Saturday, May 24, 2014

REVIEW: "Anti-Theist: And This is Why" by Christopher Mallard - (Virtual Book Tour Cafe)

"Anti-Theist: And This Is Why is an introductory look into atheism/anti-theism and uses quotes, scriptures and a dash of humor to help the nonbeliever and believer alike understand what it is to be a person who is against religion. I give the reader a clear understanding of the differences between a theist, deist, atheist, agnostic, and an anti-theist then I discuss numerous topics including the treatment of women in religion, the sheer ridiculousness of the ancient text these belief systems are based on and the charlatans who use it as a weapon to prey on the weak and helpless. 

I realize the term 'Anti-Theist' and the idea of forbidding someone from practicing and teaching a religion sounds so very horrible but you've got to ask yourself the question why. Why would all of us atheist nutbags, and our numbers are growing, want to take God out of your courthouses, off your money, ban it from public practice or display and, heaven forbid, ban you from teaching it to your children? Why would someone want to do that? Read the book and find out. 

If you're a religious person you could see this as a 'Know thy enemy' moment. Study up on us devil worshiping, baby eating anti-theists and see why we think you're the crazy ones. Mmmm baby.
Thank you and enjoy. 

Caution: Grown up concepts and there is a bit of adult language."


ABOUT THE AUTHOR - Christopher Mallard
The majority of my adult life was spent working in the oilfields of west Texas. In my spare time I taught myself how to work on computers and eventually turned it into a small business which I work from home. What does any of this have to do with religion? Nothing. Where are my degrees in theology, biology, astronomy and philosophy? I don’t have any. I am your common average Joe and that’s exactly the type of reader I’m trying to reach. Does it take a degree in theology to open the bible and see the stories told within as being immoral and violent? Can the common man not see how the religions of the world have done and are still doing immeasurable harm to society?


*I received a copy of this book in return for a fair and honest review, which follows.*

Flip through the channels of every-day television, and you are bound to come across a few things: a televangelist, news reports about what someone has done in the name of their "god", reports about the division between church and state, etc.  Religion divides humanity like nothing else on this planet...sadly.   Atheists and anti-theists are at the throats of those who claim a faith in God, and vice versa.  But why?  Do both sides of the argument really understand each other?  Do they want to?

This nonfiction book is an interesting historical, sociological, theological, and comedic-al (yes, I just made up a word) look into the belief structure, implications, and impact of religion and its followers.  Mallard brings readers on a rather funny journey of examining this thing called religion that raises incredibly valid and valuable points, shines a glaring spotlight on atrocities committed (and apparently sanctioned???) in the name of the Abrahamic god, and is something that every Christian/Muslim/Jew should read.  It is challenging, forthright, and honest in its critiques of religion, holding followers - and God, for that matter - to task for those things that happen that are contradictory to the image of a benevolent God.  Among other things, Mallard explores women's issues, social events as influenced by religion, social issues, etc.  Interspersed throughout the work are quotes from the religious texts with which Mallard is wrassling, as well as valuable insights from such individuals as US founding fathers, authors, scientists, etc.  There are some major issues with it, however, that do not stem from the argument itself but rather with style, fact checking, and editing.  

Overall, I give this book a 3 on a 5-point ascending scale.

In the interest of being completely forthright, let me say this upfront - my job title right now is "Qualified Lay Minister".  In my context right now, this means that I'm serving as a pastor at a church in Minnesota.  There, now that this is out of the way, let's get to this book. 

When the email reached my inbox asking me to review this book, it came at a time that I was already swamped with other reviews.  I asked the person in charge if I could have it, and that I would post a review at a later date.  This person graciously agreed, and I just finally read it.  I could not wait to write this review. 

You see, it is a book written by not only an atheist, but an "anti-theist".  In honesty, I'd never heard the term before, but Mallard explains that as an anti-theist, he is someone who doesn't believe in a god and is vehemently opposed to anyone else believing in god/religion either.  Oh boy, I was chomping at the bit to read this!  Why?  Why, as a pastor, would I want to read this book?  Because so many atheists I know (and those I'd probably plunk into the anti-theist category) are so careful around me when I try to engage them in conversations about religion that I never get to the meat of why they do not think God is real.  There is this nervousness around offending a pastor (*gasp!*ohemgee) that has quelched many conversations that I've tried to have.  Not conversations where I was trying to convert anyone, mind you, but conversations trying to understand.  

The blurb of this book assured me that Mallard wasn't going to pull any punches - he'd be completely upfront about what he thinks/believes and why....and I couldn't wait.  

