Book Cover

A debut thriller shines a spotlight
on the potential for abuse in a national health care system.

McCall’s book centers on two
siblings. Gordon Sand is a missing-persons detective in the Washington, D.C.,
Metropolitan Police Department’s Second District. Ada Sand, his sister, is an information
systems specialist at the Department of Health and Human Services, much like
the author herself was. Ada’s star has been on the rise during the preparations
for the national health system called Americare, a priority of the new U.S. president,
Dale Durham. The siblings split their time between Washington and bucolic
Dorsey, Pennsylvania, where their doctor brother, David, and his family
settled, next door to the Benedicts, a German Baptist clan. But Gordon’s and
Ada’s worlds are destined to collide. That’s because Americare favors the rich
and powerful through its tier system. Even worse, Americare’s leaders contract
with an ex-soldier to kidnap well-matched citizens for body parts in order to
keep sick Tier 1 VIPs alive. Based on the techniques used by this “Taker,”
Gordon sees connections among seemingly random abductions, although Ada and his
partner, Scottie Davenport, are skeptical. Then the Taker targets a Sand family
member. Will Gordon and company expose Americare’s secrets? Using the guise of
a mystery, McCall asks hard questions about the specifics of a national health care
plan. Will it be equally available to all citizens? Or will those who are
considered to have contributed more to society gain priority access? The author
examines the latter option by creating a nightmare scenario in which ordinary people
are sacrificed to keep the mighty and their families alive. Those just plain
folks also end up waiting long months for “elective” surgeries that could
enhance their quality of life. McCall has created likable characters in the
extended Sand family as well as a nasty group of conniving health care
bureaucrats. Particularly intriguing are the Benedicts, who live a simple
lifestyle much like the Amish. Ultimately, McCall’s novel is an enjoyable blend
of thriller, character study, and think piece.

A well-paced, attention-grabbing mystery
that explores universal health care.

kirkusreviews.com

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