Archive for February, 2014

Up in Smoke

Up in Smoke is Ross Pennie’s 3rd book. It’s another Dr. Zol Szabo medical mystery. Pennie is a great writer. His first 2 books both won the Arts Hamilton Literary Award for Fiction. Don’t they always say “write what you know”… well he’s recently retired from medical practice, having been a jungle surgeon, pediatrician, infectious disease specialist and university professor. What I really like about his books, and I know this is weird, is that sometimes I don’t completely understand the medical stuff that’s going on, but I’m fascinated none the less. He’s such a terrific writer, that he’s lured me into the world of medical mysteries and hooked me with his storyline. Not an easy task. But he does it brilliantly. Dr. Zol has a new posting –  the town of Simcoe along with the villages in Brant and Norfolk counties. This also includes the Grand Basin Indian Reserve where the illicit Native tobacco trade flourishes undisturbed by the feds or anyone else who knows better. When an outbreak of liver failure is brought to his attention he is called into action. Could it possibly be connected to the peculiar skin lesions that have erupted on local teenagers and the first responders in the area? With his usual cast of cohorts from his previous books, including favourites Hamish Wakefield and Natasha Sharma, they set out to stop this galloping horse in it’s tracks. I learnt more about the native tobacco trade than I ever wanted to know, but in the process was treated to a great story that really was an eye opener. Kudos Dr. Ross!

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