Finally, a book reviewer who has the courage to write a BOLD review for such a BOLD, new novel:
A Debut Medical Thriller
EQUITY of EVIL by Rudy Mazzocchi – The Next Michael Crichton?
“Organ Transplantation is perhaps the most dramatic example of how the high technology of contemporary medicine can extend or improve the lives of hundreds of thousands of people. Developments in surgical techniques, improvements in organ preservation, and the advent of new immunosuppressive drugs have made organ transplantation into a standard surgical therapy. Yet beyond the wonder and drama of transplant surgery lies the troubling fact that the need for transplant organs seriously and chronically outstrips the supply.” – Intervention and Reflection – Basic Issues in BioEthics
Some weeks ago, during the end of my husband’s BioEthics Course, we were discussing a few of the topics they went over in class. One of the topics had to deal with the need of organs for transplants and the rate of abortions (22% of all pregnancies as of 2010*). This coincided with the debate of using unused embryos for embryonic-stem-cell technology rather than discarding them. As yet, there is currently no laws governing the preservation or destruction of frozen embryos from fertility centers; I am unsure about abortion clinics. This also happened shortly after it came out in the news that there was consideration of writing the argument about the right to terminate children under the abortion laws in the Oxford Journal of Medical Ethics, so you can see it was a very heavy discussion.
In light of all of this, I had NO idea what I was getting into when one day my friend Mel put up a possible review for a new medical thriller and I wanted to read it so I put my name in for it. That’s how we do things at Outnumbered 3 to 1. At the time, all the things I read just said it was this great, new medical thriller and had said nothing about the topics (I failed to go read the bio on the actual website.); so I was in for quite the surprise when it arrived.
Based on true events, this bold novel involves some of the world’s oldest, most emotional and controversial issues. At the core of each matter is man’s predisposition to control and take ownership of the human spirit for the sake of profit and personal gain. Such control and manipulation over the will of others is the most horrendous equity of evil.
One day when I had some time, I propped my feet up on the couch ready to delve right into this new medical thriller with a fervor. I got to page 2 in the Prologue (I wasn’t even to Chapter 1) and the book fell out of my hands. “What in the….” was my first thought. Just in case I misread, I picked it back up and read the beginning of the prologue again and got to the same part and put it back down. I knew immediately that I wouldn’t be writing this review for Outnumbered, because discussing very heavy controversial issues is against the disclosure. In the end my curiosity won over and I was able to get past the fact that this unnamed scientist in the Prologue was working on aborted fetuses.
There were many parts in this book that made me sick to my stomach, many parts that made me put the book down and walk away, for days even, but it was the compelling nature of the book and the fact that it was so well written that kept me going back to it. Not as one that might stare at a car crash because they can’t help themselves, but as someone that was deeply wondering where the book was going, how the characters would deal with their actions and what, in fact, was the ‘truth’ behind this ‘based on true events’ story. In the following, I will do my best not to spoil the book for you.
Equity of Evil has a handful of main characters, but these three had the most effect on me:
Roman Citrano, the scientist turned entrepreneur and founding partner of Zorro Medical Ventures that goes on to fund a highly controversial new medical idea, M.A.U’s – Mobile Abortion Units. They are meant to be used as an alternative for women who use back alley and home abortions as well as the new technology behind them would remove the risk of complications to women: severe bleeding, scarring, secondary surgical interventions, torn uteruses, infection, uterine cancer, etc. He proceeds to make a partnership without the knowledge that the clinical researcher is actually a scientist with a whole other agenda or what it would cost him in the end.
Marcus Levine is power hungry and wants to be in the upper elite of those he works for, regardless of the fact that he is an award winning scientist with much acclaim. He knows there is more power and more money the higher he moves up. After a scientific breakthrough in creating a new technology that would change abortions forever, he moves on to balance two objectives; one that has the facade as an assistance to women (EMBRYIA) and the other to harvest organs (AMBRIA).
