Wednesday, May 31, 2017

William Rubin Presents Important Prequel to Chris Ravello Medical Thriller Series

Sometimes a prequel doesn't seem important to a series already started; however, I was very happy to take a step back for William Rubin's Chris Ravello Medical Thriller series! More, I highly encourage you to start the series with this book before you continue on to the second, Forbidden Birth...Be sure to read my review of that book.

There are two reasons I was happy to see the prequel. First, it shares more of the life and family of Chris Ravello so that we learn more of the man who by the next book has made a major career change...and that leads to the second reason--to learn why he made that decision...

By the time readers are in the second book, we are immediately thrown into a brilliant plot or a thriller that pulls you directly into and through the book. Knowing the why, how and when Ravello became a cop lays a foundation that, for me, established him as a righteous hero, one to look forward to as he uses his significant knowledge, expertise, and experience in fighting crimes related to medical issues...

Sunday afternoon at the Ravello residence in beautiful Rye, New York – it’s the best time of the week. Jacqueline and Bill Ravello, aka Mom and Dad/Grandma and Grandpa, are over for our weekly family dinner. My best friend, Kevin Kennedy, is here as well. He is like a brother to me. Michelle, Christine, James, and I round out the crew. Our magnificent seven use this time to catch up with each other and enjoy some great cooking courtesy of Mom and Michelle. Today is extra special, as it’s the first time Michelle and I are hosting the event at our new home, a four thousand square foot, five bedroom Victorian in one of Westchester County’s more exclusive neighborhoods. Michelle gathers the children at the top of our sprawling staircase, putting the finishing touches on their hair, as the rest of us catch up with each other in the living room...
“I’m so proud of you, Christopher. This new house, your career, the two wonderful children you and Michelle are raising.... I always knew you could do it.” Mom beams with pride. 
Blushing, I try to downplay it. “I’m as surprised as anyone, Ma, with how well it’s turned out. For a lot of years, I was a major screw up. You were the one who pulled me through all the fights, the turmoil, the feeling I didn’t fit in when we moved to Ossining from Arthur Avenue.” A smile fills my face. “I don’t know how you hung in there with me, Ma, how you believed in me when I didn’t even believe in myself. You made this all possible. Thank you so much.” Tears rim my eyes. Mom’s mist up as well. 
“Oh Christopher,” she says as we lean into each other and hug. “Can you come to the kitchen with me? I have something for you in my purse.” 
“Sure, Ma. Lead the way.” Mom glides through the dining room and into the kitchen, checking on the meal she and Michelle have prepared. The aroma of lasagna and garlic bread in the oven waft through the air, bringing me back to happy Sundays from my childhood. Mom stirs the mac and cheese she is making for the kids, adding in seasoning as she goes. Sipping a glass of cabernet sauvignon, I admire her, reflecting on how lucky I am to have such a wonderful woman as my mother. Many are not so fortunate. “I meant what I said a moment ago, Ma. I felt so lost, like such an outsider once we moved to Ossining...”
Mom and I embrace for a moment. She leans back and pulls a tissue from her purse and dabs at her eyes. “Ma, are you okay?” “Yes, I’m fine dear. I just want you to know how proud I am of you. Seeing what you’ve accomplished, what a wonderful life you and Michelle have built for yourselves.…” Mom smiles broadly through her tears. “I’m glad you found a strong woman, Christopher. A mother’s always concerned about who her son will marry, who will take care of him when he leaves home. You and Michelle will pull each other through the darkest hours of your lives long after I’m gone. If I had to die now, I’d die happy, knowing how wonderfully my little boy has turned out.”
I kiss Mom on the forehead and hug her. “Hey, Mom, don’t get all melodramatic and serious on me now, huh? You’re not going anywhere for a long time.” I chuckle. “You’ve got two beautiful grandchildren counting on you to spoil them.” 
Mom dries her tears as she speaks. “Sorry for going a bit overboard, but what can you expect from a mother? Here, I got something for you.” Mom reaches into the depths of her purse and pulls out a sturdy white box with a bright blue bow. It envelopes her hands. “Here, open it.” 
“Uh, okay. What’s this all about?” Mom’s face fills with anticipation as I untie the bow and open the box. 
A puzzled look comes over me as I stare at the large gold medallion. It depicts a man, a club in his hand, fire around his head. The medallion is thick, filling my hand with its size and
weight as I lift it and the chain it is on out of its box. “It’s beautiful, Ma. But what’s with the flame around the guy’s head?” I smirk at her. “Are you trying to remind me not to be a hot head?” 
Mom gives me the look reserved for mothers when their children misbehave. “Very funny.” She grabs the gift from me. “It’s a St. Jude medallion, Christopher. He’s the patron saint of lost or hopeless causes. His feast day, October 28th, happens to be your birthday.” 
My look of confusion speaks volumes. “You wear this as a reminder, dear.” Mom’s knowledge of Catholic saints is encyclopedic. Mine not so much. “A reminder of what?” 
“To always do good in the world, to help and protect those in need, no matter how lost they are or how hopeless their cause seems to be. Do this and St. Jude and I will always be there to watch over and protect you.”

