Press / Time-Warner Books
Date: September 3, 2003
it at Amazon
Notes: Reviewer Kristin Johnson will release her second
book, CHRISTMAS COOKIES ARE FOR GIVING, co-written with Mimi
Cummins, in September 2003. Her third book, ORDINARY MIRACLES:
My Incredible Spiritual, Artistic and Scientific Journey, co-written
with Sir Rupert A.L. Perrin, M.D., will be published by PublishAmerica
of a Death Maiden
you think you hate your HMO or PPO, don't sign up for the Abbot
Kinney Medical Center/Silvanus Corporation/Biobreed plan, or you'll
wind up dead. Particularly if you happen to be a member of the Tarascans,
an Indian tribe in the war-torn Chiapas region of Mexico, sent as
a Christ-like ambassador to the outside world to prevent the tribe,
which is born with immunity to disease--this medical wonder has
an intriguing explanation linked to the Aztecs, Toltecs and Mayans.
a little boy who is the Christ-like figure in question, dies under
the care of Frances Oliver, a deathmaiden. She is a member of the
fictional Society of Deathmaidens, a hospice-like Dr. Kevorkian-esque
group that acts as midwives to the dying, helping them transition
with dignity. But Frances starts asking questions into Tomas' death.
From the start, this unusual computer-and-TV-spurning heroine with
friends such as the eccentric artist and deathmaiden would-have-been
Pepper, gets tangled into that classic plot, the Greedy Doctor Frankensteins
Gone Mad in Vast Conspiracy. Yes, it's an illegal organ-harvesting
scheme painted as rich white people profiting off the sacrifice
of an Indian tribe (the author admits she portrays the Tarascans
as cannibals without any proof) and obscuring the very real need
for organ donors.
doctors involved inevitably are villains; one of them is even named
Dr. Faust. In suspense tradition, Frances' investigation risks her
status as a deathmaiden as the fictional society is afraid she'll
jeopardize the passage of a bill to cover deathmaidens under Medicare.
Of course, Frances makes mistakes, such as leaving Tomas's
bedside and later cremating him, that complicate her journey. And
she herself begins to doubt her own vocation. The quest for life
and death becomes a soul struggle as Frances' ordered life unravels.
plot takes a long time to reach its conclusion and uncover the evidence,
but offers twists and turns; there has to be some suspense in this
mystery, after all, but it's Frances' soul reflections and inner
struggle that drive the book, as well as an exploration of the meaning
of medicine and the value of death.