This is a nonfiction book.  In it, Mallard explores such things as miracles, prophets, women's issues, slavery, sex and God, evolution....and much, much more.  He defines many terms that he uses so that little room is left for misunderstanding how he is using politically and socially charged words (which is helpful), and he writes in a way that is approachable by practically anyone (unless, of course, you can't read....but then you wouldn't be reading this post either....unless someone is reading to you).  He pokes fun at religion, and downright shreds the Bible & Quran while showing how the followers of religion have used their god to justify terrible deeds committed against other human beings.  

One of the things I really appreciated about this book is that it is incredibly clear that Mallard has spent time on this.  He isn't just tossing together a hastily drawn document based on snap judgments that are not thought through.  It is exquisitely clear that he has done his research, compiled everything in his head based on what he has read, heard, and experienced, and has come to the conclusion that he thinks is the most true given the evidence presented to him: religion is itself an atrocity against humanity.  

To support this, Mallard looks at how religion has been used against women, slaves, people of other nationalities, neighbors, family members, etc.  He critiques how those who report to be part of a religion treat those around them in their every-day lives. Did that guy really just screw over that other person like that?  But he says he's a Christian...  He also dares to rip into sacred texts and expose contradictions and things that just don't make sense or reconcile well with a god of peace/love.

I'm glad he did. 

Frankly, I wish that more people who believe in God would read this book.  I really, really do.  What Mallard has to say here is hard, but it is not untrue.  Well, most of it.  Of course, what I have read, heard, and experienced tells me that God is real, loving, and just as sick over how people act towards one another in his name as I am every time I watch the news (sorry, Westborough, but you're doing it wrong).  So I disagree with Mallard about that.  What I cannot disagree with him about is how religion has been used as a tool of oppression throughout history.  I cannot disagree with him that the Bible (I'm not familiar with the Quran at all) has gruesome, bloody stories in it that don't make sense, or that the Bible contradicts itself in places (in one Gospel, Jesus heals 1 leper.  In another he heals 10 in apparently the same instance based on timing, geography, who was with him, etc.  WHAT?!).  I cannot disagree with him about how certain stories seem remarkably similar to stories found within the cultures surrounding the Israelites at the time certain texts were written (Enuma Elish, anyone?....seriously - Google the creation story found in the Enuma Elish (a Babylonian document).).  I cannot disagree with him that God and his followers need to be held to task about what has happened in God's name.  

I am not one who supports blind faith.  Mallard isn't either - but he doesn't support faith in God at all.  In fact, he says many times that it should be eradicated, likening such to a disease.  I definitely do not agree with this, but can understand where Mallard is coming from.  I do agree with Mallard, however, that blind faith is often detrimental to not only the one holding it, but also those around that person.  Frankly, I have more respect for an atheist who clearly understands why he or she is an atheist in a way that can be explained logically than for someone who blindly recites words that have little meaning to them other than they learned those words in Sunday School.  I wish more people who adhere to an Abrahamic religion understood their faith as well as Mallard understands his anti-theism.  He knows exactly why he is an anti-theist, and he is passionate about being so.  I may disagree with him completely, but I respect his passion and knowledge about the topic.  And quite frankly, he is right - religion has been use to bully entire peoples into submission and wielded as a power tool since before Christ was born.  I think there is a reason that Jesus railed against the "religious authorities" of his time more so than almost anyone else.  Jesus despises fake, pompous religion as much as Mallard does.  

 Ask questions.  Lots and lots of questions.  Challenge church leaders when their "god" looks an awful lot like them in prejudices and attitudes.  Ask.  Ask.  Ask.  I believe there is a Biblical model for this, but that's a topic for a different post.  

Anyways, Mallard is hard, challenging, and calls people in religions to task for the reality of how religion has been misused.  More people need to hear this and be challenged to be different.

And for the record - the divorce between science and religion irritates the living daylights out of me as well, Mr. Mallard.  That religion has been, and continues to be in places, used to halt scientific advancement is an atrocity.  But I do not think that science negates God.  I'd argue that point, but that would be for a different blog post.  I could write an entire book responding to this one, and just may if enough people ask me to do so.

