Publisher: Harper (February, 2019)
Kindle edition: $8.99
Reviewed by Shirley Wetzel
Dr. Alex Taylor remembers walking out of the hospital after her evening shift, dressed to the nines in anticipation of an evening of champagne, roses and an engagement ring. Now she has awakened into a nightmare. She recognizes the setting: she’s strapped down on an operating table. She must have been in an accident, she thinks, but something is wrong. The noise, the hustle and bustle of a normal operating room, the nurses and doctors in scrubs and masks are all missing.
Finally a figure in surgical gear appears. Refusing to answer her questions, the surgeon proceeds to perform horrific procedures on the paralyzed woman, describing in great detail each step of the way. She loses consciousness, and when her eyes open again she is on gurney in her own department, her worried colleagues looking down at her.
She tells them what happened, but they just stare in confusion. She’d been found at the edge of the hospital parking lot, with a slight head injury. An examination showed no other injuries. She keeps insisting on her story, but the doctors and the police detectives write it off as imagination, perhaps from too much alcohol, stress, overwork, anything but the truth.
Her family and friends try to be supportive, and her boyfriend Patrick is attentive and caring, but she continues to be adamant about her traumatic experience. As time wears on, people start to distance themselves from her, or suggest she has serious psychiatric problems and needs help. Even Patrick expresses doubt, causing their relationship to end.
Her life starts to spiral out of control. She almost makes a deadly mistake with a patient’s medication, things go missing, colleagues regard her with suspicion, and she begins to wonder if she really is losing it. Then a woman is found murdered in the hospital and clues point to Alex as the killer.
The two detectives assigned to the case are of different opinions. Laura Best didn’t believe Alex’s story from the beginning, and she’s hell-bent on proving the doctor is the killer. Her partner Greg is more sympathetic. He could tell that Alex truly believed she’d been attacked, and some things she says support her version of events.
DON’T WAKE UP is Liz Lawler’s debut novel, and it is well on its way to becoming an international bestseller. This nail-biting, edge of the seat psychological thriller explores present-day issues of abuse.
Also by this author:
I’LL FIND YOU, Zaffre (May, 2019) Paperback, $13.55
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