Critical Judgment by Michael Palmer was originally published in 1996. My paperback copy has 450 pages. In the end, this was a very enjoyable medical thriller. It started out a little slow. For about the first third of the book I was silently urging Abby to admit she made a mistake and just leave the small town behind. The pace did pick up and I was glad I stuck it out. Rating: 3.9
Synopsis from cover:
In the tiny town of Patience, California, newcomer Dr. Abby Dolan has noticed a frightening syndrome among her emergency room patients. It begins with a baffling, seemingly minor set of symptoms, but builds relentlessly until it plunges its victims into insane, murderous rages. As she searches for clues to this deadly mystery, Abby's superiors make it clear her probing is unwelcome.
Soon Abby will learn just how high the cost of the truth may be—and how far someone will go to keep a lethal secret. But she may not find the answer until it's too late to save her patients, her career...her life.
"It was just after noon when the flickering lights began again - countless slivers of rainbow bathing the inside of his eyes." opening sentence
"Hey, what's that in your eyes?....Some weird kind of contact lenses or somethin'?" pg. 5
"She hadn't been relaxed about her job since the day she had accepted it. For the umpteenth time since then she wondered if she had made a mistake." pg. 21
"He seems to have an opinion about pretty nearly everything and everybody. and he isn't the least bit shy about spreading it around. Sort of like fertilizer." pg. 24
"And at one edge of the perfect scene, an ambulance carrying a woman slashed by her own hand - a woman consumed by the most virulent hatred imaginable. Hatred directed inwardly... at herself." pg. 69
" 'I have problems with them,' he said with unexpected force." pg. 82
"I don't know what's going on with you, Claire, but I don't think it's in your head." pg. 84