the Fall by Patricia Gussin is the fourth and final novel
in the Laura Nelson series. Although it can be read as a stand-alone,
those following the main character will see her life change
in many ways. Gussin is able to use her experiences of practicing
medicine and working in a pharmaceutical company for twenty-two
years to create strong storylines.
Gussin noted that her personal life was involved
in many aspects of the plot and the character’s background.
“I went to medical school at Wayne State in Detroit
during the late 1960’s. These were turbulent times with
the riots happening there. There was so much racial animosity
that doctors brought guns into the hospital at night. As with
Laura when I was going to medical school I had two young children
and was from a small town that moved to a big city. Having
worked in a pharmaceutical company for so many years I wanted
to incorporate into this plot how drugs are developed and
how companies must interact with the FDA. But, the traumatic
stuff Laura has gone through over the years was not part of
Dr. Laura is an intriguing character who has
had her share of problems, from being raped, to killing the
perpetrator, to falling and having a career ending injury.
Yet, what readers like most is her ability to move beyond
these disasters and come out ahead. In this last book she
is able to lead a fulfilling life with a new and successful
career as well as having a fiancé, Tim, who is caring
There are three different plot lines that
come together in the climax. There is the physical injury
that ends Dr. Laura’s surgical career, a psychopathic
ex-Marine who wants to kill her and the numerous skeletons
in her past she must come to grips with. The plot begins when
Laura agrees to become an executive at Keystone Pharma, a
company about to release a wonderful new drug, Immunone, for
which she helped organize the clinical trials. Meanwhile,
FDA project manager Jake Harter is desperate to keep the drug
Immunone from being approved, for his own immoral reasons.
He hides vital data, and kills to keep his lover, the chief
researcher, Adawia Abdul (Abby), from leaving the country.
As the three characters’ lives become intertwined the
plot becomes more gripping and riveting.
is a fascinating part of the book is how Gussin compares and
contrasts a number of different issues. The reader is reminded
how Abdul’s life in the West is much different than
how women are treated in the Middle East. A powerful quote
emphasizes this, “American law considers women equal.
Sharia law, the basic law of Islam, does not. Women are rated
as ‘half a man.’
Tim Robinson and Jake Harter have diverse personalities, they
have a parallel path. Both are trying to get the woman they
love to accept their marriage proposal. While their desires
are similar there is a deep contrast in personality. Tim is
a great, caring, and loyal soul mate while Jake is a psychopath
who will do anything and everything to make sure he and Abby
spend the rest of their lives together.
the Fall is about family dynamics, how a working mother
always puts her family foremost; her job involving medicine,
and the psychology behind the different characters desires.
This thriller will keep readers turning the pages.
Gussin also gave a heads up about her next
book. Since each book takes place seven years apart Dr. Laura
will be in her late sixties if brought up to contemporary
times. Wanting to have a younger protagonist the author is
thinking of having a plot centered on Nelson’s daughter,
a plastic surgeon married to an Egyptian doctor. The father
abducts his son and takes him back to Egypt, refusing to allow
the mother any access. In this novel, Laura might be brought
back in an important supporting role, which should make fans