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Frank Pierce is a very good paramedic. He is also burned-out, reeling from his recent marriage break up and from the theatre of death he sees on every shift. His colleagues are as tired as he is, but while they are all bored, desensitised and robotic it is only Frank who sees the ghosts of those he did not or could not save. One such lost patient is Burke, whose spirit accompanies Frank throughout the novel, and who may just stop him from really cracking under the weight of the mayhem and death. This is a startlingly vivid novel of the life of a paramedic - the emergencies, the lives that are saved and those that are lost, the wise-cracking humour of the city streets and the casualty wards - and it is also a novel of redemption, written with haunting and powerful energy.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780751523768
ISBN-10: 0751523763
Format: Paperback
(198mm x 126mm x mm)
Pages: 288
Imprint: Time Warner Paperbacks
Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
Publish Date: 3-Sep-1998
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

Reviews

US Kirkus Review » Connelly's first novel presents two hellish, interminable, and presumably normal days and nights in the life of an EMS paramedic. For half his shift, Frank Pierce just drives an ambulance through the streets of HeWs Kitchen; for the other half, he sits in the back with the patients en route to Our Lady of Mercy (universally called "Misery") Hospital. Regardless, in Connelly's hands, every emergency call blossoms into a story. Mary Foster calls 911 fearing her husband Richard is dead, and then when he turns up in the next room, fears she's dying herself. Riot, ne Frederick Smith, is a dwarf whose pasty makeup only accentuates the effects of his heroin overdose. Noel is a psychotic whose signal symptom is a suicidally uncontrollable thirst. Mr. Oh, Misery's worst pest, is a drunk who calls 911 more often than most people call home. As Frank makes the rounds among these lost souls, he's haunted by his own hard-case father; by Rose, the asthmatic teenager whose life he couldn't save even though he'd intubated a hundred patients without a hitch before; and by Patrick Burke, a retired veteran whose determination to die was thwarted first by his family and then by Frank, who jerked him back to life through the kindness of CPR, epinephrine, and a calcium injection. As he cautiously circles Burke's daughter Mary, who's dogging the corridors of Mercy while waiting for her father to wake up and forgive her for wishing him dead, Frank sees that she's as damaged as he himself is. But how can their relationship come to anything when Frank can't break out of his cycle of horrific memories, and when all the normal cues for climax - from the loss of love and illusion to the parody of death and resurrection - are the stuff of his everyday rounds? Don't expect a strong sense of plot or direction from this zany, painfully sensitive debut - just think of it as a nightmare to endure along with Frank until you're released by the last page. (Kirkus Reviews)


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Author Biography - Joe Connelly

Joe Connelly is a paramedic in the Hell's Kitchen area of New York. This is his first novel.

Books By Author Joe Connelly

Bringing Out the Dead by Joe Connelly

Bringing Out the Dead

Paperback, March 2000
$19.76