The Bugly (bad/ugly)
You may have noticed that I've been raving about the book, but I only gave it a 3 of 5.  There are three major reasons for this:

1.  Tone: Mallard raises really good questions and such, but does so in a tone that is so confrontational that I fear those who need to read it the most won't give it the time of day.  I'm afraid he'll end up "preaching to the choir" - most of those who aren't so damn offended by the first 10 pages that they actually continue reading are likely to be anti-theists/atheists as well.  I'll be honest, after I read the first 10-20 pages, I was so infuriated and offended at being called a "nutbag" (among many other things) that I told my husband "I'm not finishing that fu***** book.  He is so damn angry that I can't take it."  Hubby asked if the anger was totally unjustified.  After a huge sigh, my response had to be "No, but he doesn't have to be so flibberting insulting about it."  Now, let's remember that those who are in a faith don't tend to care much if they offend an atheist, so I suppose in a way the confrontational tone is eye-for-an-eye, so to speak.  I just worry that it will prevent people from reading this and taking Mallard seriously.

2.  Fact-checking: While it is clear that Mallard is well-read, and well-researched, there is still a disturbing lack of facts throughout the book.  Example: he says that Jesus goes on and on about slaves in Ephesians.  The problem is that the authorship of Ephesians, including the portion that Mallard references, is usually attributed to Paul (that said, it is one of the contested books that may or may not have been written by Paul).  Jesus didn't say anything about slavery in Ephesians...Paul, or someone writing in Paul's name, did.  Example: Mallard says that no religious texts talk about angels having wings.  The Bible does. At least twice that I can think of off the top of my head (Isaiah 6, Exodus 25).  /grumblegrumble  For someone so interested in truth, I'd think all facts would have been double-checked here, especially since Mallard shows such a good knowledge of the Bible elsewhere.  Also, this entire book needs citations, if for no other reason than Mallard's readers should be able to look at the same source documents that inform's Mallard's work.  If this is going to be taken seriously as credible, it needs a references list.  Perhaps my desire to see this here is an indication of the fact that I'm a bit of a perpetual scholar, but I wanted to look at his sources....and none were listed. 

3.  Editing & Organization:  These might seem like two problems, but they are related.  First, I truly hope that the fact I have a PDF of this book means I got a copy that wasn't fully edited.  There are typos, missing words, run-on sentences, etc peppering this book.  Now, I'm obviously not a grammatical expert (they're found in my work too), but this is a blog.  In a book, these errors need to be weeded out no matter the type of book.  Second, this book is repetitive. repetitive. repetitive.  The same ideas are rehashed in one chapter, and then again in another chapter, then again in another chapter.  It needs to be reorganized in a way that is well-edited and not quite so full of grammatical issues. I'm not saying it should be any less humorous - I love the humor present - but it should be well-crafted.  

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

REVIEW: "A Foolish Plucking" by Dee Wilbur

Yeah, Gary is a womanizer and a boozer, but is he a murderer, too? The police sure think so. True, they don’t have a body, but they do have the big fight between Gary and Alice, his wife, at the country club. And they do have Alice’s blood on the wall behind the bed. And in the shower drain. And in the back of Alice’s Escalade. Unfortunately for Gary, the jury sides with the police and gives him life without parole.

Melissa, Gary’s mistress, brings him another surprise; she is pregnant. She and their daughter move to Richmond, hoping to leave the Scarlet A behind them in Dayton, trading one small Texas town for another. Melissa enlists Jon Miller as attorney to get Gary a new hearing.

Sandy had married Jon without meeting his family. She doesn’t realize that while Jon solves Gary’s problem, she and Jon will struggle with a family crisis involving their sister-in-law.


Beatrice Dee Pipes and Charles Wilbur Yates, Jr. write under the pen name Dee Wilbur, a combination of their middle names. This is their second work of fiction. A Texas native, Dee Pipes grew up in a small Texas town. Her degree from Rice University is a B.A. in English. She currently runs a company that helps other companies with marketing, project management, and other tasks. She has been married to her husband Bryan for thirty years. Also a native Texan, Charles Yates, Jr., was also reared in a small Texas town. He graduated from Rice University in Houston with a B.A. and Ph.D. in Biology. He received the M.D. degree from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas. He has been married to his wife Sally for forty-five years. They have four adult sons and six grandchildren. He now tends his garden in Richmond, Texas.


I received a copy of this book in return for a fair and honest review, which follows.

Prosecuting a murder should be a relatively straight-forward operation: figure out how and when the person was killed, the murder weapon, who was present, etc.  As anyone who watches crime dramas regularly can attest, however, prosecuting a murder is rarely "relatively straight-forward."  But what do you do when the one thing you need to examine for sure is missing....the body?

