A bizarre medical drama with some unique literary themes | BookishFirst

A bizarre medical drama with some unique literary themes

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When Dr. Snaedeker dies unexpectedly on the operating table - a routine polyp removal ending in a literal explosion of his intestines - his sister Betty is convinced something nefarious occurred despite the various investigations into the incident that were performed and deemed the incident an accident or Dr. Snaedeker’s own fault. She seeks help from her cousin Skip who employs Owen Berk, a writer and former private investigator, to look into the matter.

Berk begins his investigation into the odd and ultimately deathly event. Dr. Snaedeker suffered from a disease in which his body could not process starches properly and made his body produce an abnormally large amount of gasses and flatulence. The hospital and other investigators have concluded this disorder coupled with the doctor’s own negligence in the pre procedure process caused his unfortunate demise.

Researching the death acts as a sort of muse for Berk and as we learn of his findings during the investigation, we are also presented with his novel which is based off the people in Dr. Snaedeker’s life.

This was an incredibly unique and hyper sexualized novel with varying, intertwined storylines. We follow Berk’s love life and infatuation with a woman nearly a third of his 60+ years, the bizarre death of the doctor, the doctor’s unorthodox and illegal practice methods, and Berk’s novel about the Chatelaine. I most enjoyed the story about the Chatelaine and her exploration into her own sexuality.

Admittedly, the story was a bit confusing and I actually didn’t realize the Chatelaine’s story was Berk’s novel until a ways into the book. The overlap between the “real” and fictional characters was very blurred but I think that added a really nice literary element to the book.

If you can stick with it and can handle the bizarre (and honestly gross) medical disorder and discussions, I think this one is worth it and I am happy to have read it. It’s unlike any other novel I have read before.

Thank you to NetGalley, BookishFirst, and the publisher for a copy of this novel.