10 Medical Thriller Books to Get Your Dose of Adventure

Medical thriller is a fascinating genre that combines crime with forensics or some form of medicine. Whether it’s a doctor going from good to evil, mysterious bodies appearing in the morgue, or a string of bizarre mass murders, the following 10 medical thrillers are going to keep you on the edge of your seat.

10. Chromosome 6, by Robin Cook

First Published: 1997

What It’s About:

Set in Equatorial Guinea in the heart of Africa, this thriller explores the possibilities that cloning can offer and what happens when it goes horribly wrong. After mafia don Carlo Franconi is murdered, his competitors are the first to fall under suspicion. Franconi’s body mysteriously disappears from the morgue before it can be autopsied and a few days later the same pathologist, Dr. Stapleton comes across an unidentifiable body. What grabs the pathologist’s attention is that the body isn’t missing limbs, but only the liver.

The corpse is soon identified as Franconi’s, and Stapleton’s hunt for the killer and the reason for his disappearance from the morgue lead them to Africa. Here, they make shocking discoveries about procedures that question not only their beliefs but also their medical ethics.

Why You Should Read It:

Robin Cook was a doctor himself, so his ability to write medical thrillers is unparalleled. He is the best-selling author whose work will keep you up at night.

Best Quote:

“The problem was that the MHC was only a small portion of the short arm of chromosome 6. There were large blank areas that represented millions and millions of base pairs and hence hundreds of genes. Kevin did not know what they did.”

9. The Imposter, by Judith Lucci

First Published: 2013

What It’s About:

Alex DeStefano is a hospital lawyer at The Crescent City Medical Center, the housing site for some of the most vicious psychopaths in New Orleans. Criminally insane patients are also housed here. Concerned about the small number of staff and issues surrounding their safety, Alexandra brings on board her ex-husband and a surgeon friend to help combat the sudden onset of disturbing crime against staff and patients. A monster is on the loose in CCMC and Alex needs to find out who is behind the brutal mayhem.

Why You Should Read It:

Lucci’s descriptions of the daily activities of a psych ward are fascinating, and her characters are well-rounded people that you want to root for in their fight against an evil monster. Not only does Lucci hold the reader’s attention, but she shows how police procedures are carried out, how challenging it can be to work with people suffering from mental illnesses, and how a hospital can be brought to its knees by lawsuits.

Best Quote:

“She acknowledged her knowledge of his temper.”

8. Postmortem, by Patricia Cornwell

First Published: 1990

What It’s About:

The heroine of this page-turning medical thriller is a medical examiner, forensics expert Kay Scarpetta. The city where she lives and works, Richmond in Virginia, has been left in shock after a series of horrific murders. The killer prefers to strangle each victim and Kay is called in to investigate the crimes. Highly skilled and with an arsenal of forensic knowledge to help her, Kay uses all methods of investigation to catch this clever killer. However, even her trained eyes find it difficult to pick up on clues when it comes to this elusive killer. The investigation takes a deadly turn when Kay realizes she is not out of danger and may just be the next victim.

Why You Should Read It:

Patricia Cornwell’s work is a fascinating study of forensics. Not only is Postmortem a fast-paced thriller which will leave you on the edge of your seat, but the forensic investigation is described with such detail that it comes as no surprise to find that Cornwell worked for a Chief Medical Examiner herself when writing this novel.

Best Quote:

“The dead have never bothered me. It’s the living that I fear.”

7. Younger, by Suzanne Munshower

First Published: 2015

What It’s About:

After getting fired by a previous client, Anna Wallingham, a public relations expert is fast running out of work options in Los Angeles, a city that waits for no one and where youth is the best point on your CV. Even at fifty plus years, Anna certainly doesn’t feel old and soon meets Pierre Barton. He is a secretive billionaire who offers Anna a dubious-sounding job at his pharmaceutical company. As part of her new role, Anna has agreed to test a mysterious product which is guaranteed to make her appear thirty years younger. Soon Anna looks miraculously ageless but discovers that the person who tested the product before her, died mysteriously.

Her curiosity piqued, Anna decides to find out who exactly is behind this miraculous product. When Pierre suddenly collapses and dies in front of her, Anna is forced to flee across Europe, hoping to stay alive, at least until she finds out the truth.

Why You Should Read It:

Younger is not always better, and this medical thriller shows why. Suzanne Munshower weaves a fascinating tale.

Best Quote:

“American diversity rarely applies to money and success.”

6. Adrenaline, by John Benedict

First Published: 2005

What It’s About:

At the O.R. Mercy Hospital, patients have mysteriously started dying in unexpected circumstances. Anesthesiologist Doug Landry is the focus of attention and the most likely to be suspected for the murders. Doug tries to get to the bottom of the mysterious deaths and while struggling to clear his name, he realizes something disturbing: someone will ruthlessly protect the truth from coming out. Doug feels he could become the next victim and must race against time to prevent further murders.

Why You Should Read It:

From beginning to end, this thrilling story will give you an adrenaline rush. The story will make you think about how much trust is placed in an anesthesiologist’s hands while suspense and intrigue will keep you turning the pages. It is interesting to note that while John Benedict works as an anesthesiologist in real life, his novel will definitely not put you to sleep.

Best Quote:

“Murder is a rush.”