A fairly quick read, this little book with a plot worthy of Matlock is another installation into the crime series by Dee Wilbur.  Riveting plot, quirky characters, drama drama drama...  A man fights with his wife, passes out drunk on their front porch, and wakes to find himself in the middle of a murder investigation seeking to pin him for the death of his wife.  There's just two major problems - he knows he didn't do it and the body is missing.  Can the legal system really put him in jail for a murder it can only prove on the basis of circumstantial evidence?  Well, read the book and you'll see!  There isn't much for character development when it comes to the main characters, but this is the 3rd book in a series - you can read the first two books for that.  What you will find is an attorney entangled in an interesting legal battle where his womanizer, boozer client may not have actually "dunit" while he and his wife are simultaneously entangled in a difficult familial situation where one woman's extreme mental illness may spell disaster for her husband and children in more ways than one.  There are some editing issues, as well as extremely long dialogue scenes that made my head spin a bit (a stylistic choice that isn't my favorite, but there ya go), but all in all this is a really good book.  Warning: the ending will make you want more!

On an ascending scale of 1 to 5, I rate this book a 3.  

The Good
I love good mystery books, particularly when they leave me lifting my lower mandible up off the floor like this one did.  :P  Seriously, my jaw dropped at something near the end.  Not the major "whodunit" (I kind of figured that was going to be the conclusion), but something else....something that also made me go "Darn you, Dee Wilbur!"  Let's just say there's a smidgeon of a cliff hanger.  

What do we have here?  Well, a guy gets into a major blow-up argument with his wife in front of the social elite in their Texan town during a Valentine's Day get-together at a local country club.  After passing out on the floor of the club, the guy gets a cabbie home and proceeds to pass out on the porch of his house (couldn't do that in MN in Feb - he'd wake up with frosty appendages).  When he wakes up, he finds himself embroiled in a battle with local police and prosecutors as they attempt to put him behind bars for the murder of his wife.  There is one thing the prosecution lacks - a body.  Does this stop them? Nope.  Oh, and to make things infinitely more complicated, the man's mistress announces that she's carrying his child.  Oh boy. 

Can Jon get to the bottom of what is going on with this murder case?  Maybe, but what about when you throw in the fact that he and Sandy are dealing with some family drama of their own?  You see, Jon's brother has a wife who is having difficulty that is negatively impacting her relationship with her husband, their children, and her husband's campaign to keep his judge seat.  Just small things like that.  

Nothing about this book is small, except maybe it's physical size.  Big issues, big problems, big solutions, etc.  I'd make a Texas joke but I'm from Alaska, where everything is bigger.  :P

As in the previous books, the writing is very efficient and straightforward.  Few superfluous words exist.  This is part of why a huge and complicated story fits into a relatively small book.  

Character development progresses fairly well.  I enjoyed picking up Jon and Sandy's story again, particularly as we get to see them grow together a bit since their marriage in the previous book.  It was also good to see how some of the other character progressed (particularly Diego....let's just say he gets himself into a bit of a hilarious pickle).  The new characters are developed just right considering their short stints in the overall story line.  I do wish there was a bit more about the legal secretaries' lives considering how much time was spent on them in the previous book, but there is plenty of time for that.  

The plot itself is fantastic.  I won't lie - I figured out the whodunit fairly early on (I've spent much time with my nose buried in mystery books, there isn't a lot that will surprise me when it comes to whodunit....this is part of the reason I refuse to write such a book), but I thoroughly enjoyed how the story unfolded.  While the ending itself didn't surprise me a whole lot (there are some foreshadowing bits tossed in here and there early on that clued me in to what was going to happen), the journey to get there was full of lots of surprises that kept me riveted.  :)

All in all this is a very "real" book - I could actually see each and every thing here happening (maybe certain characters are a little strong-handed in getting other characters to do something), including all of the things with the legal system.  It is intriguing, riveting, and develops characters well - all in all a pretty good book.

Oh...and just a random note - this book is fairly stand-alone, but less so than the previous two in the series.  It would help to have read the previous two books - at least Justice Perverted.  

The Bugly (bad/ugly)
I'm a tough grader.  I've made noises about teaching writing classes, and my husband's response has been, "those poor students".  When pressed, he'll state that I'm really hard on writing.  He's right!  Keep that in mind as you read this section. 

