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Code Blues (Hope Sze medical mystery Book 1) Kindle Edition
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by Melissa Yi MD (Author), Melissa Yuan-Innes (Author)
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
There's a murder and suspects and romance and a white-knuckle finish.
But what really makes this story work and stick with you isn't all of the above, but the carefully drawn picture of its world and characters.
The protagonist is a new medical resident in the physically deteriorating Montreal anglophone medical system. The facilities are crumbling, and the author skillfully paints a series of characters whose walls are crumbling too. This is a novel partly concerned with boundaries: professional boundaries (when does a physician give 'too much'), romantic boundaries, relationships that are too co-dependent or too enmeshed to be truly healthy, despite how compelling and driven the characters find them. The novel is partly a meditation on compulsion and addiction--when does the goal-directed driven nature required of medical students and doctors slip over the line from adaptive and necessary to harmful?
Murder mysteries often shatter a type of false paradise, and need someone to put it back together and restore balance or grace. "Hope," the intrepid resident heroine has that role, as the name might suggest, but she isn't an outsider like Poirot or Holmes come to fix it. She's broken too, and the murder accelerates her own brokenness and that of her community--medicine is a small club, and the _esprit de corps_ among residents (who are doctors, yet still trainees) makes them even more closely knit, since they don't fit with any other community perfectly--they are neither lay people or patients, full-fledged physicians, or administrators. Murder highlights and animates this dynamic in Yuan-Innes' model.
But, this is not a novel of psychopathology or navel-gazing either--the characters are _real_, not stand-ins for mental states or personality disorders. None of the above is heavy-handed or the focus, but its presence as subtext provides for a surprisingly and refreshingly layered mystery, that can be appreciated on multiple levels.
It is in short, a _novel_--an exploration of character, motivation, choice, and change. Really, what more could you want?
[Parental note: there are some romance scenes which by temperament and conviction I skim over very lightly, so I cannot comment on those aspects.]
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