Book Review: The Heart-Stopping "Resuscitation"
After being sexually abused and manipulated by his cousins and consequently disowned by his parents, the doctor we come to know as Julian becomes the textbook profile of a serial killer. Julian is a handsome, successful heart surgeon who has invested his life’s work in obtaining a grant for his atrial fibrillation research. After his mother died of the ailment, Julian is determined to find a cure. However, his heartfelt intentions deteriorate into a psychotic obsession after his grant is denied. Julian then turns to kidnapping and murdering live victims with experimental heart surgeries, which lures the famous homicide detective Sami Rizzo out of retirement.
Rizzo also has a turbulent background as well. She was kidnapped, tortured and almost killed by the serial killer from her last case. Resigning to retirement, Rizzo struggles to define herself apart from her job and the stress of dealing with her past has spilled itself into her relationship with her boyfriend, mom and daughter.
With "Resuscitation," Annechino creates a very multi-layered character in Julian and all of these layers slowly unfold through each of his victims. There is also a very interesting correlation between Julian and Rizzo, as we see how the detective slowly rises above her past trauma, while Julian is quickly consumed by his. It is a useful juxtaposition because it finds a common thread between the good guy and the bad guy.
Moreover, Annechino evokes discussion through his characters. Julian violates his Hippocratic oath based on the Aristotelian philosophy that “the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.” He believes he is serving the greater good and that mentality fuels his aggressive experiments. Is Julian truly justified? And how sympathetic should the reader be to his traumatic past?
The novel is narrated by the main characters and at times is narrated through the eyes of the victims. There are also multiple story lines going on at once and each intertwines and overlaps to develop the overall plot. At times it can be overwhelming because there are a series of subplots, but Annechino does a well enough job keeping the reader engaged and not distracted. However, there are some characters, such as Rizzo’s daughter, that deserve more attention than the author could give.
Annechino’s research efforts also come through as "Resuscitation" is a fairly graphic novel. The reader sees Julian go from well-intentioned surgeon to brutal rapist and the details are disturbing as much as they are informative.
The pace of "Resuscitation" is very well done and it’s definitely a page-turner all the way through to the end. There are some parts that seem a little tedious, but each detail is purposeful and leads to something pivotal to the plot. For those who enjoy a gripping thriller amplified with medical gore, "Resuscitation" is a great choice.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Some of the references in the original version of this story spoiled key plot points; they have been taken out or rewritten.
Best way to find more great content from Neon Tommy?
Or join our email list below to enjoy the weekly Neon Tommy News Highlights.