Andrea Robbins, part nurse, part social worker and what her co-workers would consider a ‘healer’, has an unbelievable heart for children. Working in the toughest part of the Pediatric Children’s Unit with the smallest, frailest children, she seemed to work miracles on the infants and parents she encountered. She was in the middle of changing careers, dealing with a relationship she felt would have to end as she was moving on, when her life was completely turned upside down. She experiences something that is completely unimaginable for any woman and the resulting effects of having to deal with her loss and doubts; while trying to stay alive as she is being hunted by those that had stolen everything make this story an overpowering thrill ride.
“Most recently, proponents of the development of an embryonic-steam-cell technology have argued that unused embryos should be used as a source of stem cells, rather than simply discarded. Although those who ascribe no special status to embryos find the view persuasive, those who consider embryos to have the moral status of persons regard it as unacceptable.” – Intervention and Reflection – Basic Issues in BioEthics
You honestly feel the struggles these characters (and the many others) have as they move along the paths they’ve chosen. As I said, many points made me put the book down, made me sick to my stomach but there were others that made me smile, made me honestly cry and after the first few chapters I couldn’t have stopped reading it if I tried. I realized that although the book dealt with some very heavy controversial issues, that it was important. It felt as though it was waking me up in a way, showing me things that I may not have wanted to see, but was necessary to be aware of. When I explain Equity of Evil to people, I tell them that it is a cross between Stieg Larsson’s ‘Girl With the Dragon Tattoo’ and Michael Crichton’s ‘Next’ because Stieg Larsson’s books were truly graphic and at points horrifying for women and Michael Crichton’s book ‘Next’ dealt with very controversial issues regarding DNA patenting and scientists owning the human body (which is also based on true medical science!). It was a blend of that chilling, horror for women and society and the ultimate fear of knowing that it was actually a possibility.
This book moves through various ‘what if’ scenarios, everything from the mobile abortion units, human trafficking, organ harvesting / farming, brutality to women and also some other very sensitive issues regarding rape and murder. It is honestly a very unbiased book, the characters having their own personal ideas and morals that equal the balance between societies own sides of these issues as well as their questions, doubts and fears. It also gives a face to those that are on very opposite sides of the spectrum that do not have any medium or emotional regard to anyone else’s concepts. It brings into question everything from right and wrong, moral or immoral, evil or good, light and dark, God and Science and leaves you with your own views as the story moves on to some semblance of hope.
It was all he could take, perhaps partially out of pure exhaustion, but the growing nightmare had now touched the one person he’d come to love the most. He fell to his knees, momentarily unable to respond, realizing at long last the mental turmoil women had to go through to make such a decision. He felt it now, in her words; heard it in her voice. All those women who’d been treated — no longer numbers in a business plan, no longer a statistic or data point in the revenue model. Their plight was now personal for the first time. – Equity of Evil
This is the first of Rudy Mazzocchi’s Medical Thrillers and I am now really excited to see what the next one will bring and what other frightening science is out there. He is carrying on a legacy that Michael Crichton sadly left when he departed this world, the forceful nature and gift of words to open our eyes to the possibilities that face society in an ever changing world. How are choices and our intentions ultimately effect the billions of lives that are out there and how the advancements in medical technology is in many ways outmaneuvering and/or moving to quickly for our legislation’s to keep up. A must read, for those of you that can give it an unbiased chance. If anything, it will give you something unquestionably thought provoking to discuss.
Rudy Mazzocchi has received multiple awards for Equity of Evil, including one he will be receiving this weekend! The Gold Medal eLit Book Award! Congratulations! After all his fun important interviews, I believe he may be leaving some time to do an interview with little ole me.
Purchase: You can purchase Equity of Evil eBook version on Amazon for Kindle, Nook, etc. (Yes, I do realize I just ranted the other day about eBook’s, maybe you can bug the author to print a version like mine. Ha!)
I originally received this book as a review item for another blog. The opinions are my own and are not influenced by any form of compensation.
* 22% of all pregnancies come from the statistical analysis in Intervention and Reflection – Basic Issues in BioEthics. The estimated number in Equity of Evil is roughly 10 mil a year in the U.S. alone.
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