Right off the bat, Purpura sets the scene of a typical day at the hospital, and establishes, with telling detail and crisp prose, the dynamics of its various constituents, from doctors to nurses to patients. But within the first few pages, the story shifts from what seems a typical hospital drama, to something more thrilling. The medical material is convincing, of course, but Purpura’s descriptions of the tradework, attitudes, and shoptalk of the CIA, FBI, and international outfits like Al Qaeda also ring true, suggesting a gritty, messy reality.
That verisimilitude helps sell some plot twists that might strain credulity, especially when several come in quick succession, not always leaving readers time to recover from one jolt before the next. Still, Purpura’s inviting voice, witty characters, persuasive milieu, and fast-moving—even hurtling—plot ensure readers are hooked till the very end. Despite the global conflicts at its heart, Code Crisis is often funny, even charming, with asides about the misery of cooking for one or the possibility that the government “must have some hidden kick-ass woman factory near Quantico and Langley.” That doesn’t slow the action or suspense, though. Lovers of fast-paced thrillers will look forward to more from Purpura.
Takeaway: This action-packed thriller debut pits a doctor and a CIA agent against a terrorist plot.
Great for fans of: Daniel Kalla, Peter Palmieri’s Blood Moon.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A-