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Reviewed by Viga Boland for Readers' Favorite
After a run of so-so books, what a joy to pick up Rescue Man by P.J. Patterson. Here's a writer who understands what a novel should do, at least according to noted authority on writing, James Scott Bell: "If you're a novelist, your first job is to entertain." That is what P.J. Patterson does with this utterly charming and endearing story of the Rescue Man. Who is the Rescue Man? He's a bachelor emergency doctor who suddenly finds himself thrust into the role of parenting his two younger siblings when their beloved parents are killed in a car crash while on holiday. Not being able to take the time to properly grieve, Dr. Will Thompkins spends the next couple of decades caring for, nurturing, and guiding his siblings through puberty to adulthood. He becomes amusingly protective in the process, while denying himself simple pleasures like relationships with women.
It's near impossible not to smile as Will's best friend, Lee, and his medical associates constantly try to hook Will up with a gorgeous woman. Will lets that happen a couple of times and enjoys some fabulous sex along the way, all tastefully depicted by P.J. Patterson. But he always runs from any chance of commitment. His first duty is to his "children", his siblings. Planning to stay a bachelor for life, it one day hits him that the children are now adults, planning to move out, and no longer in need of a brother-mother. That's when the realization comes that he too deserves a chance at happiness with the lovely Samantha he's fallen in love with, but he won't admit it to himself or anyone else.
On the surface, Rescue Man is simply a sweet, entertaining story of family love and adult romance. But there is a deeper level that touches readers as they explore, through Will, the heartache and pain of the loss of a parent and the importance of taking time to grieve that loss. Through Will, mature readers will also relate to the insecurity an adult can experience on the dating scene. Using plenty of dialogue, interesting detail and lots of humour, P.J. Patterson takes readers on a joyous ride that touches our hearts. Readers come away feeling like they know Will, his siblings, their rich grandmother, his male and female friends as well...or sometimes as little...as he does. I loved the story, the humour, the unstated depths of emotion. Great use of dialogue; I'm very fond of that when it comes to character revelation and keeping the pace of a book moving. Rescue Man is great writing from a talented novelist. It's almost hard to believe it's P.J. Patterson's first book. What a fabulous start to her writing career.