* - The Doctor
Care giver, life saver… or cold-blooded killer?
Running away from a past she’d rather forget, Doctor Alison Wilson has moved to a new town to take up the role of Medical Officer at failing hospital St Margaret’s.
Tasked with shaking things up, she quickly learns that things are worse than they initially seem: patient records are in disarray, staff morale is low, and there’s something afoot that she can’t quite put her finger on…
As Alison starts to dig into the hospital’s past, she gradually discovers a trail of lies that runs deeper and darker than she could have ever imagined.
There’s a cold-blooded killer in the hospital. And they’re hiding in plain sight…
I was excited at the prospect of reading a medical thriller written by an author who had worked in the NHS. The Doctor revolves around Doctor Alison Wilson who escapes a scandal in London and becomes a Medical Director to a failing hospital with a worryingly high mortality rate.
I’ll start with the positives of this book as sadly, there are significantly less than the negatives! I liked the premise and it felt like it was written with a lot of lived in experience, but in a way that was easy enough to follow for someone who has very little experience of being in a hospital.
Sadly, I found the book to be both dull and frustrating - 70% of the book felt like build-up and could be easily summarised, and quickly became repetitive. Dr Wilson goes to work, finds meetings have disappeared from her calendar or figures in her reports have been changed, she goes home and drinks some wine, something creepy happens to her house (eg: vandalism or slashed tires), no-one believes her, and it starts all over again the next day. This not only got old fast but also became frustrating and unbelievable. I didn’t understand why it took so long for Dr Wilson to work out what was happening with her computer, even when it escalated to 4 meetings a day disappearing from her calendar. I also didn’t understand why no-one seemed to believe her, I know that she was new to the hospital but she could have easily gotten some proof of what was going on.
The book was also quite predictable and I easily guessed who the culprit was from very early on. The ending then spirals into madness with a character revealing themselves and then monologuing and confessing for no reason when they are on the verge of getting their way anyway. A lot of things seemed way too convenient and unrealistic – the killer keeping a diary for example, and the explanation of how they got her password from her computer was laughable – there’s no way they’d be able to see her type it from a camera, side on from another room!
There are some chapters which end with a paragraph from the killer’s perspective but these aren’t signposted or labelled in any way. It was incredibly jarring to suddenly have this switch of perspective and swearing midway through the narrative. The book also felt quite badly written in places which is very different from what I’d expect from a novel published by Avon.
Overall, The Doctor was not for me – quite frankly it’s poorly written, predictable and dull with too many convenient & unrealistic plot points. Thank you to NetGalley & Avon Books UK for the chance to read the ARC in exchange for a (very) honest review.
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