The reason that I gave this book a 3 instead of a 4 is because several of the problems I point out in the first two books (A Jealous God, Justice Perverted) are present here as well, and are glaring enough that sometimes I found myself too distracted from the amazing plot:

  • Again, there are not enough indicators of "he said BOO" and "she said EEEK".  There are more than in past books in the series, so I didn't get as lost all of the time....but enough that it was distracting, especially because punctuation was not completely consistent and so I couldn't always rely on paragraph indentation to figure out who was talking.  
  • The characters all sound like each other.  Very efficient, no wasted words.  I wouldn't have an issue with this (my husband is one who has a very efficient speech pattern), except that EVERYONE talks that way.  This is part of what made it a little difficult to figure out who was talking...everyone's speech pattern was exactly the same.  
  • Too much dialog, not enough other stuff.  Same as the last book.  This is purely a stylistic preference - I am not a huge fan of a HUGE majority of a fiction book being dialog.  I liked the first few chapters of this book in particular a lot because dialog was well balanced with the rest of the text, but after the scene was set, it was mostly dialog.  Very efficient, clipped dialog.  Part of the reason this bugs me is because this style doesn't leave a lot of space for exploring what is happening inside of characters' heads....which is half of the reason why I read - I like knowing what characters are thinking (I am someone with a background in psychology, after all).
  • Some of the forensic stuff just didn't mesh really well in my head - wouldn't the original forensic people have realized some of what the later forensic person realized?  Wouldn't the same tests have been run?  

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

REVIEW: "His Eye Is On The Sparrow" by Lisa Sparrow (Write Now Lit)

"From the agony of multiple miscarriages to the pain of never feeling love from anyone, Lisa Y. Sparrow reveals the most intimate of details of her life in the hopes that someone is freed from their own prison of mental illness."


Newcomer Lisa Sparrow has endured more pain and loss in her life than anyone should be expected to. With her first book, His Eye is on the Sparrow, she reveals the challenges she has faced in stunning detail. Lisa is a divorced mother of two wonderful children, Lauren and Leon, and currently lives in Columbus, Ohio. She currently works as clerical support for a local lighting company. She’s learned the hard way that if you stay where you are in life, you’ll never reach your full potential. Her journey to self love and acceptance has been a hard fought battle and one she is led by God to share with her readers. With her first autobiography, His Eye is on the Sparrow, Lisa hopes to shed some light on the subject of mental illness in this country and the process of healing. Although this is Lisa’s first project, it certainly will not be her last. She is currently working on a follow up to "His Eye is on the Sparrow", scheduled to be released in 2015.

I received a copy of this book in return for a fair and honest review, which follows:

Mental illness is the dirty little secret swept under the rug and ignored by the vast majority of the world.  As someone who has family members with mental illness, who has done extensive research into the stigma of mental illness (specifically regarding how it affects children), who advocates for children with mental illness and their families, and as one called to stand in the intersection between individuals with mental illness and the Church, this is an issue that is near and dear to my heart.  We like to pretend it doesn't exist, that "those people" are somewhere "over there".  Bull sh**.  Conservative estimates say that 1 in 4 people have a diagnosable condition.  What is it like to live with depression, extreme self-esteem issues, and a family and society that wants to ostracize you for your mental difficulties you cannot control?

Thursday, May 1, 2014

GUEST POST: "Into the Light" by Jennifer Burrow (Reading Addiction Virtual Book Tours)

Psychological conditions, stalkers, and love....oh my!!

After Laney is shot at point blank range, Josh works tirelessly to repair her life threatening internal injuries from the gunshot wounds.  What’s worse is he is forced to inform Laney’s parents about the tragic accident.  Having only just begun a relationship with the woman he knows in his heart he will spend the rest of his life with, he now has to reveal to her parents that a stalker has been tormenting their daughter.  While his only mission is to save Laney’s life, her parents have other plans for their daughter, none of which include Josh.  They are determined to find a new doctor for Laney, and if her parents have their way, she will be taken thousands of miles away from him.

Just when Josh thinks his entire world has been turned completely upside down, he finds his sister Jillian has stopped taking her psychiatric medications and has become a person unfamiliar to him.  Dealing with her psychotic world becomes even more of a shock, leaving Josh in a horrible dilemma.  He is torn between trying to save Laney’s life, keeping her parents from moving her away from him, and providing his sister the attention and help she desperately needs before she has a complete psychotic breakdown.

