Just where does a writer come up with this stuff? Kang didn’t have to look far to find inspiration. It turns out she spent her days as a medical student, resident, and attending physician at New York’s Bellevue Hospital, one of the oldest hospitals in the United States and home to the city’s first office of the chief medical examiner. There she became rather obsessed with poisons and pandemics and wars, and it wasn’t long before she hatched the characters of Allene, Birdie, and Jasper in the tumultuous year of 1918, walking the hallowed halls of Bellevue and gritty streets of New York City, investigating murders in their own lives, while New York stood on the knife’s edge between World War I and the Roaring Twenties.
Add a murder plot complicated by the Spanish flu, which is killing both innocents and suspects alike, and we have a story line unlike anything I’ve ever come across. I was so immersed in the setting and so taken with the characters that I didn’t see the end coming. And wow, what an ending! I won’t give anything away, but I will say that it’s absolutely brilliant and absolutely unforgettable.
- Jodi Warshaw, Editor