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Hermes' Viper Paperback – March 26, 2009
Compelling, hair-raising, raises your consciousness of just how life-threatening a hospital visit really is. Excellent, excellent book, a mystery with some horrifying twists.
--Sandra Whelchel, Executive Director of the National Writers' Association
What the novelist John Grisham does with law, McFadden does with medicine, a captivating tale of life and death in a large Chicago hospital --Thelma Rubinstein, the Vail Daily
From the Back Cover
Lost in his dedication to patients who would die without his help, Stuart Holton unwittingly carries in the wake of his benevolence third serpent on his caduceus, a viper poisonous unto death, the woman who has secretly stalked him for sixteen years. She has lived in a lost identity since fire scarred and maimed her at the age of five, and she seeks to find her true self through the pursuit of a long sought love and by bringing merciful death to the suffering. Holton's wife dies mysteriously, and terminal patients beyond treatment are routinely found dead in remote and neglected beds in far reaches of the large hospital wards. Then, people who are not terminal begin to die under troubling circumstances. On the evidence, these deaths can't quite be called murder. In Hera's Journal, the woman describes her daily activities along with many of the hospital abuses, including malpractice and numerous everyday human errors causing preventable deaths and injuries. Memory of fire draws her and threatens to flare again in the fury aroused by the injustices and by her frustration with abortion, birth control, the sight of abused children, and the useless prolongation of life in the throes of terminal maladies and suffering. Imprisoned in this anguish and futility by the injuries of fire, she tries to escape through gaining control. If she fails, the only release ultimately will be the same fire. She tries desperately, but despite all her mercy and love, nothing works. Finally she must remove everything standing in her way. And if she can't have the man she loves at any cost, then he must go too.
The dilemma about his wife's death four years past and his suspicions of murder and euthanasia in the hospital, continues until Holton's children awaken him to virtual reality, and he immediately sees the possibilities of using it to reconstruct the past and to predict future events in the hospital environment. He enrolls the aid of forensic psychiatry, and with the addition of fuzzy logic and artificial intelligence they begin to unravel the mystery as the woman mounts her attack on his housekeeper, his children, and the new woman who has just appeared in his life. Holton, finally alert to the dangers, tries desperately to defend his family from the relentless stalker carrying little syringes loaded with instant death, hidden packets of deadly poisons, and a drawn stiletto as she lunges at his heart in the raging inferno of her derangement.
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�Not since Robin Cook has an author kept me up all night reading a medical thriller. Joseph T. McFadden is responsible for a nail-biting, sleepless, scary night of chilling intrigue with �Hermes Viper� his first novel.�
Hermes is Stuart Holton, neurosurgeon to Chicago�s poor, and the viper is a psychopathic murderess stalker suffering from multiple personality disorder and erotomania. Although her disguises are clear throughout the book, the viper�s identity remains a mystery until the very end. More than once my smug thoughts of knowing �who dunnit� were denied, shattered like the villainous viper�s illusions of love. The master of disguises starts knocking off patients at an increased rate in her twisted hope of winning the love of Dr. Holton, the object of her erotomania for sixteen long years. Mercy killing her way through the wards of a Chicago charity hospital the viper insanely believes that by poisoning patients she is helping Holton free up beds to further his career and perform more surgeries. His children give him the idea to use virtual reality to solve the high death rate enigma. A computer literate colleague, a forensic pathologist develops a program using fuzzy logic and artificial intelligence to predict the next victim, someone very close to Holton.
The story heats up as the killer goes after his family, friends, and colleagues, people the viper views as standing between her and the man she has been stalking for sixteen years. Another mystery that plagues Holton throughout the book is the puzzling death of his wife from an incurable rare disease. Once you get started you cannot stop until it is over and you discover just who �Hermes� Viper is and why the abused little girl, rescued from a house fire at the age of five, grew up so warped.
The novel will raise your consciousness of just how life-threatening a hospital visit really is. Fortunately the masses are beginning to wake up to the realization that the medical profession is, indeed, in need of drastic changes and the cause of our maladies need to be treated, not the effect by slapping a bandage on, OR popping a pill as a curative. Excellent, excellent book. It's long overdue. This writer is a pioneer in many ways. God Bless You Joseph T. McFadden for telling the truth in your brilliantly written novel.
Hermes' Viper is sure to be made into a movie, but do not wait, read the book.
McFadden�s second medical mystery, �The Wafer� delves deeply into organ donation and will be released in Spring of 2002.
which blows away tripe like 'House', 'Scrubs' &
other medical shows going all the way back to 'Em-
ergency with Chad Everett! This is another one Hol-
lywood missed along with Doug Flutie's & Kurt War-
ner's stories (although theirs would be sports &
not Medical novles). Expertly produced by Max Press
of Chesapeake, Virginia (I had a hand in this one
myself, as I work there for Doc Hamel)!