When her elderly patients start dying at home days after minor surgery, anesthesiologist Dr. Kate Downey wants to know why. The surgeon, not so much. “Old people die, that’s what they do” is his response. When Kate presses, surgeon Charles Ricken places the blame squarely on her shoulders. Kate is currently on probation, and the chief of staff sides with the surgeon, leaving Kate to prove her innocence and save her own career. With her husband in a prolonged coma, it’s all she has left. Aided by her eccentric Great Aunt Irm, a precocious medical student, and the lawyer son of a victim, Kate launches her own unorthodox investigation of these unexpected deaths. As she comes closer to exposing the culprit’s identity, she faces professional intimidation, threats to her life, a home invasion, and, tragically, the suspicious death of someone close to her. The stakes escalate to the breaking point when Kate, under violent duress, is forced to choose which of her loved ones to save—and which must be sacrificed.
Tammy Euliano recently spent some time with The Big Thrill discussing her debut thriller, FATAL INTENT:
Which took shape first: plot, character, or setting?
Definitely the plot. As a medical student I developed an interest in end-of-life decisions and have long wanted to promote a discussion of the fascinating and competing goals raised by the surrounding issues.
How does this book make a contribution to the genre?
I enjoy mysteries and thrillers in general, and medical thrillers when written by someone who knows. Medical dramas on TV, not so much. The inaccuracies drive me nuts. I’m sure law enforcement officers, attorneys, etc. have the same problem. I hope this novel introduces readers to the fascinating world of anesthesiology, while also instigating necessary conversations about individual desires regarding the (hopefully distant) future.
No spoilers, but what can you tell us about your book that we won’t find in the jacket copy or the PR material?
Kate’s Aunt Irm is based on a real person, the aunt of my mentor. Dr. JS Gravenstein and I wrote an introductory anesthesiology textbook and enjoyed working together so much that we started a fiction book featuring her. Sadly he passed away before the book was completed, but she lives on with Kate.
Tammy Euliano, MD is a practicing anesthesiologist and tenured professor of anesthesiology at the University of Florida. In addition to a prolific list of academic publications, YouTube teaching videos, and numerous teaching awards, she has also written award-winning short fiction. Fatal Intent is her debut novel. Tammy lives in Gainesville, FL, with her husband.
To learn more about the author and her work, please visit her website.