Monday, December 1, 2014

Don Donaldson's Latest, The Blood Betrayal, Will Leave You Shocked But Satisfied With Great Thriller!

I do not want to go in there.
Death seeped under the operating room doors. It slipped through the crack between them and swirled around Carl Martin's sweat-soaked brow. Dark wet rings were already in full bloom under the armpits of his blue scrubs...
But he'd already agreed to help...
"Doctor, the images are ready."
Carl looked back at the work station computer screen and saw a menu to choose from. He clicked on the first image from the preoperative smear, and the most bizarre red blood cells he'd ever seeen flicked up on the screen. Instead of smooth contours, each of these reds had a large blister on them. He clicked on the second pre-op image and saw the same thing. What the hell?
He clicked on the first image taken from a smear made after the uncontrolled bleeding began. Now, the picture was total different. Instead of intact red cells, there were only fragments...
That confirmed it. Shit.
The guy on the table had DIC...Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation...coined Death Is Coming to those who had to deal with it.,,

The Blood Betrayal
By Don Donaldson

You may think that the title of this novel or a short excerpt will prepare you for what happens in this medical thriller. It will not; nothing will! You will become fascinated, then flabbergasted, then repelled. How can some researchers get to the point that they feel what they do is right? Readers may have thought they've read great medical thrillers with outstanding concepts. But, this one, for me at least, was well beyond the fantasy or futuristic theories I've earlier read! 

It was pure horror...

And yet you won't know it until...

Carl Martin had given up patient work and turned to research; but in an emergency, he'd been called into surgery as a patient was in danger. He had been stabbed three times during a mugging. Everything had been progressing until the man started leaking and his ability to form clots was extremely slow. He was bleeding to death...

..."I just wanted to come down and tell you how much the board
and I appreciate the way you've taken control of things."
Carl shrugged. "Mostly, I'm just pursuing directions my
father developed."
"You're being too modest. Before the accident, he told me that
the insights you were bringing to the project were brilliant."
"Guess I helped a little."
When Carl decided he could no longer watch his patients die, he lost more than his professional career, he lost his wife, who quickly had claimed, "I will not be the wife of a research drudge." He was now working for Arkansas Pharm which had been the place of research for his ancestors...

He had taken over his father's research and was moving ahead in the right direction. Since he had been called into the emergency room, though, he'd been thinking about the death of Ben Rasco... as well.

The tip of the Coulter counter in a
buffer solution, counting cells in solution.
Marge came to his open door. "You gotta see this," she said, holding out two sheets of paper. She rushed into his office and thrust one of the sheets into his hands.
"What is it?"
"The Coulter counts on the first animal we infused yesterday."
The Coulter counter was the machine used to tally the various kinds of blood cells in a sample.
"Look at the red cell value," Marge said.
Carl noted the figure. "Seems pretty low."
"That's the number after the infusion had a chance to equilibrate."
"Okay...a very expected result." And it was, considering they had diluted the animal's existing reds with cell-free Synheme  moments before the sample was taken.
"Now look at this." She handed him the second sheet, where he saw that the reds on this one were much more numerous.
He sat up straighter. "This isn't--"
"Yes it is. That animal's marrow is pumping our new red cells like crazy, far more than could be accounted for by jump dumping a reserve of already mature cells. Now check the whites and platelets."
He went back to the first sheet and looked at those figures. Of course, they too, were low after the infusion had diluted the blood. He returned to the second sheet. My God. Those numbers as well were skyrocketing back to normal...
Carl Martin never could have projected that his research success would soon be needed...

"Can you handle it yourself?"
"What do you think?"
"So I'm really not needed
around here."
Marge grinned. "You make
a great coffee."

Carl was pleased with the latest results of his research, but he knew that the remainder of the testing did not need his being there. He was still thinking about the case he'd been pulled into and had gone to his address and found something a little strange...

Rasco had lived in a gated community! The town was supposed to support the furniture factory, but also was a religious commune, it seemed. He'd traveled to the town since the residents had claimed Rasco's body. His blood had been so unusual that Martin felt he needed to know much more. The town's doctor knew that Carl was a hematologist and had followed the body.  Dr. Meggs had placed Carl on the alert but couldn't remember why at the time. Still, he went on to inquire about Mr. Rasco's condition...

When Carl indicated he was going to use this case for a book he was working on, discussing the blistered red cells... It didn't even take the time for Carl to leave before Meggs decided that he had enough reason to get rid of him...

But as Carl left, he was carrying a passenger, a stowaway who was now crawling out from the trunk compartment through the rear seat...

Carl flinched at the sounds from the seat behind him. Inadvertently, he jerked on the wheel. The right front tire dropped off the pavement with a thump as the car headed for a frightening ravine... Oh shit...
The backrest of the rear seat had been pushed forward. Someone in a hooded blue rains slicker was climbinb onto it from the trunk. He checked each hand of the moving figure. No gun. Then what...?
Of course...the cocking sound he'd heard must have just been the seat latch being released. The stowaway stroked the hood away from her face, revealing a young woman with long strawberry blond hair and the most intensely colored hazel eyes he'd ever seen. "Guess I owe you an explanation..."
Carl's feeling of relief that she wasn't an assassin changed to anger at how she'd surprised him. "Yeah, I'd say I deserve one," he replied, the vein in his forehead standing out like a rope, "considering you just about got us both killed."
"I didn't mean for that to happen. I'm Beth Corbin. I live back there in Artisan. I was hoping to get a ride with you into the city."
"You couldn't just ask?"
Face wrinkling, she shook her  head. "Not, really, No."

After Martin had got over the shock, he immediately began to ask questions about Ben, about Artisan, and about herself... What he hadn't planned on, though, after he'd gotten to know her better was that she would tell him she was going to die soon...

Just imagined, all that's happening within the first few chapters. And with a touch of humor throughout as well! And a budding relationship with the stowaway! I've already added Don Donaldson to my "favorite author" list, but I think The Blood Betrayal might have surpassed all that I've read so far! The mystery of this small town explodes into revelation after revelation as practically every individual within the novel is affected by what is or may happen! Whew! Even the climax lasts for chapter after chapter while the growing suspense will result in a surprise guaranteed to NOT be anticipated by any reader... If I'm wrong, let me know! 

Don't miss this!


Don Donaldson, who also writes as D. J. Donaldson, holds a Ph.D. in human anatomy. In his professional career, he has taught microscopic anatomy to over 5,000 medical and dental students and published dozens of research papers on wound healing. He is also the author of seven published forensic mysteries and five medical thrillers. He lives in Memphis, Tennessee with his wife and two West Highland terriers.

Check out other BRH Reviews of Donaldson's Books!

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