The Queen of all Poisons

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Quite likely the most uniquely-textured female heroine one is likely to meet between the pages, Dr Lily Robinson is a rare treat. A brilliant and beautiful pathologist and toxicologist, Dr Lily is one smart cookie – albeit one who is also deeply morally conflicted and suffering from a buried trauma, which is gradually surfacing under the care of her therapist, and oh yes, – Dr Lily is also a trained and deadly U.S. government assassin.

Written by a real life doctor, herself a pathologist and toxicologist, this book is the first in a series that will be reviewed in its entirety here (to the delight of this reader). In this edition, we are introduced to the crazily-complex world of Dr Lily (past and present), as well as an eclectic assortment of colleagues, enemies, patients, and others – a tantalizing collection of mysterious and ambiguous characters who may or may not connect in ways yet to be resolved in the pages of this madcap collage which defies categorization and can best be described as a thriller/spy novel/ mystery, marvelously informed by medical science (with extensive references).

In love with the enigma that is the handsome dark-haired JP, (her colleague in government espionage work), Dr Lily is a stiletto-loving, stylishly sleek mentor to the young, (to whom she lectures in her Professorial role), diagnosing terrible and elusive toxin-based illnesses (in her capacity as a physician), while doing her part to serve her government (secretly and with great finesse) in the insidious and creepily-advancing war on terrorism.

As to just who, exactly, in this war are the good guys, and who are they battling, well, it’s up to the reader to weigh in on that one. In a fictionalized world (not too distinct perhaps, from the one we inhabit) where globally-manufactured weaponized-poisons proliferate, terrifyingly, as governments, on all sides of the globe, coerce conflicted citizens into conscripted murder, and collateral damage, amongst the innocent and unsuspecting public, is a given – Dr Lily’s plight may not be the most morally-unsettling quandary we, (the reader) face, after all.

Rich with detail, layered with fascinating and shadowy characterizations, (many only intriguingly partially-exposed), intertwined in a multi-layered plot so devilishly complex that one’s head is guaranteed to spin, this is a book that will delight as it befuddles, entertain as it chills, educating the medically-fascinated reader, and even raising a chuckle or two as our sardonically-savvy “poison expert in high heels” rolls up her metaphorical sleeves and takes care of business.

Highly recommended, this book is a delight for lovers of the unusual, champions of strong (yet flawed) female protagonists, and those of us (I know you’re out there) who will warm to any book which features three-inch suede stilettos. What a treat to know there are two more books to read in this series.

A great big thank you to the author @bj_magnani for an ARC of this book. All thoughts presented are my own.


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