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Reviewed by Vincent Dublado for Readers' Favorite
A novel that will surprise you by the way author William H. Coles brings depth to his characters, The Surgeon's Wife is set in New Orleans and centers on the friendship between two brilliant doctors. Clayton Otherson is Mike Boudreaux’s professor and mentor during training, renowned in the medical field for his bold innovations and unmatched results, and is Mike’s senior partner for the last twelve years. But while performing a critical procedure, Otherson flounders in indecision, unable to make decisions to save his patient’s life. An incident report is filed against him that labels him impaired. He wants Mike to bury it, for Mike has the authority to call the shots. But the committee operates under a strong moral imperative when it comes to patient safety. Clayton’s difficulty in admitting his error takes a serious toll on his profession and personal life, and his wife Catherine has fallen in love with Mike, who is always there to lend a shoulder to lean on. Mike feels that it is not right to go against his mentor, but the feeling he has been denying burns with intensity.
What transpires is a literary medical and domestic drama that is edgy and compelling, as Clayton’s deterioration is further aggravated by the discovery that his protégé is having an illicit affair with his wife. It consumes him with thoughts of revenge. Coles, who has authored a book on how to write fiction, proves that he practices what he preaches through his keen sense of plot and timing. He knows how to hook your attention from the first page when he brings you inside the operating room to witness the start of Clayton’s fall from grace. Coles devotes enough time to establish character motivation in order for you to have a deeper understanding of the choices they make along the way. The Surgeon’s Wife is a triumphant work of fiction that addresses ethical issues in the medical profession. Include it in your reading list and recommend it to your friends. It makes for an interesting group discussion.