determination to get to the bottom of the case ultimately threatens her very life. I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys medical thrillers.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 4, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I believe I'm actually going backwards as far as the chronology of her titles are concerned. The first book of hers that I read was "GRAVITY", which I thought was perfect. "LIFE SUPPORT" didn't disappoint either. What makes Gerritsen's medical thrillers work is her utter believability. Although a lot of the medical jargon went right over my head (I'm sure I'm not the only one) it certainly comes across that she knows what she's talking about. So far, both books that I've read have centered around an intelligent heroine, who beat the odds of having their reputations tarnished, and yet end up victorious. I would, however, have preferred to know a little bit more about the fate of the heroine's love interest in the book, maybe by Gerritsen explaining a bit more in detail as to the curability of the illness and so on.
Overall, I preferred GRAVITY to LIFE SUPPORT because the heroine in the former was not only a doctor, but a flight surgeon on a NASA shuttle. Makes for a great plot! If you haven't tried that one yet, you certainly should. I'm looking forward to checking out her latest novel THE SURGEON... just waiting to find a copy at a nice price. :)
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Paul Weiss on October 10, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Toby Harper, night shift supervisor of Springer Hospital's emergency room, comes under administration's intense scrutiny and is called onto the carpet in front of a hospital board inquiry after a patient suffering from tremors and confusion walks out of the hospital and disappears. When the home health care aide who is taking care of her ailing elderly mother resigns and a colleague seeks to use the missing patient incident as a reason to dismiss Harper, stress turns Harper's job in a big city hospital into a daily battle for survival. As a second patient presents with the same symptoms and dies in the frantic chaos of a crash "Code Blue", Harper's investigation turns stress into full-blown crisis as she uncovers a conspiracy related to an illicit hormone therapy program at an upscale home for the aged.

As she did in Harvest, Gerritsen uses her experience in the medical field to flesh out a superb plot with chilling realism - the ever present fear of litigation as the smallest error can be considered in the light of hindsight outside the chaos of the emergency room; the heart breaking experience of watching Alzheimer's deprive a loved one of their memories and their faculty for independent living; the frightening symptoms of the rare and fatal neurodegenerative diseases carried by the newly discovered not quite alive prions, BSE (bovine spongiform encephalopathy) and CJD (Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease); the extraordinary pressure exerted by pro-life groups on abortion clinics and those mothers wishing to terminate pregnancies; the lightning pace of unfolding events in a "Code Blue" emergency; the messy, harsh reality of an autopsy; and much more.
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