What Makes a Medical Thriller? by Jordyn Redwood

As a writer of medical thrillers, I thought this would be an easy task to blog about what makes a medical thriller until I actually began to think of those things that distinct a medical thriller from other types of novels in the same genre (legal, military, etc..)

Here’s what I’ve determined to be essential when labeling a book a medical thriller.

1. It must have one of these three elements:

a. The leading character(s) is a medical person.
            b. The setting is a hospital, clinic, etc.
c. There is an inherent medical mystery.

2. There is a moral question: If you look at some of the well-known medical thriller authors like Robin Cook, Michael Palmer, Michael Crichton and Harry Kraus to name a few—at the heart of the book is an ethical dilemma. In Crichton’s Jurassic Park—is genetic engineering wise? Cook’s Acceptable Risk—was a toxin responsible for the behavior of those accused of being witches during the Salem Witch Trials? Kraus’s Stainless Steal Hearts—is experimenting on aborted fetuses ethical?

3. They take a known medical situation and put a twist on it. This is what, perhaps, makes a medical thriller so scary. You can understand the potential for it to happen—particularly when the news highlights stories that you’ve read in a book. Here’s a recent headline that got my writer’s wheels spinning.

South Korean officials found pills from China filled with crushed infant remains. At first I thought surely–this is one of those internet conspiracy theories but I found it referenced in more than one reliable source. What do you think of that? What medical plot could be born from this true life story? I’m keeping mine a secret–for now.

My debut novel, PROOF, examine the real possibility of DNA testing setting a guilty man free. What does the criminal justice system do when the gold standard of criminal prosecution fails? What does the victim do?

4. It is helpful, possibly mandatory, to have a medical background. To pen an authoritative medical manuscript, medical training and having worked in the medical field are paramount to giving the manuscript an authentic feel. Writing from a medical angle is difficult. Interpreting the language, knowing those special nuances, and knowing how these systems work is essential to a good novel. If you’re trying to write a medical thriller and have never been involved in the medical field—I highly suggest you pay a medical type to review your work. Of those well-known medical thriller writers—I couldn’t think of one that didn’t have a medical background. Can you?

What do you think are the essential components of a medical thriller? Can you think of a well-known medical thriller writer that didn’t have a medical background?

Can you?

What do you think are the essential components of a medical thriller? Can you think of a well-known medical thriller writer that didn’t have a medical background?


PROOF by Jordyn Redwood

Dr. Lilly Reeves is a young, accomplished ER physician with her whole life ahead of her. But that life instantly changes when she becomes the fifth victim of a serial rapist. Believing it’s the only way to recover her reputation and secure peace for herself, Lilly sets out to find–and punish–her assailant. Sporting a mysterious tattoo and unusually colored eyes, the rapist should be easy to identify. He even leaves what police would consider solid evidence. But when Lilly believes she has found him, DNA testing clears him as a suspect. How can she prove he is guilty, if science says he is not?

Amazon, including Kindle. http://goo.gl/XqpNK

Jordyn Redwood is a pediatric ER nurse by day, suspense novelist by night. Her debut medical thriller, Proof, examines the real life possibility of DNA testing setting a guilty criminal free. It has been endorsed by the likes of Lynette Eason, Dr. Harry Kraus, and Rick Acker to name a few. You can find out more about Jordyn by visiting her blog: www.redwoodsmedicaledge.com and website: www.jordynredwood.net.

Gun Toting Mommas ~~ Happy Mother’s Day

When readers think Christian Fiction, they usually don’t think of a “mother character” in terms of a woman with children at home who is carrying a gun. Yet, more than one Christian author has penned mother characters who are packing heat.

Kathy Herman’s THE REAL ENEMY, first in the Sophie Trace Trilogy, comes to mind with its heroine Police Chief Brill Jessup. This police chief got her nickname Brill due to her 18-year career filled with brilliant detective work before accepting the position of police chief in a small town. She most assuredly carries a weapon and knows how to use it.


Issie Putnam, the heroine in Fay Lamb’s BECAUSE OF ME is a mom on a mission to keep her son’s insane rapist father from learning about the precious boy she loves. Issie doesn’t like guns, so she carries and .22 caliber pistol and she shoots it with deadly accuracy at its farthest range. Issie and Cole are the only ones who know about the safe room Issie built in the attic of their farmhouse, and Cole knows exactly what he is to do if he ever needs to seek refuge there. No one will hurt Cole, including the man Issie loves. If Michael Hayes can’t see past the ugly truth of Cole’s beginnings and learn to love her son, well, he can’t love her. Even if Michael is the only safe refuge Issie’s heart has ever known. At Amazon. http://goo.gl/6ab3i

Christine’s Lindsay’s heroine Abby Fraser has brought her young son to India intending to begin life with her British Army lieutenant husband now that WWII is over. She’s faced with one disappointment after another, threats, and danger to herself and her son during periods of upheaval in the colonial sub-continent. The wives of British officers have been advised they must learn to be proficient with firearms. Abby, who learned to shoot in the states, shocks them all by repeatedly hitting the bull’s-eye on her first try. SHADOWED IN SILK recently won the 2011 Grace Award in the Action-Adventure/Western/Epic Fiction category.


Author Wendy L. Young’s creation, