Paramedic Jonathan Trestle has more life and death going on than he can handle. On the life side, an alcoholic father who lives with him, a full ride to medical school and a woman who makes his heart pound like a wild jungle beat. On the death side, childhood memories of his mother after the crash, and daily reminders as he struggles to save people at death’s door, often failing because the company for which he works is always shorthanded. TOMORROW WE DIE is the story of one man trying to make today count, no matter the consequences.
Working as a paramedic is a career prelude for Jonathan, whose plans to become a doctor have suddenly rocketed into a clear blue sky. When the news comes that he is receiving a full scholarship to medical school, the future looks pretty bright. But all too soon, Jonathan’s world gets a little dimmer. He saves a dying man, who asks him to deliver a piece of paper to “Martin.” Clearly the man is delusional, as the paper has nothing but random lines and markings. Later that evening, Jonathan finds the man dead, and decides to honor his last wish by finding this “Martin.” Jonathan succeeds in locating the mystery man just minutes after Martin has died. Shortly thereafter, he folds the dead man’s note into a paper airplane, revealing a secret code in place of the random markings. Suddenly, red flags are shooting up. Something is going on --- something connected with the ambulance company always being shorthanded and not getting to patients on time. His curiosity jumps into high gear.
Jonathan enlists the help of his friend and mentor, Dr. Eliezer Petrov, to assist him in finding some answers. The two expose a major cover-up with the ambulance company --- the kind certain people will do anything to keep hidden. He soon discovers the answers are coming at a high price. First, he is informed that his scholarship has been rescinded, followed by a false charge that he was stealing and using drugs. On the run from cops and bad guys alike, Jonathan is almost killed by a hired gun, later discovering the burnt remains of Dr. Petrov. With his world crashing down around him, he is more determined than ever to right the wrongs that have taken place…if he can only find a way to survive.
Shawn Grady’s second book is chock full of medical speak and emergency scenes. Maybe a little too chock full. Interesting at first, the ambulance rescues continue a bit past the captivation point. As a result, TOMORROW WE DIE flows with scarcely enough intrigue to keep you reading to the halfway point, but then steadily picks up speed and becomes an exciting, compelling page-turner. The wrap-up is done beautifully, with relationships and dreams coming together in a way that is both satisfying and plausible.
Grady’s background as a firefighter and paramedic make for realistic emergency scenes filled with gritty realism and believable dialogue. His characters jump off the page with distinct personalities. If you like medical/rescue thrillers, check out TOMORROW WE DIE and Grady’s debut novel, INTO THE FIRE.
Reviewed by Susan Miura on July 1, 2010
Tomorrow We Die