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January 15, 1997


Author Affiliations

Benton, Ill

JAMA. 1997;277(3):265. doi:10.1001/jama.1997.03540270091036

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Harvest is a thoughtful medical thriller by internist Tess Gerritsen. Her novel suggests that any decision in medicine, no matter how clinically, ethically, or personally correct, can generate a ripple effect with dire consequences. In the case of fictional second-year surgical resident Dr Abby DiMatteo, doing the right thing unleashes a cascade of events that threatens not only her career but her life.

The 28-year-old physician unwittingly becomes entangled in a horrifying conspiracy orchestrated by the Russian mafia. Orphaned boys, ages 10 to 15, are murdered and their organs harvested to provide transplants for those who can afford to bypass the waiting list.

Some of the characters seem a bit stereotyped, like Dr Colin Wettig, the chairman of the surgical residency program, and Bernard "Slug" Katzka, a homicide detective. The stunted but wise 11-year-old Russian orphan Yakov is an exception. This youngster, with a withered stump in place of his