Friday 9 September 2022

BLOG TOUR: Sometimes People Die - Simon Stephenson

The year is 1999. Returning to practice after a suspension for stealing opioids, a young Scottish doctor takes the only job he can find: a post as a senior house officer in the struggling east London hospital of St Luke’s.

Amid the maelstrom of sick patients, over-worked staff and underfunded wards a darker secret soon declares itself: too many patients are dying.

Which of the medical professionals our protagonist has encountered is behind the murders?

What did I think?

Oh my goodness what a heartbreaking, emotional and completely addictive read this is.   I wasn't sure whether I was reading a memoir or a thriller at first as it feels so true to life, and perhaps some of the stories are true as the author trained as a doctor, but it's a cracking whodunnit thriller.  

The protagonist is unnamed and their story of working in the NHS is mirrored by thousands of trainee medical staff in real life.  It's almost like all NHS hospitals should have a sign on the staffroom: leave your life at the door.  The stress, the long hours, the lack of sleep and the pressure is so difficult for a layperson to imagine but I was definitely aware of it whilst I was reading this brilliant book. 

It does read like a memoir at first but a serial killer in their midst and a police investigation add an extra dimension to the story.  The prose is also interspersed with true stories of medical serial killers (some I had heard of, others I hadn't) which are not only fascinating but also make you feel as if you're reading a true story.

I didn't realise how emotionally invested I was in the book until I found myself crying at a particularly upsetting and shocking scene.  It made me think of a moment in Grey's Anatomy that also brought on the tears (and it has nothing to do with McDreamy).  I can't say any more as it will spoil the story but it is heartbreaking.

Drug addiction is a large part of the story and instead of being shocked and appalled, I could almost understand why people turn to drugs, if only to turn their brain off and seek an escape.  

I haven't even mentioned the serial killer plot, which is absolutely brilliant in its own right.  How everything fits together like the pieces of a jigsaw is simply breathtaking.  Now that's what i call 'plotted to perfection'.  

I really loved Sometimes People Die; it's highly original, completely addictive, perfectly plotted and utterly heartbreaking.  A very highly recommended read.

I received an ARC to read and review for the blog tour and this is my honest and unbiased opinion.

My rating:

Buy it from:

About the author:

Simon Stephenson originally trained as a doctor and worked in Scotland and London. He previously wrote Let Not the Waves of the Sea, a memoir about the loss of his brother in the Indian ocean tsunami. It won Best First Book at the Scottish Book Awards, was a Book of the Week on BBC Radio 4, and a Daily Telegraph Book of the Year.

His first novel, Set My Heart to Five was a Bookseller Book of the Month and was described by the Daily Mail as ‘Funny, original and thought-provoking.’ It has been optioned by Working Title Films to be directed by Edgar Wright from Stephenson’s screenplay.

He currently lives in Los Angeles, in a house where a famous murder took place. As a screenwriter, he originated and wrote the Benedict Cumberbatch starrer The Electrical Life of Louis Wain and wrote the story for Pixar’s Luca. He also contributed to everybody’s favourite film, Paddington 2.

Follow the tour:

No comments:

Post a Comment