Do No Harm
Do No Harm
by Christina McDonald
Published February 9, 2021
by Gallery Books
Rating: 3 Stars ⭐⭐⭐
Genre: Medical Drama, Thriller
Are you truly willing to do whatever it takes for someone you love? And by doing so, do you feel that the ends justify the means?
Emma faces these moral questions when her five year old son is unexpectedly diagnosed with an aggressive leukemia and the only chance for his survival is a $100k+ treatment not covered by insurance. She decides she will do whatever it takes to save Josh’s life including comprising her career, freedom, marriage, and even her life.
As a doctor, Emma has unrestricted access to drugs and she chooses to start selling forged prescriptions to come up with the money for Josh’s treatment. But when her detective husband, Nate, takes on a case trying to rid the city of its ever increasing drug problem, Emma is put in an even more compromising position as she’s forced to cover lie after lie to ensure she can make the next hospital payment.
As Emma spirals deeper and deeper into the drug world, her integrity and entire sense of self start to vanish as she makes one concession after another in the name of saving her son.
Will Emma be able to save her son? Will Nate solve the case and get the promotion that he thinks will bring in enough money to pay for the treatments? Who will succeed and who will fail, and at what cost?
This was a book that has so many elements that I love and look for in a thriller. The medical and family dramas, a drug ring, and police procedural aspects all kept me at the edge of my seat.
I thought McDonald did a great job of showing the different layers of the drug epidemic. Not all addicts are villains. Many addicts are just victims of circumstance – they become addicted to drugs after suffering a devastating injury or by dealing with constant pain due to an illness – and I appreciated that she made an effort to show this side of the drug epidemic.
I also really liked that it made me ask myself some hard questions. Was Emma really justified in selling prescriptions that could and did kill people so that she could save her own son? Is one life more valuable than another? Was Nate ultimately responsible for saving his son or his wife? There were so many gray areas and I often found myself going back and forth on if I condoned Emma’s behavior and choices.
Do No Harm was about a 3.5/5 for me. I couldn’t give this book a higher rating because it felt too predictable. There were a few twists that I thought were all pretty obvious and I probably would have enjoyed a lot more if I had been more surprised.
I would absolutely recommend this novel if you enjoy Breaking Bad-esque thrillers, medical dramas, and police procedurals.
Thank you to Gallery Books and NetGalley for a copy of this novel.