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Life Support [Mass Market Paperback]

Tess Gerritsen
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Aug. 1 1998
New York Times bestselling author Tess Gerritsen weaves authenticity into another novel of searing medical suspense, as a dedicated woman doctor probes into the cause of a mystifying and lethal outbreak.
The quiet overnight shift at Springer Hospital ER suits Dr. Toby Harper just fine -- until she admits a man in critical condition from a possible viral infection of the brain. The delirious man barely responds to treatment -- and then disappears without a trace. Before Toby can find him, a second case occurs, revealing a terrifying fact: the virus can only be spread through direct tissue exchange. Following a trail of death that winds from a pregnant sixteen-year-old prostitute to her own home, Toby discovers the unthinkable: the epidemic didn't just happen -- someone let it loose....

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Life Support + The Bone Garden: A Novel + Gravity: A Novel of Medical Suspense
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Product Description

From Amazon

Former romance author and medical doctor Tess Gerritsen is writing in a new genre: medical suspense. Advertised as her "first novel," Harvest jumped onto the New York Times bestseller list and thus legions of new fans were introduced to the work of this talented author. Gerritsen's second thriller, Life Support, is as moving as any of her romances. Dr. Toby Harper works the night shift in an emergency room. More comfortable with the steady horror and tedium of emergency care than with a normal lifestyle, Toby alienates herself socially from her peers and from her sister. She spends her daytime hours alone with her mother who suffers from Alzheimer's disease. When elderly Alzheimer's patients from the same retirement home start dying mysteriously, Toby is the only one suspicious enough to investigate. As a result she finds herself, her mother, and her own sanity at risk. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Library Journal

