Author: Joe Uricchio M.D.
Publisher: CHB MEDIA
With his debut thriller, Burnout Joe Uricchio, M.D. has crafted quite a potboiler of a yarn as he intertwines his skills as an orthopedic surgeon with thrilling suspense scenes.
The novel is set in Belize on the eastern coast of Central America, and by the way it is the only country in Central America whose official language is English, though Belizean Creole and Spanish are spoken.
Our protagonist, Dr. Jack Burke is a successful orthopedic surgeon practicing in the Twin City of Minneapolis-Minnesota and is badly in need of a vacation particularly when he begins to notice that he has a tremor in his hands-something that is devastating for a surgeon to acknowledge. His colleagues likewise realize that Jack needs some time off and decide to send him off to Belize, which he reluctantly accepts.
The story bounces back and forth involving Jack's surgical skills as he performs various operations on his patients with that of a ruthless monstrous terrorist, Rasheed, who helped with the 9-11 murders. Rasheed was also instrumental in training Mujahedeen for Jihad in Bosnia and in Thailand and he is now called upon to strike in Central America. His assignment is to kidnap the Israeli Ambassador to Mexico, who will be visiting Belize. The ultimate goal is to ransom the Ambassador against many of the prisoners that languish in Israeli prisons and in Guantanamo.
What I found particularly interesting is the contrast between Dr. Burke and Rasheed. On the one hand we have a person who chooses to do good and is concerned with the well-being of his patients, while on the other hand we have the perfect example of the devil incarnate. Yet, both are quite meticulous and rich in the details when it comes to planning out their respective missions.
What follows is complete mayhem and a series of nightmarish events stemming from the invasion of these terrorist killers resulting in the murdering of several tourists visiting Belize. One caveat, for those readers who may not be able to stomach some blunt, bloody gory scenes, this novel may not be your cup of tea. Think about ISIS and you get the idea. How the story plays out is too exciting to be spoiled by telling you what happens.
Where the novel falters somewhat is that more ink should have been devoted to developing the thriller facet of the story rather than including the many scenes involving surgical procedures which cause the story to lose focus. The French have an expression for this: “dėformation professionnelle” where the author is influenced too much by his profession without keeping his eye on the thriller aspect of the novel. In the end what is noteworthy is that Uricchio succeeds in illustrating the perplexing resilience that sustains individuals who exposed to horrendous circumstances manage to endure more than we can imagine, and moreover somehow hang on. And if you are looking for a fast read that will keep you turning the pages, you won't go wrong with Burnout which you can finish in one sitting.