Oh, and the author grew up in one of the places I desperately want to visit. Italy!!
Don't forget to scroll all the way to the bottom of this post...you don't want to miss the giveaway!!
"Dr. Lloyd Copeland is a young neurologist who is tormented by the conviction that he has inherited the severe, early-onset dementia that has plagued his family for generations – the very disease which spurred his father to take his own life when Lloyd was just a child. Withdrawn to a life of emotional detachment, he looks for solace in hollow sexual trysts as a way to escape his throbbing loneliness. Still, he clings to the hope that the highly controversial treatment for memory loss he’s been researching will free him from his family’s curse.
But when odd mishaps take place in his laboratory, his research is blocked by a hospital review board headed by Erin Kennedy: a beautiful medical ethicist with a link to his troubled childhood. The fight to salvage his reputation and recover the hope for his own cure brings him face to face with sordid secrets that rock his very self-identity. And to make matters worse, he finds himself falling irretrievably in love with the very woman who seems intent on thwarting his efforts."
Genre: fiction: medical (medical suspense)
Release date: June 2013
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Peter Palmieri was raised in the eclectic port city of Trieste, Italy. He returned to the United States at the age of 14 with just a suitcase and an acoustic guitar. After attending public high school in San Diego, California, he earned his bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Animal Physiology from the University of California, San Diego. He received his medical degree from Loyola University Stritch School of Medicine and completed his pediatric training at the University of Chicago and Loyola University Medical Center. More recently, he was awarded a Healthcare MBA by The George Washington University. A former student of Robert McKee's Story seminar and the SMU Writer's Path program, and a two-time attendee of the SEAK Medical Fiction seminar taught by Tess Gerritsen and Michael Palmer, Peter is now busy practicing general pediatrics at a large academic medical center while working on his next medical suspense.
EXCERPT“Isn’t it a sin to have some thoughts, Father Roy?” Mrs. Langdon said in a near whisper.
Father Roy was breathless. “About tulips?” he asked, attempting to sound nonchalant, but his voice quivered.
“As a man, do you ever feel the urge to –”
“I am not the one in confession, sister,” Roy said. It was not the first time someone had tried to ask him that question – a query impertinent souls seemed compelled to ask a young priest with the looks of a Hollywood movie star.
“I’m so ashamed, Father. I don’t know what’s happened to me. I just don’t know what to do any more.”
Father Roy grasped the silver crucifix hanging over his chest and rubbed it between thumb and forefinger. He considered giving a short discourse on the tenth commandment but decided on a more pragmatic approach.
“When our path grows dim and we’re in peril of losing our way, it’s helpful to remind ourselves of our commitments. Our commitments define who we are. When I step in the shadows, I remind myself of the covenant I made with God.”
“My husband sickens me.”
The suddenness of the statement left Father Roy speechless.
“We haven’t had sex in over six months,” she said. “I wanted you to know that.”
“The Diocese offers couple’s therapy for marital conflicts. Perhaps –”
“Couple’s therapy!” Mrs. Langdon said with a sour chuckle. She shook her head. “I’m such a fool. For some reason I was under the impression that we…” She pulled a crumpled handkerchief out of her handbag, dabbed her nose and sniffled. “Tell me my penance, Father.”
Roy hesitated. “Your penance is to reflect on the holy sacraments of our church. And… say a rosary.”
“Am I absolved of my sins?”
Father Roy made the sign of the cross, trying not to make it appear perfunctory and said, “Go in peace, sister.”
He listened to the clicking of her heels resonating off the church’s tiled floor as she walked away, brought a knuckle to his lips and inhaled deeply through his nose. How was it that he had still not learned to recognize when women were attracted to him? Was he doing something to garner this type of attention? Could he whole-heartedly deny that he enjoyed it?
A figure entered the confessional and sat heavily on the wooden bench. “Forgive me father, for I’m about to sin.”
The musty smell of stale beer and sweat permeated the enclosed space making Father Roy sit back and turn away.
“How long has it been since –”
“You know damn well the last time I went to church, Roy.”
“Andrew?” Father Roy studied the silhouette through the perforated partition. “Is something wrong?”
“It started, Roy.”
“It has begun. How did Churchill phrase it? Not the end of the beginning but the beginning of the end… or maybe I’m saying it all wrong. I don’t know, you’re the one with the fancy schooling.”
“Maybe we should go in the Parish office.”
“It’s been going on for months. I know you’ve seen it too. You just didn’t want to say anything and of course I’ve been trying to hide it. That’s the Copeland family way, isn’t it? Ignore things, deny they’re happening, hide all the evidence and go about your business with a stiff upper lip. Isn’t that what Pops did?”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.” But he did know. He couldn’t deny that in the last year he had witnessed his brother’s worsening mood swings and those barely perceptible moments of hesitation that were becoming more frequent. Those same tell-tale signs he had witnessed in his father when the illness had yet to progress to its extreme. Signs that made Roy feel powerless, like a sandcastle on a beach in the face of a slowly rising tide. So he ignored it all, said nothing, and prayed.
