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A Swarm in May
Dr. Phineas Mann has come a long way from the darkness in his past. He has a loving wife, two bright children, a lively interest in beekeeping, and a rewarding career in intensive care medicine. And then a challenging case presents: an elderly man in the throes of full-blown tetanus. To make a difficult case worse, the patient’s openly racist son abuses and threatens his father’s medical team, especially the Black intern. When inexplicable setbacks occur, the son’s threats escalate, and the darkness from Phineas’ past comes roaring into the present.
Plot/Idea: 8 out of 10
Originality: 10 out of 10
Prose: 9 out of 10
Character/Execution: 10 out of 10
Overall: 9.25 out of 10


Plot: The plot here is solid and intriguing, but the author attempts to weave in too many storylines and the focus becomes unclear. From the wide cast of characters to Phineas's home life, bee tending, and gardening, there are too many narratives to keep straight.

Prose/Style: The author is a strong writer and is able to convey medical diagnoses and terminology not only in a simplified manner, but also in a way to keep the reader interested.

Originality: The author puts forth an entertaining and original storyline with distinct characters and situations.

Character Development/Execution: The author does an exceptional job with his protagonist, offering insight into Phineas's thoughts from the first sentence. Peripheral characters are also well-developed.

Date Submitted: June 10, 2021