Source: Review copy from the author.
Back Cover Description:
Charge nurse Erin Quinn escaped personal turmoil to work at the peaceful California coast. But when a hazardous material spill places Pacific Mercy Hospital on disaster status and stresses staff, she’s put to the test. And thrown into conflict with the fire department’s handsome incident commander who thinks her strategy is out of line.
Fire Captain Scott McKenna has felt the toxic effects of tragedy; he’s learned to go strictly by the book to advance his career, heal his family, and protect his wounded heart. When he’s forced to team with the passionately determined ER charge nurse, sparks fly. As they work to save lives, can they handle the attraction kindled between them . . . without getting burned?
Disaster Status is a suspenseful medical drama that will appeal to both men and women. A hazardous material spill brings together two people whose coping mechanisms--picked up from their parents and grandparents--threaten to destroy any chance of a lasting relationship.
While there is a romance (more than one, actually), the author went beyond the "romance formula" to deal with deeper issues. No one else has ever made me shed a tear over a dying goldfish. (Read the story, and you'll understand. The author has a great fondness for symbolism, and she skillfully weaved it into this story.)
The novel was very well-written and was more polished than Critical Care, the first novel in the series. You don't need to read Critical Care to understand this book, and you can read Disaster Status first without spoiling your enjoyment of Critical Care.
The world-building was excellent. The details about the town and the ER brought the story alive in my imagination without slowing the fast pacing. The tension remained high throughout the story.
The likable characters were complex and realistic, and they faced realistic problems. It felt like this story really could have happened. I liked that the main characters were better people for having met the other and their strengths and weaknesses forced the other person to grow.
The main characters were Christians who were struggling with their perceptions of God and what God wanted from them. While this will probably appeal most to Christians, the novel wasn't preachy and I don't think non-Christians would be bothered by the religious content.
There was no sex. There was a minor amount of "he swore" style bad language. Overall, I'd highly recommend this well-written, clean novel. I honestly don't think you'll regret giving Disaster Status a try.
If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.
Excerpt from Chapter One
Fire captain Scott McKenna bolted through the doors of Pacific Mercy ER, his boots thudding and heart pounding as the unconscious child began to stiffen and jerk in his arms. He cradled her close as her small spine arched and her head thumped over and over against his chest. “Need help here. Seizure!”
“This way.” A staff person beckoned. “The code room. Someone page respiratory therapy stat!”
Scott jogged behind a trio of staff in green scrubs to a glassedin room, laid the child on a gurney, and stepped back, his breath escaping in a rush of relief. He swiped a trickle of sweat from his forehead and tried to catch a glimpse of the girl’s face. He’d swept her up too fast to get a good look at her. Now, with merciful distance, Scott’s heart tugged. Six or seven years old with long black braids, frilly clusters of hair ribbons, little hoop earrings, she looked disturbingly pale despite her olive skin. Her dark eyes rolled upward, unfocused, as the ER team closed in to suction her airway, start oxygen, and cut away her flowered top and pants.
The alarms of the cardiac monitor beeped as a technician attached gelled electrodes to her tiny chest. Thankfully, the seizure ended, although saliva—foamy as a salted garden snail—still bubbled from her parted lips.
Scott inhaled slowly, the air a sour mix of illness, germicidal soap, and anxious perspiration. He thought of his nephew, Cody, lying in a pediatrics bed two floors above.
The ER physician, a vaguely familiar woman, gestured to a nurse. “Get an IV and pull me some labs. I’ll need a quick glucose check and a rectal temp. Let’s keep lorazepam handy in case she starts up again. What’s her O2 saturation?”
“It’s 98 percent on the non-rebreather mask, Dr. Stathos.”
Leigh Stathos. Golden Gate Mercy Hospital. Scott nodded, recognizing her—and the irony. She left San Francisco. I’ve applied for a job there...and everywhere else.
“Good. Now let’s see if I can get a medic report.” Dr. Stathos whirled to face Scott, her expression indicating she was trying to place him as well. Her gaze flickered to his badge. “Oh yes. McKenna.
Didn’t recognize you for a second there. So what’s the history? And where’s the rest of your crew? Are they sending you guys out solo now?”
“No. But no crew. And no report. I was here as a visitor, until some guy waved me down in the parking lot. I took one look at this girl and decided to scoop and run.” Scott nodded toward a woman crying near the doorway. “That could be family. They were in the truck with her.”
“Don’t know. My Spanish isn’t the best. I think they said ‘sick’ and ‘vomiting,’ but—”
One of the nurses called out for the doctor. “She’s starting to twitch again. IV’s in, and the blood glucose is good at 84. No fever. How much lorazepam are you going to want? She weighs about 20 kilos.”
Read more from chapter one.