DEAD ALREADY (Signed Paperback)

$16.99

Winner of the 2021 NYC Big Book Award in the Medical Mystery/Thriller category.

Suspicious deaths. Broken bonds. Lives in peril. Redemption.

Past-haunted emergency physician Zack Winston and case-hardened defense attorney Bridget Larsen battle a malicious malpractice suit. They uncover a medical conspiracy trading in drugs and murder. As they peel back layers of truth, past relationships and current alliances destabilize — threatening both their lives.

19 in stock

Description

Winner of the 2021 NYC Big Book Award in the Medical Mystery/Thriller category.

Suspicious deaths. Broken bonds. Lives in peril. Redemption.

Past-haunted emergency physician Zack Winston and case-hardened defense attorney Bridget Larsen battle a malicious malpractice suit. They uncover a medical conspiracy trading in drugs and murder. As they peel back layers of truth, past relationships and current alliances destabilize — threatening both their lives.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

CHAPTER ONE.

In the year his heart stopped, Dr. Zack Winston checked his watch as he headed to his next patient. Four pm. Two hours left.

Strident blare from the EMS radio stopped him in mid-stride. His experienced ear caught the gist of the paramedics’ report.

“Three minutes out . . . Full code . . . Fifty-two-year-old male . . . Seen in your ER yesterday.”

Zack’s heart plunged. Who? He turned from the suture area and hustled to the resuscitation room.

Paramedics burst through the doors, wheeling their patient on a narrow gurney. Zack recognized Carl Barnett, whose skin looked waxy, pale gray-blue, and mottled. He’d had a healthy pink complexion when Zack saw him in the ER the previous day.

A medic spoke into Zack’s ear. “Wife found him in full arrest on the floor in their home. She’s a nurse, doing good CPR when we arrived. No pulse or rhythm on scene or during transport. Down time at least twenty minutes. Unknown how long he went without CPR.”

A strong grip on Zack’s arm swung him into the florid face of Janice Barnett, Carl’s wife, ICU head nurse.

“Do not lose him.” Stern. A swallow. Softer voice. “Please.”

“We’ll, uh, do our best, Jan.”

Zack followed the paramedics into the resuscitation room. The cardiac monitor showed a wavy horizontal line with an occasional bump that resembled an inverted U. Agonal rhythm. Dying heart.

Odds of save, zero to zilch.

Zack recalled a favorite saying: A thin line separates cardiopulmonary resuscitation from assault on the already dead. His gaze swept from the monitor to the patient. Carl Barnett, already dead.

From behind, Janice bumped into Zack, scowled, and moved to pass. He blocked her path. “You shouldn’t be in here.”

She flipped a frizz of frosted platinum hair off a sweat-dotted forehead. Hazel eyes pierced him. Her tone pleaded. “I must be with Carl.”

Zack nodded to Monica Harris, ER head nurse. She steered Janice to a corner from where she could watch without interfering. Zack turned to his patient, his back to the man’s wife.

Carl’s skin color had not improved from arrival. The monitor displayed the same wide bumps, at a more ominous rate of thirty. Zack had never seen anyone recover from prolonged agonal rhythm; not to useful life. He started the protocol for managing pulseless electrical activity. The algorithm for the already dead. Protocol. Routine. They needed an outlier, something to reverse the man’s status from already dead to almost died. When you hear hoofbeats, think horses not zebras. Zack needed a zebra. He went off protocol and tried other medications. Atropine. High dose epinephrine. The entire arsenal.

“Asystole,” a nurse said. An undulating line snaked across the EKG screen. No bumps.

“Respirations?” The tech paused the ventilator. A minute passed. No breaths. Zack felt over the carotid arteries in the neck. No pulse. He listened over the chest. No heartbeat.

He turned to look at Janice Barnett weeping in the corner. “He’s gone,” he said.

Tears ran down her face. “I know.”

He looked at the clock. “Time of death, 1536.” Already dead, around 1425.

Additional information

Weight 19.5 oz
Dimensions 9 × 6 × 1 in

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