The Sub-Title, Jacqueline's Tragedy, is the key to the major change to Chris Ravello and his family's lives. Jacqueline, Chris' mother, had been behind every action and reaction of daily living during Chris' early school years. From her, he gained the strength to fight against bullies, stand strong in doing right, and working hard to achieve the most he could... He was now a surgeon, performing small and large miracles to save those who needed his expertise...

Chris was now able to afford a larger house for his wife and two children. It was on the first Sunday in that new house that all the family, including Chris' parents and his best friend, Kevin Kennedy had come for a small housewarming... Kevin was a cop as had been Chris' father. Everybody was thrilled with the beautiful home and after the meal, that day, Jacqueline had taken Chris into another room and presented her son with a stunning gold medallion of St. Jude. It was almost as if she knew even then that Chris would one day need that help promised through praying to St. Jude... But that was later, after Jacqueline, herself, had been killed by street violence...

Jacqueline had been on her way to help serve at a food kitchen when a man waved her to stop. She hesitated, but then saw another man lying on the nearby walk. As soon as she got out to help and moved to the man, she was caught. But she fought
them so hard that finally they had to run because the police was on their way. They rushed her to the hospital but she soon went into a coma... Finally, after days of visiting, Chris noticed a strange mark and thought she might have been drugged... Telling Kennedy, it was soon discovered that another man had the same mark and that there appeared to be more than an assault happening...

Ravello and Kennedy had handled many tough issues since they had grown up together. Now, there was no way that Chris was not going to be involved with finding those who had attacked his mother.  Kennedy soon showed his intelligence in working to get Chris permitted to be informally involved, since the mark appeared to be leading to something that could be behind all the missing older people who had been reported.

Soon, even the governor was involved and not only agreed to have Chris involved, but wanted him to take over an already-formed medical group that had, as yet, not solved one case since none of those working had any medical training...

The book quickly gets into a serious investigation, with Chris finding a side of him not seen for a long time, when he used a scalpel as a weapon to scare a witness into talking!

There were two interesting medical issues that became prominent in the that was unique and plagued our main character, Chris... And another which was used to attempt to bring Jacqueline out of her coma... The ending of Jacqueline's life was via a brief awakening where she was able to speak to all of her family... What a blessing that decision, though fatal, made to the family.

In fact, the drama of routine death-life actions, together with those who care not about life itself, if they can make money through, in this case, selling organs, brings about today's reality into books that stir strong emotional responses that keep readers riveted. But the thrilling ending when Chris is in serious danger cannot be beat for an exhilarating conclusion, as well as lead in to Chris' new career! Bravo to Rubin for giving this more personal touch to his characters as we look forward to future medical thrillers by this expert in the medical field! Highly recommended.


William Rubin is a practicing physician who enjoys weaving tales of medical/scientific intrigue. Writing for him is equal parts catharsis, creativity, and escape from the rigors of a busy medical practice and the joys and challenges of raising a family. The works of James Patterson, Robin Cook, Michael Palmer, and Patricia Cornwell inspired Dr. Rubin to create the Christopher Ravello Series. Challenges and tragedies in Dr. Rubin’s life, particularly the untimely death of his mother, provided some of the underlying drama, conflict, and turmoil for the series’ lead character.

When he isn't busy practicing medicine or crafting his next medical thriller, Dr. Rubin enjoys time with his family and friends, running, playing piano, and travel. He values your thoughts, insights, and feelings on his series. Please leave a review on your favorite website(s).

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