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A mysterious blue patient is abandoned at Oakland City Hospital and cries out for her young daughter before passing out. Doctor Nora Kelly must struggle against the clock to diagnose her patient’s life-threatening illness and mysterious discoloration. The task becomes more difficult when the patient awakens but refuses to speak with anyone on staff, fearing reprisals from immigration and child-protection authorities.
Nora suspects that her patient’s illness is caused by exposure to toxic chemicals, and she worries that others in the community may be endangered as well. But the patient remains silent. Only after learning that Nora saved her life does she agree to answer Nora’s burning questions—still, for a price. In return, Nora must deliver a confidential message to her daughter.
Nora’s end of that bargain is the beginning of a perilous journey that leads to a homeless encampment at a decrepit local stadium site. With the help of her colleagues, she desperately searches for the daughter as she also discovers that other encampment residents have succumbed to toxic exposures. Her insistent attempts to prove the site’s environmental contamination come up against powerful systemic forces and trigger dangerous personal consequences.
From Blue Ink Review: “Scannell excels at characterization, bringing a vibrancy to individuals from a wide range of backgrounds, from debutantes to homeless individuals. … The plot is taut and engaging, moving adroitly among a plethora of locations throughout Oakland and revealing both its troubling facets and engaging quirks. … Lethal Control will appeal to mystery fans, as well as those of an activist bent.”