PUBLICATION DATE: SEPTEMBER 01, 2012
aving just put down A Heartbeat Away, Harry Kraus, M.D.’s newest novel, after six solid hours of reading from beginning to end, I’m excited to now put my fingers to the keyboard to happily stamp this book with a 5 out of 5 stars — our highest rank.
Starting from chapter one, page one, author Harry Kraus dives immediately into the storyline. I can tell you quite honestly, I liked that! Victoria ‘Tori’ Taylor, M.D., a highly successful and highly driven and ambitious oncology surgeon, finds herself on the other side of the operating table, now as a patient and not the doctor. Her heart, now ravaged by a rare virus, is failing and failing fast. For Dr. Taylor, a heart transplant is the only thing that can save her life. Just minutes from a fatal heart failure, she now finds herself in the operating room ready to receive a new heart.
From the moment she’s able to open her eyes following the successful transplant surgery, Dr. Taylor is faced with something that has now come full circle back to her. Years of treating the hospital staff like dirt, she now begins to see what it’s like when those very people give it right back to her. She quickly comes to find out she has been put on a three month leave of absence but it has nothing to do with her surgery. Rather, everything to do with her belittling behavior toward others. Not only is a suspension put into place, so are conditions for her return, such as counseling to address these issues. We’re now introduced to Phin MacGrath, a transplant social worker who takes on the task of counseling her on her anger issues. Phin is a young man, widowed far too early in life, a devout Christian and dealing with letting go of his painful past.
Something has changed for Tori since her surgery. Her once cold and stone-like heart is now causing her to cry at the drop of a hat. The touch of others, something she wanted nothing to do with, is now very important to her. Dealing with that is one thing, but the nightmares … oh the nightmares! What is happening to her? What are these frightful visions that seem so very real to her? Every moment of sleep brings repeated illusions of a horrendous murder. Could this be the result of the rare phenomenon called ‘cellular memory’, a condition where a transplant recipient actually recalls memories of the donor?
With nothing but time on her hands, Tori’s recuperation won’t be a quiet one. Setting out to find out more about her donor, in an attempt to quell the never ending mystery of the vivid nightmares, Tori embarks on a journey that takes her down a dark and dangerous path. With only the dreams to guide her, and Phin always nearby for support, she begins to unfold a mystery that will have you turning the pages, fully engulfed in this story.
Parallel to this storyline, the author acquaints us with the young Emily and Christian. In love, but seemingly from two different backgrounds, destiny does not seem to be on their side. Very engaging characters that will have you already knowing that they certainly play a very important role in what’s transpiring with Dr. Tori Taylor.
One can’t really reveal too much more about this book without throwing spoilers out there. Something I absolutely don’t want to do. This book is too good for that and I want you to be as caught up in it as I was. Just when I thought I had things figured out, in comes a twist I didn’t expect. While some aspects of the book are predictable, I didn’t find this a bad thing. I wanted the story to go exactly the way it did. Had the author chosen to go in any other direction, I think I would have been quite upset.
Dr. Kraus does an excellent job in A Heartbeat Away, by utilizing his medical knowledge to accurately depict the medical scenes in this book, right down to the ‘God-complex’ so many of us see throughout hospitals today. It’s refreshing to see that it’s not overly done in this book and that Dr. Kraus has a gift of writing novels in the genre of Christian suspense.
I am grateful for the lack of profanity; the tastefully done sexual tension scenes; the inclusion of faith and surrendering ones’ life to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior as well as walking out your faith. For me, A Heartbeat Away had everything needed to keep me thoroughly engaged from beginning to end without stopping … mystery, suspense, murder, faith, love, etc. It was an excellent read and one I highly recommend!