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'Hocus Corpus' by James Tucker

Roundup of new novels

Sunday, July 25, 1999

By Karen Carlin, Post-Gazette staff writer


Hocus Corpus

By James Tucker



Fox Chapel pediatrician James Tucker returns to his formula of medicine, magic and murder set in Pittsburgh in this follow-up to “Abra Cadaver.”

Also making a comeback from his first book are his hero, surgeon/magician Jack Merlin, his girlfriend, county assistant district attorney Tory Welch, and a few others connected to Pittsburgh University Medical Center.

Now the chief resident of surgery, Merlin finds himself trying to figure out why four patients have died from infection after seemingly successful routine surgeries. When he discovers their common link -- the same insurance carrier -- things get really interesting. Could an insurance company be issuing a bad policy -- murder?

As in “Abra Cadaver,” Tucker tells the tale from different points of view -- good guys and bad guys -- and describes the medical aspects in an understandable way. As Merlin investigates, you’ll have fun deducing how and why the victims died while hoping it’s too farfetched to happen in real life.

“Hocus Corpus” is a satisfying sophomore offering from Tucker and a fine diversion from the summer heat and TV reruns.

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