FIRST, DO NO HARM
Martin Firestone can't figure it. He knew his father,
celebrity painter Leo Firestone, had a short fuse, but when he told
Leo he'd been accepted to medical school, the old man threw a record
tantrum. Just exploded.
Once Leo has calmed a bit, he tells Martin a story about his own
father, Samuel, a legendary doctor in the small city of Hobart, NJ,
but a man with some impressive moral and ethical flaws. During
the summer of 1943, at the age of sixteen, Leo worked as his
father's extern, during which time he witnessed a good deal of
questionable behavior. Supplying heroin to an addict,
trafficking in black-market pharmaceuticals, performing illegal
abortions, selling newborn babies to desperate adoptive parents--all
in a day's work for Samuel Firestone, M.D.
When Leo thinks his father has covered over a murder by diagnosing a
heart attack, he spills his concern to his friend, Harmony Belmont,
the girl next door, and the two teenagers decide to investigate.
They trespass, break and enter, commit petty larceny, even dig up a
grave. Their trail of clues leads to Fleischmann Scrapyard,
where they uncover a major operation in black-market metal, in the
process running afoul of dirty, vicious Oscar Fleischmann, Samuel
Firestone's longtime nemesis. By the time Leo realizes he and
Harmony are in far over their sixteen-year-old heads, it's too late
to just call off the investigation.
But there are loose threads in Leo's story, and they bother Martin.
He goes snooping in Hobart, and like his father sixty years earlier,
comes away with more junk than he'd bargained for.
This mystery novel from Larry Karp, set between the present
and the World War II homefront, considers medical/ethical issues as
pertinent--and as unresolved--now, as they were in 1943, and was
originally released by Poisoned
Pen Press in 2004.
BREAKING NEWS: "First, Do
No Harm" is now available in the United Kingdom! (Published
through Poisoned Pen
Press UK. March 2007)
Read Chapter One of "First, Do No Harm" by Larry Karp.
What Others Are Saying...
"A well-told story is nearly irresistible, and Karp has two phenomenal stories
to recount here. .. A triumph of storytelling-the juggling of the two
narratives is flawless-that will hold readers as spellbound as a terrifying
tale told 'round the campfire."
Jenny McLarin, Booklist (starred review), 9/15/04
"...sharp, well-written crime novel... Karp's story, steeped in descriptions
of 1940s smalltown life, builds to a shattering climax that will haunt readers
as much as the book's characters. Fans of Robin Cook or Patricia Cornwell will
find this mystery strikingly different, for it deals not in medical science but
in the frailty of human love and devotion."
Publishers Weekly, 9/27/04
"This is not a classic mystery, but it is an absolutely remarkable piece of
writing. I became completely immersed in the characters and their story. It is
poignant, engrossing, tragic and truly excellent. Be prepared to give it your
undivided attention as you'll want to do nothing less."
LJ Roberts, LJ's October Reads, DorothyL List (Overall rating: "Excellent - will probably make my top 10 of the year").
"The tale in some ways feels like an historical novel, but also has the
audience ponder questions of morality and legality as Samuel is either a wizard
or a demon depending on whether the reader believes he crossed the line or not.
FIRST, DO NO HARM is a terrific character-driven cerebral thriller."
Harriet Klausner, The Best Reviews, Review Centre, and Blether, the Book
Review Site. Rated 10 out of 10 on Blether ("The Blether Gold Award. A truly
exceptional read, the finest example of a genre, a book with which the reviewer
can find no fault, and which will usually have universal appeal").
"...contains a great deal of suspense... The characters are well drawn... The
picture of the time is very realistic... The writing is good.... I commend
Poisoned Pen Press for publishing a book that does not quite fit into any
niche. This is intriguing to read and will stay with me long after I shelve
Sally Fellows, Mystery News
"I just couldn't put (it) down. The writing is powerful, the characters
dynamic, and the story fascinating... The more you read, the more you want to
know... A grand journey with a compelling ending and a fascinating look into
the world of the past."
Andrea Maloney, DorothyL List
"...a richly detailed roaring tale of medicine, social mores and political
acumen... Legislators and political leaders could learn from this book.
FIRST, DO NO HARM should be a must read for everyone... Larry Karp delivers a
powerful message wrapped inside a fascinating, well-written mystery."
Carl Brookins, The Minnesota Crime Wave Reviews
"...an astonishing story of a supposedly kinder and gentler era, which it
really wasn't at all. You won't soon forget Leo—and Harmony, the young girl who
wanted only to be his companion, not his shadow—nor Leo's parents, Samuel and
Ramona, the one patient beyond Sam's ability to cure. I'm glad I read it..."
Kelly Ferjutz, Amazon.com reader review
"Mystery lovers resident in the UK have much
to rejoice about, as American mystery publishers Poisoned Pen Press
have opened a branch in Britain. Now all those excellent books are
suddenly available to be enjoyed by a whole new audience, and this
tale of dark secrets and lost innocence is a superb choice for my
first PPPUK review. (First, Do No Harm) is the sort of
tale that sucks the reader into a maelstrom of its own, a well
realized world, set in 1943, that shows the author’s admirable grasp
of the time, its mores and taboos.
It is one of those books that seems to have
the power to transport the reader back into the past, and,
thankfully, also has the power to show it warts and all. Told in the
first person by Leo in flashbacks, and alternatively by his son (in
a conveniently different typeface) as they eat their lunch it gives
two views of the world in first person, and effectively another one
in the towering persona of Dr Martin Firestone.
Larry Karp also wrote The Ragtime Kid
and I can only hope that he will go on to write a whole lot more.
Rachel A. Hyde, MyShelf.com Review
|Author: Larry Karp
Hardback: 264 pages
Publication date: 10/4/2004
currently out of print
Trade Paperback: 274 pages
Publication date: 1/2005
Large Type Trade Paperback: 400 pages
Publication date: 11/1/2004
Kindle e-book: 438 pages
Publication date: 12/18/2009
Support your independent booksellers.
an excellent resource to find your closest Independent Mystery
Booksellers Association member.
All of Larry Karp's books (including autographed copies AND
books that have gone out of print) can be found here:
|First, Do No Harm is also
available a Kindle e-book from