Sometimes People Die by Simon Stephenson
[A] thriller from [an] ex-doctor about a spate of mysterious deaths in a beleaguered hospital. Insightful on addiction and doctors’ lives, it reads almost like a comic medical memoir – with murder thrown in ’The Bookseller
The year is 1999. Returning to practice after a suspension for stealing opioids, a young Scottish doctor takes the only job he can find: a post as a senior house officer in the struggling east London hospital of St Luke’s.
Amid the maelstrom of sick patients, over-worked staff and underfunded wards a darker secret soon declares itself: too many patients are dying.
Which of the medical professionals our protagonist has encountered is behind the murders? And can our unnamed narrator’s version of the events be trusted?
The is one mysterious aspect of this novel that you pick up very quickly, there is a narrator, but you do not know who the narrator is. This is what I really liked about Sometimes People Die (The Borough Press) by Simon Stephenson this just adds to the mystery. It is set in the year 1999 in a struggling London Hospital this young Scottish doctor takes on a role that soon becomes something more than just a doctor.
How did this young Scottish doctor end up working at this London hospital, for this you have to back further as while he was working previously in Scotland, he came very close to losing everything he worked so hard for including he medical licence which would have meant that his career would have been over, he was found to be stealing drugs due to his ongoing opioid addiction. Now he is working with overworked and underpaid staff at this London Hospital. But there is something going on at this hospital, people are dying, too many people are dying.
Throughout the story the narrator talks to us about life on the wards the long and exhausting days that never seem to end and days that merge into one, the crash calls and constant beeps, but something keeps occurring and that is among of people that seem to be dying on the wards, clearly something sinister is going on, could there really be a killer stalking the patients, someone who could be a nurse or a doctor clearly taking lives? Our narrator will soon become a suspect when his own past is called into question, but somewhere in the hospital there is a killer. He must find who is responsible and quick.
I have to say that I really enjoyed how Simon Stephenson set out his novel as Simon is a trained doctor and worked in both London and Scotland, so his medical background really helps set the scene of day-to-day life on the wards of St Luke’ Hospital. At times there is humour that he brings to the story, within the story our doctor who is out to find the killer will also recount some of the famous cases of medical related murders from the years past which really adds to the story. It is both compelling and at the same time an addictive read. But what about the ending, well that is something you will have to discover for yourself.
My thanks to Sophia Saghir (Midas PR) and The Borough Press for the review Copy of by Sometimes People Die by Simon Stephenson. Published on 1st September 2022 and is now available through Waterstones, Amazon and through your local independent bookshop or through Bookshop.org that supports your local independent bookshop. UK Bookshop.org
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