“At first I thought I was just overworked, you know,” Andrew said. “Pulling overtime, staying out late with the boys, getting burned by the candle at both ends, so to speak. Then this morning, I’m driving to work. I got my thermos and lunch pail on the front seat. I get on the Eisenhower, same damn route I’ve taken for twelve years. But today I get to South Damen and I realize I don’t know where the hell I’m going. I don’t have a fucking clue!”
He lowered his voice. “I don’t have a flipping clue, Roy. I pull over in front of Cook County and I start bawling like a kid in a department store who can’t find his mom.”
“Have you been drinking?”
“It’s not the booze, Roy. It’s not the damn booze.”
“Have you seen a doctor?” the priest asked.
“They might be able to help.”
“Like they helped our father... who art in heaven?” Andrew snorted. “You know there’s not a damn thing they can do.”
Roy swallowed hard. He wiped beads of sweat from his upper lip as a rhythmic pounding grew in his temples.
“You’re frightening me, Andrew.”
“I’m frightening you?” Andrew let out a chuckle. “Hell, Roy, you never had nothing to be frightened of your whole life except God above.”
Someone knocked on the door of the confession box.
“Hold your piss out there! The stall’s taken,” Andrew said in a gruff voice. There was a timid shuffling of feet, then the resonating silence of the church. “Roy, I’ve never been good with words, and I don’t like to wear my feelings on my sleeve like a damn chevron, but I want you to know something. I want you to know that you’re the best damn brother I could have ever asked for.”
Roy felt a pall of guilt draping over him. “I’m the one who should say that to you.”
“Just hear me out. I know I haven’t always told you, but I’m proud of you. I’ve always been proud of you... even when you made us lose at stick-ball.”
“Which was all the time.” The men chuckled.
“You made me a better man,” Andrew said.
“After all you’ve done for me I can’t bear to hear you say that.”
“I thought this was a confessional. Don’t people come here to get things off their chests?”
“They come to be absolved of their sins,” Roy said.
“And you can do that?”
“God can do that. It’s never too late to open your heart.”
“It’s too late for me. But I do need to get something off my chest.”
“It’s time to come clean with you about something, Roy. Something you should have known long ago.” Andrew rubbed his massive hands together, stopped suddenly and cracked his knuckles. “Two things we Copelands have always been able to do: hold our liquor and keep a secret.”
“I’m afraid I’m not so good with the liquor part,” said Roy.
“No, I suppose not, padre,” Andrew said with a wistful smile. The wooden bench creaked as he shifted his weight and leaned into the partition. “Now listen carefully. I can only stand to say this once.”
The two men sat with their heads inches from each other as Andrew spoke in a hushed tone. At one point Roy let out a gasp and recoiled. Andrew paused as his brother gazed at the darkness hanging over the floor – the priest’s eyes darting about – and resumed his soliloquy when Roy leaned heavily towards him again.
Andrew murmured for another minute or two. Finally, he straightened and wiped his mouth with the back of his hand as if to brush away the bitterness of the words from his lips. “Just promise, if something happens to me, you’ll take care of the bride and child.”
“What’s going through your mind?” Roy said between heavy breaths.
“Just promise me.”
“You know I would never abandon them.”
“That’s all I needed to hear.” Andrew cleared his throat and sat silently.
Roy felt as though he were inching towards the edge of an abyss. That he would fall into the darkness if left alone to ponder his brother’s revelation. But an even stronger fear was pulsing through his veins. There was something in Andrew’s countenance: an eerie sense of relief, a cool resoluteness that sent a shudder down the base of Roy’s neck.
“Maybe I can come by the house tonight,” Roy said. He wanted to punch through the partition, to clench his brother and not let him leave.
“You got customers waiting,” Andrew said. “Business is good for you these days.” Andrew got to his feet. “Good-bye, Roy.”
When Andrew opened the oak door of the confession box, a small man wearing a tweed jacket stood outside, a crest of wild gray hair spilling over his wrinkled forehead. The man’s eyes opened wide at the site of the large police officer stepping out of the confessional and he began to finger the well-worn fedora he held by his paunch, turning it in his hands as if it were a steering wheel. Andrew stopped in front of him and said, “Give a man a chance to pull his pants back up, will you?”
Roy greeted the next penitent in the confessional but his mind remained on his brother. How was it possible to feel such dread and deliverance, contempt and gratitude, guilt and utter relief all in the same breath? He had witnessed souls under severe strain shift from throes of laughter to sobs of despair in the span of a few seconds and always wondered how this was possible. But now he understood. He rested his head in his hands, elbows digging in his thighs, and tried to catch his breath.
A sound like a hollow crack startled him. Not the sound of a kneeler. It must have come from outside. It brought his focus back on the words of the old gentleman who confessed that he lied to his wife about going to Cicero and losing fifty bucks at the Hawthorne race course, and that he harbored less than charitable feelings towards the Negroes who were moving westward into good Irish neighborhoods.
The murmur of voices reverberated off the church’s arched ceilings. Then a single plaintive voice: “Someone call an ambulance. A cop’s been shot!”
Now seriously people, how can one NOT want to read the whole book after this excerpt?!
And for the giveaway......
Giveaway: Signed Paperback & Bookmark Prize Pack, 3 Ebooks, 2 Bookmarks