Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
I had to pick this book to review just for the title. I love books with medical characters, or medical settings. The book was well researched (although I disagree to some extent with how conservatively the author interpreted the ethics of doctor/patient romantic involvement) and well written. The conflicts were plausible, as were the resolutions. I just never really connected to either of the characters as much as I would have liked.
What was interesting in this book is that it’s a little bit of a coming out story for both Paul and Zane. Paul is a 39 year old ER physician who has been struggling with his sexuality for years, mainly by living in denial. He got divorced and came out as a gay man at the hospital where he worked, but his lone attempt at trying to date was disastrous. He was awkward, insecure, and his attraction to younger men made him feel like a creeper. When Zane came through the ER after a severe beating from his mother’s homophobic boyfriend, Paul found himself unable to stop thinking about him.
Zane has his own scars – physically and mentally – from coming out. He was rejected by his father before the beating, and although he had friends providing support and a place to live, he was still feeling pretty adrift. Paul showed up unexpectedly, and was just what Zane needed to get him out of the funk he fell in to after the assault. The two men complemented each other – in his professional life Paul was mature and sure of himself as you would expect from a 39 year old, but inexperienced and hesitant when it came to dating and living as a gay man. Zane was impulsive and temperamental, with little thought to consequences of his actions as you would expect from a young college student, but he was much more comfortable with being gay, and flirted confidently. They both had the possibility of being exactly what the other needed, if they could get past some real obstacles. Paul was suspended from his job due to a complaint about professional misconduct, and that created a whole host of current and potential future problems.
I was a little frustrated several times because I felt there was some back story that wasn’t explained as well as it should have been. For instance, how did Zane end up living with his professor after the beating? Why was Gage so antagonistic towards Paul? Why did the person bring the complaint against Paul? I found out what that was all about in the author’s note at the end of the book – although Bedside Manner is the first book in a series, it is a spin-off of a book in a previous series by this author (Heart Trouble) which told Gage and Ben’s story prior to the events of this book, and I am sure would have filled up all of the holes that I noticed. So that was a little annoying. I’m sure if I had read the earlier books that I would have connected to the characters much better. So maybe I’ll have to go back and read the others…
Cover art by Lucas Soltow fits pretty well with what I imagined Zane would look like.
ebook, 241 pages
Published March 7th 2017 by DJ Jamison at KDP
SeriesHearts & Health #1