Length: 34 pages
My rating: 1 out of 5 stars
Dr. Tess Scott became a doctor to ease the suffering of human beings. On night duty at the ER, she’s had as normal a Tuesday as any can be. Until a patient is brought in, incoherent, in brutal pain, and writhing uncontrollably. The man is dead before the results of his blood tests can be reached. And he’s just the beginning. As people with similar conditions are brought in over the next few days and weeks, Dr. Tess finds herself looking for the cause, as yet imperceptible. And as she gets closer to uncovering the truth, the deeper in mortal danger she finds herself. Can Dr. Tess find the condition that is killing so many people? And can she stop the people behind it before they stop her?
It took me a grand total of 15 minutes to read Sudden Death – that is how short and quick paced the book is. Except, that it feels very little like a book and more like the outline of a story.
Dr. Tess, who actually has the potential to be likeable, comes across as anything but. A doctor who talks to herself and takes breaks to chat with a handsome colleague while a patient is dying in the ER just because she’s waiting on results becomes a little difficult to believe as someone who is compassionate and as someone who is deeply affected by said patient’s death. She may not have anything to do while she waited for the results, but there was a serious lack of a sense of urgency. The odd contradiction of complacency and urgency, in character, writing style and story, made for a very unpleasant beginning. And maybe it’s just me, but I’d like the characters I’m reading about to act a certain way as I discover more about them; simply stating how one is, that too at random spots, doesn’t do much for the character, the story, or the reader.
The story then goes on to describe Dr. Tess’ attempts at finding out what’s actually happening to her patients. Random action scenes that you can miss if you as much as blink and sequences that simply jump from one to another make you feel like you’re just reading a bunch of paragraphs that are sort of written along a story line. Add to that the complacent style of writing regardless of the scene unfolding and you don’t really feel for any of the characters, what they’re going through, or what they’re even doing. Wilpenter jumps from one scene to another with little thought for continuity and in the process, has created a short story that gets some story across, but does so with almost no impact.
The story has potential and could have been well written and drawn out even to make a full sized novel. But as a short story, it doesn’t strike as anything more than a loosely drafted outline of an idea. All in all, a sore disappointment as a medical thriller.