A Dr. Zol Szabo Medical Mystery
By Ross Pennie
(ECW Press, Hardcover, 9781550228601, 305pp.)
Publication Date: April 2009
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In an affluent city perched on Ontario’s Niagara Escarpment, residents begin turning up on the pathologist’s autopsy table with what looks like epidemic mad cow disease. Zol Szabo, a public-health doctor and former chef, and Hamish Wakefield, a young infectious-diseases specialist, must trace the epidemic to its source while dodging the deadly prions that appear to have contaminated almost everything in the supermarket. Things spin out of control and more lives are threatened when a government-appointed investigator pulls rank, hijacks the investigation, and allows his inflated ego to supersede common sense. Incidents of contamination of the food supply are featured almost weekly in the news. In Tainted, the clock is ticking to discover the source of the disease before it can spread, while navigating the political minefield of the hospital and the media. A suspenseful and vexing medical thriller, Tainted comments on the vagaries of modern medicine, and explores the complexities of relationships between men: fathers and sons, colleagues and subordinates, gay men and their lovers. Tainted is a medical thriller that illustrates the potential disastrous consequences of misplacing our trust in those who manufacture our food and our pharmaceuticals.