In southern California, a young Mayan boy with a blue-crescent-moon tattoo on his chest dies mysteriously. In central America, a puzzling illness is spreading among tribal villages. And soonâ€”very soonâ€”Luke McKenna, a pediatric E.R. physician in Los Angeles, will discover the link between these events and demons from his dark past. The secrets that haunt Luke are about to pull him and the woman he loves into a terrifying house of mirrors. The realm of science and the realm of death are colliding with devastating force, and the stakes couldn't be any higherâ€”the future of the human species.
Time is running out, and only by reawakening the ghost of Luke McKenna's past can they discover the truth.
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In this solid debut thriller, a troubled doctor gets caught up in a global conspiracy after a mysteriously afflicted four-year-old Guatemalan boy dies on his watch. Pediatric ER physician Luke McKenna's curiosity is piqued when it seems the child's symptoms don't match any known disease; he's more intrigued, however, when hospital administrators and Guatemalan officials whisk away the child's body before McKenna can perform a postmortem investigation. While trying to beat back haunting, at times debilitating memories of his time in a shadowy military organization, McKenna continues to pursue the child's case, attracting the attention of a professional killer and the men behind him. It isn't until McKenna's framed for the murders of a former girlfriend and a football player that the good doctor becomes certain a conspiracy's afoot. From there, McKenna's on the run, using his old military training and contacts, as well as his medical expertise, to evade the cops and killers, get to Guatemala, try to uncover the forces he's up against and face his personal demons. Despite some clunky expository dialogue (practically a genre requisite) and a disappointing ending, Hawley delivers intense action, tricky plotting and an unpredictable hero sure to satisfy anyone with an appetite for a good page-turner. (Mar.)
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“Stigma is the thriller debut of the year. Hawley is a huge new talent on the thriller scene!” (David J. Montgomery, Chicago Sun-Times)
“A rare combination of taut plotting and brilliant writing. Sit back and enjoy. Phil Hawley is for real.” (Ridley Pearson)
“Watch out Michael Crichton! High-concept storytelling, non-stop action, terrific plotting...the thriller world has an authentic new voice.” (John Lescroat)
“Stigma pulses with tension and drama. Philip Hawley has written a top-notch thriller!” (Tess Gerritsen)
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