Critical Conditions (1998)
"A superior psychological thriller." - The Chicago Tribune
Once she launched jump shots and dreamed of her first date. Now she lies in a hospital bed, a beautiful
girl on the verge of womanhood with enough drugs in her system to kill her. And Alan Gregory, a clinical psychologist who has seen the heights of human consciousness and the depths of human despair, sits
beside her, even though she will not talk, holding her listless hand and wondering what went wrong — and why…
Alan Gregory is called to the ICU before anyone knows the
patient's name or what dark demons drove her to attempt suicide. But fifteen-year-old Merritt Strait is no ordinary depressed teenage. The daughter of a hard-charging investigative reporter and a
psychologist, she is also the stepsister of a little girl at the heart of a medical tragedy in the making. While Merritt clings to life in the hospital room, Chaney Strait lies near death in another hospital
with an infection that is slowly destroying her heart.
Denied an experimental new treatment that could save her life by the Strait's managed-care provider, Chaney has become a symbol of a
health care system driven by costs, not care. And Alan believes that somewhere along the way, Merritt has gotten lost in all the media attention surrounding her younger sibling. But as Merritt begins to
recover, yet still refuses to speak, Alan suspects that something else may lie behind her suicide attempt. Then a wealthy executive of the family's HMO is found dead…and Alan and detective Sam Purdy
uncover shocking evidence that links Merritt to his death.
With his wife, Boulder County Assistant D.A. Lauren Crowder, away helping out her ailing mother at the risk of her own fragile
health, Alan must sort through the most complex and elusive case of his career, along with his own feelings of loneliness, anger, and helplessness. More blood will be spilled and more lives destroyed before he
uncovers a shattering truth about greed and callousness that kill, and how far people will go in the name of revenge…and love.