Sunday, June 14, 2009

Critical Care by Candace Calvert

Critical Care

Critical Care
by Candace Calvert

Trade Paperback: 293 pages
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers
First Released: 2009

Author Website & Twitter

Source: Review copy from publisher

Back Cover Description:
After her brother dies in a trauma room, nurse Claire Avery can no longer face the ER. She's determined to make a fresh start--new hospital, new career in nursing education--move forward, no turning back. But her plans fall apart when she's called to offer stress counseling for medical staff after a heartbreaking day care center explosion. Worse, she's forced back to the ER, where she clashes with Logan Caldwell, a doctor who believes touchy-feely counseling is a waste of time. He demands his staff be as tough as he is. Yet he finds himself drawn to this nurse educator . . . who just might teach him the true meaning of healing.

This novel is a romantic ER drama. Readers who like ER dramas will probably love this novel. However, even if you don't normally care for ER drama (like me), I'd recommend you give this book a chance. It's a great book.

The pacing was excellent, with tension high from the very first page. The book was well-written with very likable and realistic characters and an interesting plot. The world-building (i.e. details of the medical trade and so forth) was excellent, bringing the story alive in my imagination without getting too technical or slowing the pace.

As for the romance, both main characters were better people for having met the other. Their strengths and weaknesses force the other person to grow--and I like that.

My only (minor) complaint is that use of symbolism in the book got a smidgen heavy-handed at the end.

Christianity was portrayed in a remarkably realistic manner, with several of the characters struggling with hurt and disappointment with God for letting bad things happen to them. Specifically, the main focus was on why God doesn't answer prayers in a way that made sense to them. Yet the book never got preachy. I think non-Christians would enjoy this book unless dead-set against anything that portrays Christianity in a positive light.

There was no sex, cussing, or gore. Overall, I'd rate this book "very good, clean fun."

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: Chapter One
Don’t die, little girl.

Dr. Logan Caldwell pressed the heel of his hand against Amy Hester’s chest, taking over heart compressions in a last attempt to save the child ’s life. Her small sternum hollowed and recoiled under his palm at a rate of one hundred times per minute, the best he could do to mimic her natural heartbeat. A respiratory therapist forced air into her lungs.

Don’t die. Logan glanced up at the ER resuscitation clock, ticking on without mercy. Twenty-seven minutes since they’d begun the code. No heartbeat. Not once. Time to quit, but--he turned to his charge nurse, Erin Quinn, very aware of the insistent wail of sirens in the distance. “Last dose of epi?”

“Three minutes ago.”

“Give another.”

Logan halted compressions, his motionless hand easily spanning the width of the two-year-old’s chest. He watched until satisfied with the proficiency of the therapist’s ventilations, then turned back to the cardiac monitor and frowned. Asystole--flat line. Flogging this young heart with atropine and then repeated doses of epinephrine wasn’t going to do it. A pacemaker, pointless. She’d been deprived of oxygen far too long before rescue.

Logan pushed his palm into Amy’s sternum again and gritted his teeth against images of a terrified little girl hiding in a toy cupboard as her daycare burned; and a frantic search in a suffocating cloud of smoke, amid the chaos of two dozen other burned and panicking children.

Read the rest of chapter one.


Sheila (bookjourney) said...

Hmmm.... sounds good. I like your review.

Genre Reviewer said...

Thank you. And thanks for stopping by. :)

Julie J. said...

I absolutely LOVED this book!!! You can read my review here...

Great review! :)

Genre Reviewer said...

Julie J.,

Thanks for stopping by! I'm glad you enjoyed my review. I dropped by to read your review. It's fun when the author leaves a nice comment on your review, isn't it? :)

Cara Powers said...

I may read this book even though I avoid Christian fiction, romance, and hospital drama as a rule. However, I'm planning my memoir, so I'd like to see the "world-building." I'm writing about my time as an orthopedic surgery resident which, since I am a Christian, will also depict a very realistic and messy relationship with God. Thanks.

Genre Reviewer said...

Cara Powers,

Thanks for stopping by. I guess "world building" is a term more used to describe fantasy/sci-fi novels (where the author often literally creates an imaginary world) than modern romances, but I'm not sure what else to call it. ;)

I found the level of detail in this book a good balance of adding depth while remaining understandable without spending too much time explaining what everything means and what's going on.

A memoir might be able to go into more detail about the medical side of things since half the reason a person reads memoirs is to learn more about a job or place the author knows well.

I hope you enjoy the book and find it useful in your own efforts. Good luck with your memoir.