5. Dr Vigilante, by Alberto Hazan

First Published: 2013

What It’s About:

Robert is a doctor at St. Jude’s hospital in the emergency division. By day, he treats victims in the ER – women who have been beaten by abusive husbands, children who have been molested, and rape victims. When night falls, however, Robert is a vigilante, targeting psychopaths who have caused harm to all the victims he treats. Robert begins an affair with a new social worker at the hospital who uncovers his secret identity. Now Roberts must ask himself some difficult questions including whether or not what he was secretly doing all these years was wrong.

Why You Should Read It:

Full of suspense, this thriller is also a love story with plenty of heart. When we see and read about news stories of victims of crimes, it is common to feel contempt for the perpetrator. Through Dr. Vigilante, Hazan brings to life a character that has probably invaded everyone’s subconscious at some point.

Best Quote:

“Despite the unbearable heat and humidity, Robert wore his long sleeve elastane top and his favorite pair of dark polyester pants. He didn’t care that the outfit made him look unarmed and vulnerable to anyone interested in picking a fight. It’ll take them a minute to decide.”

4. The God Complex, by Murray McDonald

First Published: 2013

What It’s About:

After being estranged for fifteen years, Cash Harris finally visits his father for the first time. The meeting goes haywire and Harris finds himself at the center of a plot to destabilize the government. Not only has his father been assassinated, but Harris discovers the shocking truth about the events that took place fifteen years ago. Now, with the help of his ex-fiancée who is also his best friend, Cash Harris must prove his innocence. The duo discovers a truth that will shock all of humanity and relates to the beginning of the human race. When you discover that nothing is as it seems, how do you save the world?

Why You Should Read It:

If you are a fan of conspiracy theories and believe in the possibility of aliens, this book is for you. With several plot twists, it is a thriller which focuses on the survival of mankind, while changing the way you think about the origin of the planet we inhabit.

Best Quote:

“It’s cornerstone foundations have been designed to cope with heat and earthquakes. The mortar used has been analyzed but can’t be replicated. It was encased in limestone. Its sides would have been perfectly smooth and when the sunlight hit would have been dazzling for miles around.”

3. Deadly Messengers, by Susan May

First Published: 2015

What It’s About:

Reporter Kendall Jennings is used to writing meaningless lifestyle pieces for various women’s magazines. All that changes when a horrific attack takes place at a local café. After getting an exclusive interview with the lone survivor, Kendall sees her popularity as a crime-writer soar. The investigating officer at the crime scene believes it’s a straightforward case, an axe-wielding murderer attacked a group of innocent victims. When another, almost identical massacre takes place, detectives can’t understand the close coincidences. When it happens a third time, the detectives finally begin to notice a pattern. Along with Kendall, they are drawn deep into a sinister web of cryptic messages being delivered through these crimes.

Why You Should Read It:

The novel asks the question, ‘does a killer lurk inside all of us?’ You will be surprised at the answer that this thrilling story delivers.

Best Quote:

“It had been years since anybody had wanted to listen again. The world had moved on. They had not.”

2. A Cure for Madness, by Judi McIsaac

First Published: 2016

What It’s About:

Clare Campbell left her family behind when she moved away from her hometown. When she receives the devastating news of her parents’ murder, she is forced to go back once again to her creepy town in Maine to take care of the funeral. Reluctant to return, she goes nonetheless and is also declared the legal guardian to her mentally ill brother, Wes. He suffers from schizophrenia, which causes him to suffer from hallucinations, paranoia and sometimes, violent behavior. While Clare is in town, there is an outbreak of a deadly pathogen, which causes symptoms startlingly similar to those of her brother’s mental illness. When a government agent who is helping combat the pathogen focuses on Clare’s brother, she needs to make some life-changing decisions.

Why You Should Read It:

The combination of medicine and terror is the stuff of nightmares. Save your family or save the world? That is the question this thriller asks while serving a heavy dose of conspiracy theories.

Best Quote:

“There was only numbness, a strange acceptance that this was the way things were.”

1.The Bone Collector, by Jeffery Deaver

First Published: 1997

What It’s About:

A brilliant criminologist Lincoln Rhyme was left physically challenged after a life-changing accident. The event failed to diminish his genius, though. When faced with a new killer, Rhyme finds his skills being challenged. Police detective Amelia Sachs is on Rhyme’s side as he guides her through various crime scenes. The cryptic clues require the finest forensic brain and only Lincoln Rhyme can bring down the vicious killer that is intent on reigning terror on his victims, while toying with Rhyme all along.

Why You Should Read It:

This chilling medical thriller is brilliantly written and the true identity of the killer is a mystery that can only be solved with the help of forensics and good, old-fashioned sleuthing. Deaver knows the ins and outs of forensic pathology, and this deadly game of cat and mouse was also adapted into a movie starring Angelina Jolie and Denzel Washington.

Best Quote:

“We have years to converse with someone, to blurt and rant, to explain our desires and anger and regrets – and oh how we squander those moments.”

Conclusion

Medical thriller is a fascinating genre that combines the study of the criminal mind with the various methods used to bring down a perpetrator. Each of these novels shows how medicine and forensics play a significant role in hunting down deranged killers.

Many of the books have been written by former employees of medicine or crime and so are able to bring a heavy dose of realism to the work. If a thriller with a medical angle is what you’re looking for, these ten books are a must-read.

  • Red

    Thank you, I really like Medical thrillers and really didn’t know a few of these.

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