By Jeff Ayers
Dr. Matt Newman thought he was leaving his life as a surgeon in private practice for a better one in academic medicine. But the kidnappers who attacked him as he left his last shift in the ER have no such plans—they just want him dead. Matt’s escape comes at a price: a head injury that lands him in the ICU . . . where he awakens to discover he’s being charged with murder.
Welcome to STRESS TEST, the latest medical suspense thriller from Dr. Richard Mabry. Mabry is a retired physician and the author of four published novels of medical suspense. His books have been finalists in competitions including the Carol Award and Romantic Times’ Inspirational Book of the Year. His latest novel, LETHAL REMEDY, won a 2012 Selah Award. He and his wife live in North Texas.
In addition to his time as a physician, Mabry also served time in the military. When asked about it, he said, “I served almost three years in the Air Force, reaching the position of Deputy Hospital Commander at our base in the Azores. The Hospital Commander and I did get written up in STARS AND STRIPES for removing a coin from the throat of a native child, but medically, it was really no big deal. May not even be worth mentioning.”
When asked about why he decided to start writing novels, Mabry remarked, “I actually started out trying to learn to write a non-fiction book, sharing my experiences and lessons after the death of my first wife. Along the way, several authors suggested I try my hand at fiction. I did, and I was hooked. Four years, four unsuccessful books, and 40rejections, and I got my first contract. STRESS TEST will be my fifth published novel, and I have a contract for two more.”
Why medical thrillers? “I write thrillers because that’s the genre I’ve read for pleasure for decades. And the setting is always medical because that’s what I know–I was in private practice for over 25 years, spent another 10as a professor at a well-known medical school, so I felt comfortable using that as a backdrop for my novels.”
His first agent came up with the tag line, “Medical Suspense with Heart.” Mabry said, “As I’ve said earlier, medical suspense seemed to be the appropriate genre for me. The “with heart” means two things–first, there’s enough romance in my novels for women to enjoy them, but not so much that a man would put them down in disgust. And second, the book is written from a Christian point of view, including the love God has shown for us…if we only take advantage of it.”
Writing thrillers from a Christian perspective must be challenging. Mabry remarked, “I never gave it much thought until I began getting this question from interviewers. Although there’s a popular conception that, in order to write a good novel, it’s necessary to portray the “gritty” aspects of life, I find that can be done without being graphic or using distasteful language. Then again, my novels aren’t “in your face” Christian literature in the sense of containing altar calls or conversion scenes. Rather, they simply portray a Christian worldview, showing how people, both believers and non-believers, deal with God and vice-versa.”
When asked about his latest novel, STRESS TEST, he said, “Each of my novels has come from some bit of inspiration, followed by the question I’ve learned to ask myself: “what if?” In this case, I was in the parking garage of our medical school, and even though it was daylight, my imagination turned it into the wee hours of the morning, with dark corners, no one around, and a doctor getting kidnapped. Then I asked myself, “What if he didn’t know why he was kidnapped? And when he escaped, he discovered he was a suspected murderer?”
His first attempt at non-fiction was also published and is still in print. “My wife of 40years died in 1999…and it devastated me. I used journaling as a coping tool, and eventually turned excerpts from that material, plus my reflections and lessons I’d learned through the experience, into THE TENDER SCAR: LIKE AFTER THE DEATH OF A SPOUSE. I’m proud to say that the book has been in print now for seven years, continuing to minister to those dealing with the loss of a loved one.”
Fans of medical thrillers have a new author to embrace. Both Michael Palmer and Tess Gerritsen have endorsed his books. Here’s a stress test you will want to take.
Dr. Richard Mabry is a retired physician, the author of four published novels of medical suspense. His books have been finalists in competitions including the Carol Award and Romantic Times Inspirational Book of the Year. His latest novel, LETHAL REMEDY, won a 2012 Selah Award. He and his wife live in North Texas.
To learn more about Richard, please visit his website.