Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Doctor Death

Title: Doctor Death
Author: Lene Kaaberbol
Published: February 17th 2015 by Atria Books
Format: ARC eBook; Hardcover, 304 pages
Genre: Fiction
Source: My thanks to Netgalley and Atria Books for the opportunity to read an advance copy of this book
Series: Madeleine Karno #1

Lene Kaaberbol has a way of taking on a book and twisting it into a darker place. Leaving the reader wondering if they love it or should they be ashamed that they loved it. Either way, this is an intense book that keeps the reader fully engaged.

In the late 1800’s women had their place, unfortunately, that is not the place that Madeleine Karno wanted to be. She wanted to work with her father, a noted pathologist; she wanted to perform autopsies and get into what is now referred to as forensics. Her own father was having a hard time battling the norms of the day, so Madeleine knew that the road to her dreams was going to be a hard upward climb.

Scandals come to the forefront when seventeen-year-old Cecile Montaine is found dead. Thought to be a runaway, her body is found on the front steps of her family’s home. Cecile’s father refuses the new science of autopsy so Madeleine and her father are left with only the parasites in the girl’s nostrils that are most commonly found in dogs. Ok, so maybe there was a secret autopsy, but it was very discreet.

This is where the story takes multiple dark turns leading to a convent with an abbess that is not telling all that she knows, a boy that was raised in the wild, a priest that is found dead, and the father of Cecile attempting suicide.

The characters are well drawn and each seems to be hiding their own secrets with stunning conclusions that are not fully revealed until the last pages. Culminating in an unexpected surprise that leaves Madeline with the ability to lead the life that she has always wanted if she is willing to handle one fact that her new fiancé has revealed to her.

I was very apprehensive when I picked up this book. I had loved Ms Kaaberbol’s prior book, the Boy in the Suitcase from the Nina Borg series, but the latter two in that trio were a letdown. Now that she has written a book separate from her writing partner, I see in this book, the writing that had drawn me to her first Nina Borg novel.

This book is on the darker side and might be construed as offensive to some, but I could not tear my eyes away. Madeline and the way that she handled the murkier parts of humanity mesmerized me. There was no judgment from her, just a curiosity and the realization that she needed to look at the world from a scientist point of view and not the limited views that made those around her feel comfortable.

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