Author: Rick Novak
Publisher: Pegasus Books
In Rick Novak's debut novel, The Doctor & Mr. Dylan is for the most part set in Hibbing, Minnesota where anesthesiologist Nico Antone moves to from California with his son Johnny. Nico believes that his son would stand a better chance of being accepted into a first rate college if he graduated at the top of his class from a rural upper-Midwest high-school.
Nico is married to a extremely successful real-estate agent, Alexandra, who earns far more money than her husband, however, the marriage is a disaster and it is going down the tube. Alexandra is all for Nico splitting with her and returning to his home town of Hibbing where he grew up and attended school. Initially, Johnny is not exactly ecstatic about moving away from his friends and the beautiful climate of California to a small town in the boondocks of Minnesota where he doesn't know a soul. However, very soon after arriving in Hibbing, Johnny, who becomes quite popular in school, meets a beautiful teenager, Echo and the two become inseparable. As for Nico, he settles in and finds a position as an anesthesiologist at the Hibbing General Hospital, where several years prior he worked part-time as a maintenance helper during his college years.
It is at the hospital where Nico meets Bobby Dylan, the Director of Nurse Anesthesia. Nico is flabbergasted that someone would have the same name as the legendary musician Bob Dylan who grew up in Hibbing and had been known by his birth name, Bob Zimmerman. As we are soon to discover, Bobby is wacko and out of touch with reality and he actually believes he is the real Bob Dylan. He has even gone so far as changing his name from Johnson to Dylan and purchasing the musician's family home for more than it was worth.
Bobby and Nico don't exactly hit it off as Bobby feels he is as a competent as Nico even though he is only a nurse anesthetist and not a medical doctor. Apparently, in Minnesota the Governor can opt out of the requirement for a medical doctor to supervise nurse anesthetists and consequently Bobby can give anesthesia there, just the same as Nico. The two, however, do find some common ground when Nico agrees to play in Bobby's band and their relationship, although strained at times, moves along, until jealousy surfaces along with serious complications affecting Nico, Johnny, Echo and Bobby's wife Lena and Alexandra.
This part legal and medical thriller is structured with a mixed bag of situations involving relationships, jealousy, evil, lies, courtroom drama, operating room mishaps as well as moments that engender conflicting and unexpected outcomes. Noteworthy is that as the suspense builds readers will become eager to uncover the truth involving a mishap concerning Nico and a surgical procedure that has unanticipated ramifications.
This is a bang-up debut from a writer who understands timing and is able to deliver hair pin turns, particularly involving the courtroom drama, that you would expect from a book of this genre.
Rick Novak is a faculty
member in the Department of Anesthesiology. Perioperative and Pain
Medicine at Stanford University. He has authored columns in the
Stanford international publication Gas Pipeline for twelve years and
has published research and creative writing pieces in academic
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