Dr. Gerald Imber, a plastic surgeon on the staff of New York Presbyterian Hospital, has penned his debut novel, "Wendell Black, M.D." (Bourbon Street Books, 412 pages)
Though fiction, this book has an eye-opening plot which is frighteningly realistic in this age of terrorism.
The story begins with Wendell Black, a New York City police surgeon retiring to home from London. While on a Virgin Atlantic flight, he is shocked to find a young woman in acute cardiac distress.
Although he renders aid, his efforts are futile and the young woman dies. The death of one so young is shocking enough but not nearly as shocking as the results of the autopsy where it is revealed that the passenger was a transgender male with heroin packets stashed in his breast implants.
At first, this seems to be an international drug smuggling ring, but the elaborate and expensive methods seem out of place to the police surgeon. His suspicions are confirmed when an associate of his girlfriend is murdered and his girlfriend disappears.
The good doctor winds up involved in something far more sinister - a test run for terrorists planning the ultimate attack. Black must use his medical instincts to stop what will be a hideous assault on New York.
While the reader might be a bit surprised to entertain the notion that the Sunni Muslim brotherhood, or al Qaida, would enlist, even through blackmail or threat, an Iranian (Shiite) in their plots, the means of attack which he proposes are all too credible.
The doctor is spot on when he describes religious militants as "Neanderthals" and one wishes that those who kill in the name of "God" would evolve past their murderous fanaticism.