A Simple Cure by Lawrence W. Gold

Posted January 1, 2014 in Book Review / 2 Comments

I received this book for free from the publisher or author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

A Simple Cure by Lawrence W. GoldA Simple Cure by Lawrence W. Gold
Published by Grass Valley Publishing on August 16th 2013
Genres: Adult fiction, Thriller
Pages: 328
Format: eARC
Source: ARC from publisher
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four-stars

A Simple Cure engages the reader in the search for the cure of malignant melanoma. While an uncommon skin cancer, one American dies of melanoma almost every hour (every 61 minutes). The incidence rate has tripled in the last twenty years.
When nature, in her ultimate act of irony, strikes Richard Powell, a cancer specialist, with malignant melanoma, a highly aggressive form of cancer, his wife, Terri devotes her life to curing the disease that ultimately kills her husband.While research laboratories are characterized as noble in search of cures, and proprietary drug companies are caricatured as ruthless and materialistic, too often, the distinctions aren’t so clear.The murder of a drug courier to obtain an experimental and promising treatment for malignant melanoma, unleashes a chain of devastating consequences.People for Alternative Treatment, a company created to find cures for rare diseases, had fallen on hard times and become a subsidiary of Kendall Pharmaceuticals, a company with very different values.Experimentation with a vaccine against tuberculosis is showing surprising effects in controlling malignant melanoma at PAT and UC Medical Center. Kendall is enthralled with the economic potential of such a treatment, while researchers are leery and have many unanswered questions.Kendall’s determination to push the vaccine into clinical trial at all costs is in conflict with Terri and her ethical associates.When clinical trials begin, the vaccine’s effects are miraculous. Soon, however, once again, we see the rule of unintended consequences.

main points

Writing Style
I liked Gold’s writing style. It didn’t get too technical and lose my attention. It was easy to follow and made me want to keep reading. Actually, I remember reading it in a few days, and this was on my tiny little iPod screen (which is no longer needed because I have my new Kindle Paperwhite) so bonus props to the author for keeping me interested enough.
Content
This was the very definition of medical thriller (and the first one I’ve read). I enjoyed it and would be willing to read more in the genre. At first I was like, all right, this is just going to be another book with fancy terminology that I won’t understand, but then people started dying and I was like OH. So it’s going to be that kind of book. (: It was a great story, awesome pacing. There were some parts where I couldn’t put the book down, I just had to read it. It alternated a lot between the characters’ viewpoints, and I was afraid it was going to get to be a bit too much, but it stayed at a good number, not too hard to keep track of. It may have switched too quickly between the high-intensity fast-paced action of some characters’ lives and the calmness of other characters’ lives, but overall I didn’t feel like it detracted from the story.
And what a story it was. I won’t bother summing it up; you can read the summary above (if you didn’t skip it like I do sometimes when reading reviews). The problems appeared quite quickly, from the first chapter onward, and there were a few exciting twists. At one point I remember thinking, HOW IN THE WORLD is this going to resolve itself? I couldn’t see a happy ending in sight. But it wrapped up quite nicely. It also presented a lot of ethical issues (well, it is a medical thriller) that might be present in real life. In real life, I doubt it would be so easy to mess with medical studies and bring in extra people unnoticed, but I guess it happens sometimes and it wasn’t something I thought too hard about while reading. But when you do bring in people, especially people close to you, that does indeed bring in a lot of ethical issues to think about, and that’s more or less what happened. That became a big thing towards the end of the book.
One thing I admire about this book was the substance. It had so much more action and trickery and plot than I anticipated going into the book. Things were happening left and right and I was pleased to find I could keep up adequately. These evil people over here were doing things, Terri was dealing with her own life, these good people were busy doing their work, and people were dying. But like I said, the pacing was good, and the plot was always interesting. It was good to see the good guys’ side as well as the bad guys’ side, and it was also interesting how you weren’t quite sure of who the bad guys were because of how much they got involved in the evil. Oh, that guy didn’t really know much, so he wasn’t making any conscious evil decisions, so I can’t really consider him a bad guy, and so on. It kept you guessing until the end.
Also interesting to note is that people’s roles changed drastically throughout the book. Terri really didn’t have that much of a role in the beginning, but she became super important, the main character, I’d say, towards the end. Karl, the Kendall Pharmaceuticals thug, wasn’t really a menace until he became the prime bad guy, and then it turns out he was really controlled by the corporation. Who’s to blame? Matt starts out as just a guy at the gym but then takes up his old cop duties in order to get to the bottom of things. Things change a lot. You can never see what’s coming, but it doesn’t disappoint. And oh, the characters…
Characters
Terri: She’s really awesome. She knows what she’s doing, and doesn’t give up on anyone. She can be a bit cold, but she’s got to be. It’s her job as a doctor to not always feel/display emotions.
Matt: An all-around nice guy. And quite helpful as a cop. It’s a bit obvious that he and Terri have a thing (it’s not really spoilers-worthy), but the romance is by no means the central part of the story, and nor is it really unusual. It’s typical, I suppose. He does seem to want to protect her too much, and if nothing happened to Terri when she was alone, I’d say it was annoying, but things DID happen to Terri and she needed protection. Sure, she was awesome at defending herself with all her karate (or whatever she did) stuff, but she really couldn’t handle everything herself. She nearly died a few times. So he was justified in wanting to protect her. A good guy.
Karl (the Kendall Pharmaceuticals thug): He was EVIL. SO EVIL. I HATED him. I wanted him out from the start. He was just pure evil JUST TO BE EVIL and I could never really understand his motives until I realized, he’s really just a hateful person. He went to extremes. He deserved his fate.
I won’t write about anyone else because they’re not really noteworthy enough.
Ending
It was a good ending, I guess. A bit unexpected. And I admit, I was confused by the epilogue. But still, the main story had a happy enough ending and I was satisfied. I didn’t think there was a way for things to work out, but there was, and it was good.

Good vs. Bad

Good:

  • Plot
  • characters
  • twists
  • bad guys (easy to hate!)
  • ending
  • writing style
Less than perfect:
  • could possibly be hard to follow (but not really)
  • other than that, I got nothin. It was a great book!

Bottom Line

This is a wonderful addition to the medical thriller genre. The plot was fast-paced, full of action and twists and made the book hard to put down. The characters were well-formed and the bad guys were so easy to hate. It was an amazing read. Would I read more by Lawrence W. Gold? Definitely! Would I recommend this book to others? Of course.

About Lawrence W. Gold

Lawrence W. Gold, MD is a retired physician. He is a veteran of the Vietnam War where he served in an evacuation hospital, ran an emergency room and was a Battalion Surgeon. He completed his training in internal medicine and diseases of the kidney in 1968.
He retired in 1995 after 23 years in a hospital-based practice caring for patients with complicated illnesses and served as Chief of Medicine. After retirement he and his wife, Doris, spent time sailing at sea. He has written three screenplays based on his novels. His screenplay for Rage won honorable mention at the 80th annual Writer’s Digest contest. He lives in Grass Valley, CA with his wife.

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2 Comments on "A Simple Cure by Lawrence W. Gold"

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Zoe @ The Infinite To-Read Shelf
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Yeah! I’m so glad you enjoyed this one Alicia! :) I love an occasional medical thriller, so this sounds like something I’d really enjoy! I’m really glad to hear that the characters were well-developed and that the writing style was pretty solid overall. Ooohh…and I LOVE when books have unexpected twists! Thanks for sharing Alicia! I’ll definitely have to get this one from the library ASAP! As always, fabulous review! :D

Alicia the Awesome
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Thanks, it certainly was a great book to read and review. It does not disappoint. (:

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