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Books, Journals, New Media
April 12, 2000

ThrillerRisk Factor

Author Affiliations

Harriet S.MeyerMD, Contributing EditorJonathan D.EldredgeMLS, PhD, Journal Review EditorRobertHoganMD, adviser for new media


Not Available


Copyright 2000 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved. Applicable FARS/DFARS Restrictions Apply to Government Use.2000American Medical Association


by Charles Atkins, 256 pp, $23.95, ISBN 0-312-20920-7, New York, NY, St Martin's Press, 1999.

JAMA. 2000;283(14):1890. doi:10.1001/jama.283.14.1890-JBK0412-6-1

Risk Factor is the second psychiatric murder mystery by psychiatrist Charles Atkins. There are certain similarities to his first novel, The Portrait (reviewed in JAMA March 3, 1999), but Risk Factor is a richer novel in the sense of greater character development. The Portrait focused primarily on a patient; Risk Factor focuses more on the psychiatrists. Both novels are taut and suspenseful.

The setting is a big city hospital with a psychiatric residency program. Activity is perpetual. The staff is weary, overwhelmed, often dispirited. The task is monumental. And the bottom drops out. Our worst fears are a reality.

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