Monday, January 2, 2017

The Discovery by Louis Kraft and Robert S. Goodman

Authors Louis Kraft and Robert S. Goodman have created an intelligent and compelling novel that easily held my attention. This is a complex, carefully constructed drama that touches upon numerous themes while offering a suspenseful and fascinating tale. Writing with knowledge and authority, Kraft and Goodman present a stage populated by diverse characters, each fascinating in their own way, and the suspense builds with each section. At its heart is Harry Chapman, an OB/GYN physician on the verge of retirement who is suddenly hit by a malpractice claim 21 years after the fact. Kraft and Goodman establish the framework immediately. A wave of blindness in premature infants since the 1940s is linked to excessive oxygen in the incubators for preemies. This disorder is called “retrolental fibroplasia,” an actual condition that once plagued preemies. With the historical background explained, The Discovery delves into the many players who will have an effect on Harry Chapman’s life. The drama includes the legal proceedings and fact that a malpractice suit could be filed only because the medical records had been altered, thus negating the time limit for filing.  The novel’s opening sections expertly recount the tribulations of Laura Smith, who becomes pregnant and subsequently seeks medical assistance for her child’s birth. These early chapters are vital to the story’s scope. The Discovery is a novel that offers multiple character studies. Laura’s life, and the difficulties she experiences leading to the birth of her son, putting him up for adoption where he is taken in by Susan and Cliff Weston who name the baby Gregory, all held my attention. The novel jumps from the early 1950s to the early 1970s where a grown Greg Weston begins his journey in unraveling his past and initiating legal proceedings against Dr. Harry Chapman. I found myself enthralled by the characters, sympathetic to some, angry at others, and spellbound by the drama as it played out. There are many surprises with these characters, but read the book to see for yourself. This is an excellent novel, and when I was finished with it I was struck by the fact that The Discovery would make a great film. The plot twists in the latter half are superbly handled. The lives of Greg Weston and Harry Chapman are intricately entwined, and their story is impossible to ignore. Highly recommended!

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