BOOK REVIEW: BAIT AND SWITCH (A Kurtz and Barent Mystery) by Robert I. Katz


Richard Kurtz is a general surgeon practicing in a teaching hospital in New York and has recently been appointed Director of the Division of General Surgery at Easton Medical Center. He has been given to assume that the position is largely ceremonial and that little real work will be involved. However, that assumption is soon challenged when the wife of transplant surgeon, Peter Levinson, requests an appointment. She is concerned. Her husband has been staying out late at night, is moody, and, generally, out of sorts. She wants Kurtz to speak with him.

Dr. Kurtz is loath to get involved in one of his colleague’s personal dramas, but in his new role, he has to give it a shot. He finds out that one of Levinson’s best friends from childhood, Richie Capaldi, has been diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury after a brutal assault. To make matters worse, two of Levinson’s other close friends have disappeared without a trace. Kurtz, who also acts as a police surgeon with the NYPD, turns to his friend and colleague, Lew Barent, to see if he can find out more about what happened to Capaldi and how it is related to Dr. Levinson.

In Bait and Switch, the eighth novel in the Kurtz and Barent Mysteries, author Katz presents the reader with an intricate puzzle involving medicine and the development of medical devices, the mafia, and investment strategies. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel, which is my second Kurtz and Barent Mystery. Having worked in the academic medical environment for twenty years, I especially relished the author’s descriptions of academia and his observations on how the game is played there. And, yes, author Katz is right. Cardiovascular surgeons do think they’re gods!

Bait and Switch is a very entertaining and highly recommended read for those who enjoy medical thrillers and complex mysteries peopled by wonderful three-dimensional characters.

Five big shiny stars!

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