Education: B.A. – Harvard, Boston, Massachusetts
M.D. – Stony Brook Medical School, Stony Brook, New York
Thriller Sub-genre: Medical Thriller
The Simon Review
I will remember that I remain a member of society, with special obligations to all my fellow human beings, those sound of mind and body as well as the infirm. —Written in 1964 by Louis Lasagna, Academic Dean of the School of Medicine at Tufts University
The above line is from the modern day version of the Hippocratic Oath which can be summarized as ‘do no harm’. Alberto Hazan’s lead character in his Dr. Vigilante series must have mumbled this line when he took the oath because after working at his job at St. Jude’s Hospital helping the sick, he is combing the streets of New York City to give a tough lesson to the sexual predators that inhabit the Big Apple. Dr. Vigilante is not just any ole vigilante but more like superman with a white cape. He is a gun toting ninja and an expert in the martial arts, who knows how to wield a scalpel. Normally, I’m not one to like doctors that beat up people but you can’t help but like this character.
The series begins with Dr. Vigilante, who is only referred to as Robert, making a visit to the husband of one of his patients after he has beaten her. Let’s just say he wasn’t there to chat with him over a cup of coffee. Part of the fun in the first book is trying to figure out which doctor is the vigilante, so not to spoil the fun, I will only refer to him as Robert. Robert’s life up to this point is saving his patients and beating up those that may have put them there until along comes Sharon Reede. Reede is a social worker from the Midwest that wants to get experience at a big city hospital. Robert reluctantly becomes enamored with her which puts a damper on his fun time with the psychopaths of New York City. She eventually figures out that he is the vigilante but that doesn’t stop her from falling for him as well. Robert’s extracurricular activities in the first book eventually results in him having to leave the country and leave Sharon behind, at least temporarily, which leads to the second book in the series, Dr. Vigilante II.
In the second book, Robert escapes to Guatemala where he had originally done a stint there with Doctors Without Borders. There he meets up with his mentor, Guillermo Martinez, who had taught Robert all the skills that he needed to be the great vigilante that he had become. So instead of going after psychopaths, Robert gets to use his skills on the drug lords of Guatemala. At the end of the book, Robert finds out that Sharon Reede has been kidnapped by the ultimate psychopath who is referred to as ‘The Owl’ which leads us to the third novel in the series, Dr. Vigilante III.
The third and last book in the series is the most difficult for Robert. Robert can deal with the consequences of being physically assaulted over and over again, but when the attacks are psychological, Robert is at his most vulnerable. If threatening to torture and kill Sharon Reede isn’t enough, The Owl demonstrates to Robert that his vigilantism has repercussions which makes Robert reevaluate the person that he has become. I felt that this was the best in the series mainly because The Owl was not who I expected and the ending was very exciting.
Hazan wrote this series to bring awareness to sexual assault cases and the fact that many assaults do not result in any kind of justice. The second book in the series also highlights the conditions in Guatemala which has relevance to today’s issues with refugees at our southern border and to why they may be there. The series is very action packed and gives a rather realistic view of life in a big city hospital emergency room. If you love medical thrillers then this definitely should be put on your must-read-list. Even though Hazan wrote this series as a trilogy, the books could be read as a standalone.
Most Favorite Novel in the Series- Dr. Vigilante III- because it is a good who-done-it, with an exciting ending
Least Favorite Novel in the Series- Dr. Vigilante II- because Robert seem to be too much of a superhero, I was almost expecting laser beams to come out of his eyes
What about the science? Dr. Hazan specializes in emergency medicine, so it is a reasonable assumption that he knows his stuff.
The Dr. Vigilante Technical Word in Review: Thiamine- also known as vitamin B1, and like all of the B vitamins it is essential in the metabolism of the cell, specifically the breakdown of sugars and fatty acids to produce energy. We are incapable of synthesizing thiamine, so we have to get it from out diet. In general, a well-rounded diet will provide enough thiamine to meet our needs. However, diets high in processed foods may result in thiamine deficiencies. Problems with dietary uptake from the gut can result in thiamine deficiencies which can be as a result of aging, alcohol abuse, diabetes, and other disorders. Deficiencies can result in severe consequences particularly to the brain and can even result in death.