Will Josh be able to save the love of his life and prevent her parents from taking her away?  Will he be able to help Jillian through her mental illness before it takes over her life?  Will Laney’s relationship with her parents ever be salvaged?  Will Josh and Laney have their happily ever after, or will the hurdles they have to jump through prove to be more than they can handle?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR - Jennifer Burrows

Jennifer is a Registered Nurse, and she holds a Master’s degree in Nursing Administration.  She has 15 years of experience working in the Emergency Room and the Intensive Care Unit of a major trauma center.  While she is equally adept at all facets of patient care, Emergency room nursing is her passion, and is the inspiration for this story and A Shot in the Dark.  Currently, she resides in Southern California with her husband and their three amazing boys.  A Shot in the Dark was her debut novel with Into the Light following as the sequel.

GUEST POST- by Jennifer Burrows
How Do You Keep Your Writing Different?

This is a really great topic. It’s easy to get stuck in a rut with the same writing style. I have few ways in which I mix it up. Many books I’ve read lately are in the first person. It’s usually one character all the way through. Then the author will come out with a sequel of the same story but from the other character’s perspective. It drives me nuts. I’ve already read the story once. I don’t need to read it again. In my latest books, I give perspectives from the main characters. The chapters will rotate back and for between the two or three characters. The flow remains constant and there isn’t a lot of review. I think my readers build a better connection to the characters and when the story is done, they feel satisfied.

I also tend to read books in between writing. I’ll pick out things from other authors I like and want to incorporate into my own writing. Lately, I’ve been working on my showing vs. telling. A great author for this is K.Bromberg. She provides so much detail; you can’t help but get a clear picture.

Travel. I recently traveled to Italy. I learned some interesting facts which I incorporated into a new book entitled Surrender (release date TBD). The book is based in Italy but some of the characters are American. It is a huge change for A Shot in the Dark and Into the Light. It was fun traveling to a new country and then being able to write about it. Plus, it’s a tax write off once the book is published. Yay!

Join a writing group. These people are amazing. You get together every so often and brainstorm ideas, talk about writing, share experiences. There is so much to learn and incorporate into your own style.

Perhaps the most important thing is have fun. Don’t force the story to come to you. Think about it. Mull it around in your mind for a few days. That’s is when my best writing comes.  

Dr. Josh Stone stood helpless as Laney, seemingly in slow motion, fell to the floor. The thud as her body hit the tiles shot goose bumps through his flesh. For a brief moment he was paralyzed. His girlfriend, also a trauma nurse-had been shot by the patient they had been taking care of. The sight of the man sitting up and grabbing Officer Miller’s gun from his holster replayed in Josh’s brain. The man pointed it at Laney and shot her several times before anyone was able to subdue him. Now, Josh stood helplessly as she lay motionless on the floor. How could this happen in his trauma room? How could he let this happen to Laney? His knees seemed to buckle as he sank to Laney’s side, stethoscope dangling from his neck.
Laney’s curly blonde hair covered much of her face, but it was clear she was unconscious. Josh gently shook her hoping for the slightest response. There was none. She had been shot in the chest.
Someone shrieked. One of the ER nurses, Dinah’s eyes were wide, both hands covered her mouth. She pointed to the floor. A puddle of blood oozed from under Laney. The metallic aroma wrinkled his nose.
Josh fought the anger raging inside him. He wanted to make the son-of-a-bitch who shot Laney pay for hurting her.
For now, let the cops handle it. Josh took a deep breath and struggled to regain his composure, but failed miserably.
My God! Laney! How could this happen?” His face was hot. He swiped at it with his blood soaked hands and realized he was crying.
Dr. Stone. Dr. Stone!”
Josh looked up. Dinah’s lips were moving, but her words weren’t computing. A couple of techs and nurses eased Laney from his arms. Not only did he feel the emptiness, it plagued his heart and his soul.
Josh helped lift Laney onto a gurney. Dinah placed her hand on his shoulder. “You need to help her. She needs you now more than ever.”
Dinah put her cold hands on Josh’s flushed face. “Dr. Stone, I know you’re in shock, but you need to focus. You’re the only one who can save her.”
Josh turned his head, causing the frigid hands to fall from his face. He rubbed his swollen eyes and surveyed the room. The devastation was beyond words. Officer Miller had the man who shot Laney subdued in handcuffs. He lay on the table with his disheveled hair covering his face. Someone must have given him a sedative because he wasn’t moving. Equipment had been knocked over, and supplies thrown everywhere. Josh’s heart rate sped up as he cast his eyes down at the pool of blood surrounding his feet.
Where is she?”
They’ve taken her to the O.R to get her prepped. You need to get down there right now. Dr. Nessler is coming in to finish up with this guy.”
Josh darted out of the room with an urgency he never felt before. Each step he took, his pace quickened until he was in a full sprint to the O.R.

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