A Dr. Zol Szabo Medical Mystery

Book - 2009
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In an affluent city perched on Ontario's Niagara Escarpment, residents begin turning up on the pathologist's autopsy table with what looks like epidemic mad cow disease. Zol Szabo, a public-health doctor and former chef, and Hamish Wakefield, a young infectious-diseases specialist, must trace the epidemic to its source while dodging the deadly prions that appear to have contaminated almost everything in the supermarket. Things spin out of control and more lives are threatened when a government-appointed investigator pulls rank, hijacks the investigation, and allows his inflated ego to supersede common sense.

Incidents of contamination of the food supply are featured almost weekly in the news. In Tainted , the clock is ticking to discover the source of the disease before it can spread, while navigating the political minefield of the hospital and the media.

A suspenseful and vexing medical thriller, Tainted comments on the vagaries of modern medicine, and explores the complexities of relationships between men: fathers and sons, colleagues and subordinates, gay men and their lovers.

Tainted is a medical thriller that illustrates the potential disastrous consequences of misplacing our trust in those who manufacture our food and our pharmaceuticals.

Publisher: Toronto : ECW Press, c2009.
ISBN: 9781550228601
Characteristics: 305 p. ; 24 cm.


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sapl3 Apr 09, 2020


How about a summer mystery binge read? Then start turning the pages of Ross Pennie’s novels featuring Dr. Zol Szabo, an epidemic investigator working for the Public Health Dept. in Ontario.

In Tainted, Zol investigates an epidemic of deaths due to a new form of mad cow disease. Pennie gives us a nice change from the regular “police procedurals” with his character of Dr. Zol Szabo and borrows from his personal background as an infectious disease specialist.

May 25, 2015

Our Book Club just reviewed Tainted and rated it average to fairly good. Most of us enjoyed the local geography, and the plot was very clever, but we were unanimous in feeling Dr. Pennie is a better story teller than author. We felt the characters were one-dimensional and the writing was rudimentary.

Great plot line and interesting charachters. Some of the writing lacks subtly, Pennie is a bit heavy handed it descriptions of Zol's habits, insecurities and worries, as though author does not trust the reader to remember Zol likes coffee or has a flair for cooking. More confidence in the reading level of his followers would improve the flow of the story. I'll certainly read more.

Jan 26, 2012

An excellent book! The local references enhanced the enjoyment. Highly recommended!


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