The patient would be admitted for observation. He would spend a few days in the hospital for further testing, which would include an MRI of the brain and an ultrasound of his carotid arteries. In all, the patient would rack up a fifty-thousand dollar bill, even though all he needed was a liter of IV fluids, 100 milligrams of thiamine, and some time to sober up. – Dr. Vigilante I
Chronic alcohol abuse often results in thiamine deficiency as alcoholics usually are malnourished and have alcohol damage to their gastrointestinal tract preventing appropriate uptake. Alcoholics often develop neurological problems known as Korsakoff Syndrome which results in memory deficiencies. In severe cases, alcoholics will also develop Wernike encephalopathy with the first symptoms being confusion, imbalance, and difficulties in eye movement control. Later symptoms can result in heart dysfunctionalities, hypothermia, and can eventually result in coma and death. So just remember, TAKE YOUR VITAMINS!
Books in the Series by Order:
Most Favorite in the series: Dr. Vigilante III with a score of 4.41
Least Favorite in the series: Dr. Vigilante I with a score of 4.13
Based on overall ratings from Goodreads, Library Thing and Amazon (US & UK)
Robert spotted the two men as they turned the corner.
Sharon Reede: Social worker
Dr. McKenzie: Lead ER resident
Dr. Donahoe: Chief surgical resident
Dr. Sanchez: Senior ER resident
Dr. Weiss: Director of the Emergency department
Detective Macy: Female Detective involved in the vigilante case
Detective Landers: Male Detective involved in the vigilante case
New York City
Doctor by day.
Vigilante by night.
Robert lives a double life in New York City. He spends his days treating patients at the St. Jude’s Hospital ER and his nights going after the psychopaths who wrong them: the child molesters, wife beaters, and rapists. But when the fiery, beautiful new social worker discovers his secret identity and their love affair takes off, Robert is forced to face some hard questions:
Do the ends justify the means?
After years of hunting down psychopaths, is Robert turning into one himself?
An action thriller with strong, distinct characters, filled with suspense and surprise, Dr. Vigilante is also a love story unfolding amid the turmoil and drama of a busy ER.
Looking for a review of Dr. Vigilante? Check out:
Amazon Rating-US: 4.34 out of 5 stars based on 549 ratings
Amazon Rating-UK: 4.19 out of 5 stars based on 65 ratings
GoodReads Rating: 4.07 out of 5 stars based on 1,897 ratings
Library Thing Rating: 3.17 out of 5 stars based on 3 ratings
Total Score 4.13
Sounds travels well in the humid air of the Guatemalan rainforest.
Sharon Reede, Dr. McKenzie, and Dr. Weiss
Guillermo Martinez: Robert’s mentor and freedom fighter
Flying from the wilds of Manhattan.
Caught in the web of the Amazon.
Robert returns to Guatemala to find horrors raping its jungles.
He and his mentor Guillermo, freedom fighter and medicine man, go on the warpath against drug lords who’ve been ransacking villages, kidnapping young men and women.
For the sex trade?
Or for something worse?
They soon learn that something from hell has moved into the sacred Mayan ruins at Kundal.
As Robert plunges like an arrow into the heart of this darkness, he must also diagnose a mysterious coma in order to save his friend, and fight his fierce desire to return to New York and Sharon Reede, the love of his life.
Amazon Rating-US: 4.68 out of 5 stars based on 56 ratings
Amazon Rating-UK: 4.89 out of 5 stars based on 9 ratings
GoodReads Rating: 4.25 out of 5 stars based on 312 ratings
Library Thing Rating: not rated
Total Score 4.33
Well after midnight, a yellowish glow still lit the cloudy April sky over New York City.
Sharon Reede, Dr. McKenzie, Dr. Sanchez, Detective Macy, Detective Landers, and Dr. Weiss
New York City
Wanted by the NYPD for assaulting police officers.
Wanted by his lover for rescue from a fiend.
Robert has been sent a personal message by the Owl, a serial-rapist who has been torture-killing women in New York City for months:
“Find me in 72 hours or I rape-kill Sharon in the most viral video ever.”
The clock is ticking.
The cops are breathing down his neck.
Karma is the new vigilante in the final novel of the Dr. Vigilante trilogy.
Amazon Rating-US: 4.69 out of 5 stars based on 45 ratings
Amazon Rating-UK: 4.82 out of 5 stars based on 11 ratings
GoodReads Rating: 4.34 out of 5 stars based on 251 ratings
Library Thing Rating: not rated
Total Score 4.41