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This is the second book that I have read by Belinda Bauer and I loved it. The plot is original and the characters well drawn. There may be some gruesome bits as well, but they are not gratuitous.

The main part of the story takes place partly in a dissecting room and partly in a coma ward. The major character, Patrick, is a young man with Aspergers who has one mission in life – to find out why his father died. Therefore, when he goes to university to study anatomy, it is not to find out how people work, but what happens when they stop. As part of his course, Patrick is assigned, with a small group of other students, to discover the cause of death of ‘Cadaver 19’. Bauer pulls no punches when it comes to descriptions of the dissection, but as these are interspersed with the witticisms of the medical students, you develop a gallows humour as you read.

The second thread in the story is told by a man who is coming out of his coma and is struggling to make himself understood by those around him. The humour of the dissecting room is absent here. In fact, the juxtaposition of the two settings makes the coma ward seem very sad indeed.

In the beginning, you do wonder how the two strands of the story will ever come together, but never fear. This a a very cleverly written novel. Every time that I thought I knew where I was going, I would turn a page and find myself right back at the beginning of the maze.

As for Patrick, when he finds that he cannot agree with the official cause of death for ‘Cadaver 19’, then that sends him on an entirely different quest.

A super book – you’ll love it.

 

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