The Lazarus Child

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

When six-year-old Frankie Heywood is hit by a bus and falls into a profound coma, her English doctors despair of reviving her. The child’s parents, Jack and Alison, are faced with two options: allowing Frankie to die or institutionalizing her for the rest of her life. With their marriage on the rocks and their twelve-year- old son Ben deeply traumatized from witnessing Frankie’s accident, the Heywoods need a miracle.

Dr. Lizzie Chase is making great strides in neurology at her new clinic in America. She revives patients like Frankie by linking their brains to a computer while administering electric shocks to their bodies. Despite Lizzie’s successes, religious fanatics, corrupt politicians, and poor financing threaten to shut down her clinic. The Heywoods, however, sell everything they have to bring Frankie to America for the treatment.

Lizzie’s compassionate skill with Frankie brings Jack and Alison closer together, but Ben is rapidly sinking into psychological oblivion. His hair turns white overnight and he even attempts suicide. And as Lizzie struggles with Frankie, the clinic’s enemies close in.

A startling discovery gives Lizzie the strength to fend them off. Two other patients receiving the computerized therapy have somehow bypassed the electric gadgetry and begun communicating telepathically. Though the pair come from different backgrounds, speak different languages, and have never met before, they wake with intimate knowledge of each other. The Heywoods and Lizzie decide to link Ben and Frankie together, hoping that Ben can reach his sister on a psychic level and lead her out of darkness. But can the children survive the ordeal and vindicate Lizzie’s unorthodox treatment before the clinic is liquidated?

THE LAZARUS CHILD is an interesting blend of metaphysics, science fiction, and medical drama. At times the plot lacks reason but compensates with sincerity and a surprise ending. The novel will please fans of many genres.