Medical drama intrigues; plot found lacking

David Kerns’ most recent novel, “Fortnight on Maxwell Street,” is an emblem of 1960s medicine. The book is fantastically written, especially for a former medical professional. There is never a point in which the reader doesn’t have an understanding of what’s going on. Any medical or scientific term is explained in a way that doesn’t detach the reader from the book. Kerns expresses human emotions in ways even experienced authors sometimes have trouble replicating. He uses his experience as a doctor to push the book forward and to engage the reader from the get go.

Kerns isn’t afraid to point out the racism that still is prevalent in today’s society. He allows it to help define his characters and to illustrate the various settings the main character, Nick, travels to help mothers deliver their babies. Racism in this book isn’t uncomfortable.

The only true downside is that there isn’t much in terms of overall plot. Kerns focuses on each individual birth with intriguing intensity that keeps you reading. However, there is no overall problem that drives the plot forward. The writing is excellent and each story within the book is interesting. But there isn’t really any subplot that continues between each birth.


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