The Queen of Hearts: A Novel. Kimmery Martin. Berkley Publishing. February 2018. 352 pp. ISBN#: 9780399585050.
The world of medical students is fraught with exhaustion from working too many hours that any human being should endure and with tension from working in an urban Emergency Room rife with life and death scenes. It all requires the utmost tenacity, refined medical skills and the patience and calm of a saint! This is the world of Emma and Zadie, two best friends, who are about to undergo a true test of their solid rock friendship. Add to that their male friends, Dr. Nick Xenokostas and Graham. The time element in this story goes back and forth from past to present and back.
The story concerns scenes that make Gray’s Anatomy and other medical TV shows seem tame in comparison. For reality isn’t pared back in a novel. So for the squeamish of heart, you’ve been warned! Blood, guts and gore as well as actions and reactions force the reader to flip the pages and want to stay up way past a normal bedtime. No spoilers here but two particular events score the plot with tension and shock!
Exhausted doctors or even doctors handling multiple near-fatality emergency room scenes will make mistakes! Those inadvertent errors can wreck a person’s career and such a danger is posed for Emma upon the death of a little girl. The minutiae of that scene will be repeated in her mind as well as the minds of her physician peers and the family of the little girl. The outcome of this processing will absolutely amaze the reader!
Relationships happen out of all this chaos and non-stop turmoil. Some make sense and some take twists and turns that make no sense. But they happen to Emma, Graham, Zadie and Nick and they are life-shattering. How much wrongdoing can one forgive and should one even consider forgiveness?
Kimmery Martin is a past medical doctor who knows her professional world well. This is a well-written, intense, caring, brutal and shocking story that is written with sensitivity and care, enabling the reader to enter this world as fully as possible and root for every character, halting judgment and awaiting the evolution of healing and grace on every page. Highly recommended medical fiction!