`Side Effect' (255 pp) was published by the New English Library in 1979.
Walter Snaith is a brilliant surgeon and medical researcher. He operates the Snaith Clinic on his own private island, near the Abaco Islands in the Bahamas. For those with the necessary wealth, Snaith provides organ transplants more quickly and effectively than competing US and British national health systems.
Claire Tennant is a young woman who lives and works in London as a freelance graphic designer. Feeling a bit under the weather, she undergoes a physical examination at a medical clinic in the London area. Soon afterwards, she abruptly deserts the apartment she shares with her live-in boyfriend, Irishman Michael Fitzpatrick.
Fitzpatrick, unsure and bewildered why his girlfriend would up and leave him, enlists his friend Inspector Atwell of the metropolitan police to assist his efforts to find out where and why Claire departed. As Fitzpatrick and Atwell probe the disappearance of Claire Tennant, their paths intersect with those of Walter Snaith's associates.
The mystery deepens: why would the employees of a surgeon operating at an exclusive clinic in the Caribbean, be interested in abducting a young woman from London ?
As Michael Fitzpatrick is about to discover, the answer is more shocking and disturbing than anyone could have imagined......
Raymond Hawkey (1930 - 2010) was an English graphic designer, and close friend to novelist Len Deighton. Hawkey earned considerable renown in the British publishing field in the 1960s and 1970s through his innovative work on book jacket design and illustration for Deighton and Ian Fleming, among others.
Hawkey authored four thrillers in the late 70s - early 80s, all well-received by the critics.
`Side-Effect' is a fast-moving story that starts off as something of a traditional thriller / mystery plot.
Later on in the novel, the narrative shifts to territory more representative of action novels, before closing with a segment that has a science -fiction tenor.
While not particularly memorable, `Side Effect' is a competently written thriller, and the main topic around which the plot revolves is still relevant to modern readers.