"Warning Signs," C.J. Lyons

Pros: In-depth personal plots; plenty of intense medical mystery
Cons: None for me
Rating: 5 out of 5

Review copy courtesy of Penguin Group.


After reading several of J.D Robb/Nora Roberts’s ‘in death’ books last week, I was still in the mood for procedural-type books, and I’ve always had a weakness for medical mysteries. Until our DVR went on the fritz I loved to hang on for the ride when watching “House” even if I don’t have the medical background to get all of those references. A good writer can make you feel that you aren’t missing anything even when you haven’t studied the right subjects—and C.J. Lyons achieves that in Warning Signs.

Amanda Mason is struggling to finish out medical school so that she can go into pediatrics. She’s currently on a neurology rotation under Dr. Lucas Stone. This might even be enjoyable, considering how much she looks up to him and enjoys his company, except for one thing: she’s started having some odd symptoms (clumsiness, weakness, numbness), and she’s afraid he’ll notice and decide that she isn’t fit for duty. The problem becomes much larger than her, however, when two other patients with the same symptoms die, and a third slips into a coma. Amanda has to figure out what’s going on with her and the other girls before the third one dies—and before Amanda follows her. But Amanda’s friends, who are ignorant of Amanda’s connection to the mysterious cases, are also caught up in their own problems. Nora’s being stalked by an old boyfriend who won’t give up; Lydia is trying to keep a homeless boy from being taken away from his sick great-grandmother, and Gina can’t seem to get over a past trauma that’s keeping her from doing her work.

The back of the book compares Lyons’s writing to “ER” or “Grey’s Anatomy,” but, not being a fan of those shows, I can’t compare. I can say that the medical mystery seemed to me to be right up there with what I was used to from “House,” but instead of a grumpy addict of a doc as main character, it’s med student Amanda Mason and her friends (a by-the-book nurse (Nora), a streetwise ER attending (Lydia), and another student completing an EMS rotation (Gina)). There was plenty of personal plot and drama among all four characters, but I didn’t feel that it stepped over the line into melodrama or soap opera. It was comfortably in the realm of allowing us to be a part of these women’s lives.

Warning Signs delivered a tight mystery and a good dose of action, along with strong, individualistic characters. I highly enjoyed it.

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