Another medical thriller from Gerritsen, who one-upped Robin Cook with her best-selling first novel, Harvest.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Held my attention from beginning to end June 18 2004
Format:Audio Cassette
I am reviewing this book in its ABRIDGED format of only two tapes.
This abridged recording begins when an underage prostitute is delivered to her client. She's immediately put off by the sleazy location but plays along entering a white walled room filled only with a bright light and what appears to be a doctor's examination table. She hops up on the table as instructed but is soon sucking in noxious fumes and knocked unconscious . . .
Next we meet Dr. Toby Harper who works the graveyard shift in the emergency room. One night an old man appears in the ER with no apparent illness besides a penchant for stripping off his clothes in public and a bit of disorientation. As Toby goes about examining him his leg starts to twitch. She's called out on another call and when she returns he has disappeared and Toby is held responsible. Soon another old man arrives (who was, coincidentally, living in the same fancy retirement community as the first mystery man) with similar symptoms but this man dies. Toby is suspicious, orders an autopsy and does some snooping around on her own when she is met with unreasonable resistance to her questions. It seems that some experimentation with prolonging life has been going on at the retirement home with frightening side effects. When Toby eventually discovers a bit of what has been going on her own life becomes endangered.
This was an interesting medical thriller with an engaging protagonist but once Tape 2 begins the abridgement becomes very apparent. Events begin to happen fast and furiously and characterization is minimal. For the most part, the cuts necessary for this abridgement are smooth but I did find myself left a bit confused on more than one occasion and would've loved to have gotten to know all of the players a bit better. If I stumble across an uncut version of "Life Support" I'll definitely check it out to read all that I missed.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Certified Page Turner April 7 2004
By C.E.
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Tess Gerritsen has done it again...she has managed to make me lose track of an entire day...and not reget it for a moment.
I have read some of her other books, and since I am a student in the medical profession, I like reading them based on her medical background. But thats not the only reason...the woman can plot a book with the best of them and ratchet up the tesnion level like no other.
Toby, an ER doctor sees something strange come into the emergency room while on shift, but the patient leaves the hospital, and Toby is blackballed at every turn by those who hold higher positions than she does.
The story of this mysterious disease in one steeped in money, wicked doctors, stolen babies and hidden truths. As each layer of the mystery is peeled back further and further, Toby loses those that are most dear to her. Will her fears win the day, or will the quest for truth and accountability be the ultimate victor?
When this book reaches its conclusion, you will be left with a breathless feeling of relief, but hungering for more of Ms. Gerritsen's novels. Certainly one of the best I have read in a long while.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Belivable medical thriller Jan. 27 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Dr. Toby Harper has a lot on her plate. She works the twelve-hour overnight shift in the Emergency Room, and at home, she takes care of her elderly mother who has Alzheimer's. When a patient is brought into Toby's hospital in the middle of the night, delirious and confused, she's stumped as to what he may be suffering from. His immediate medical tests are clear, and his family knows nothing of any former medical history that may have led up to this. Then things get even more complicated. The patient disappears right off the table, even though he's been strapped down.
In an effort to get to the bottom of things, Toby starts investigating a nearby retirement home for the wealthy. With the help of Dr. Robbie Brace who works at the Brant Hill retirement center, Toby slowly starts uncovering clues that finally begin to point her in the right direction. At the same time, Toby's career is in danger as she's being blamed for letting the patient disappear, and her home life is quickly collapsing around her as her mother's nurse quits and she's forced to hire someone else on short notice.
Toby Harper makes a wonderful heroine in LIFE SUPPORT. She's strong and intelligent, and yet she's also very vulnerable and incredibly loyal to her mother. Though it means basically giving up her privacy and her social life, Toby would rather have her mother continue living with her than consider putting her in a nursing home. The secondary characters are also wonderfully three dimensional and interesting, from Robbie Brace, the black doctor among the elitist white staff at Brant Hill, to Molly Picker, the sixteen year old prostitute who wants nothing more than to get off the streets and go home, even though her parents want nothing to do with her.
A fully believable, beautifully crafted novel, LIFE SUPPORT is a must-read for fans of medical thrillers.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Almost Too Scary March 18 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I always appreciate a good medical thriller, so I'm not the type to swoon at the first mention of blood.This book, however, had me so frightened that instead of feverishly forging ahead to see what happens next (which I desperately wanted to do), I had to put it down from time to time to regain my equilibrium. When Gerritsen is at the top of her game, as she is in this novel, I think nobody can beat her. Not Robin Cook, not anybody.
It's hard to describe the plot without giving away vital information, and I don't intend to be a spoiler. But I can tell you that the action starts hard and fast on the very first page, when a world-renowned surgeon, elderly but revered in his field, attempts a simple appendectomy and winds up killing his young, healthy patient in the most gruesome of ways. Our glimpse into his mind while this is going on is almost scarier than the act itself...and that is the first chapter of the book! It doesn't get calmer from there.
It seems that a number of very fit elderly men, in full control of their faculties and all living in a very upscale retirement home, are showing strange mental symptoms, one after the other, and eventually dying horrible deaths. Dr. Toby Harper,who heads the ER rotation at a local hospital, encounters two of these patients, and is at a complete loss to diagnose the problem, let alone solve it. Her dogged determination to get to the bottom of the illness(es) lands her in a conspiracy so sinister that she can't even guess at the true nature of it, except to know that it is putting herself, her dear elderly mother who suffers from Alzheimers, and seemingly her entire medical reputation at stake.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars A medical nightmare....
This is a slow simmering mysterious tale. The growing terror of the young prostitute, the confusion of the emergency doctor who feels that something is wrong with her elderly... Read more
Published 11 months ago by Pat the cat
3.0 out of 5 stars Good read
Although I enjoyed reading this thriller I feel the bad guys could have saved themselves a lot of bother if they'd got rid of Dr Toby Harper right at the beginning :-)
Published on March 8 2008 by Kaz
4.0 out of 5 stars Very Interesting
Ever wanted to learn about Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease and teratomas? Dr Toby Harper investigates when a confused man disappears, and then there's the matter of a woman giving birth... Read more
Published on Oct. 2 2004 by Ez
4.0 out of 5 stars good medical thriller
If you enjoy medical thrillers, then you should like this book. Dr. Toby Harper works the ER night shift and admits a patient who is delirious and has tremors that are... Read more
Published on Jan. 21 2004 by "truthandjustice"
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book!
When I began reading this novel, I thought to myself, "Oh yay, another sophisticated big-worded medical story," but after about ten pages I could not put it down! Read more
Published on May 28 2003 by Alexis
4.0 out of 5 stars Full of Suspense
This is a book that will keep you on the edge of your seat the entire time. Dr. Toby Harper starts to see a pattern of elderly patients all showing the same type of symptoms.. Read more
Published on April 15 2003 by A. Vegan
3.0 out of 5 stars just o.k
Just not one of her best books. I read some of her other books. I would tell anyone thinking about reading her to read either The Surgeon or Gravity both are better. Read more
Published on March 24 2003
4.0 out of 5 stars Gripping read
Life Support is the first book I have read by this author, but it definitely won't be the last! The story is well paced and gripping with good characterization. Read more
Published on Sept. 17 2002 by Helena S
4.0 out of 5 stars Suspenseful
I didn't enjoy this one quite as much as Harvest, but I did like the book and found it suspenseful. It's pretty easy to read, has good likeable characters, and I would recommend... Read more
Published on June 8 2002
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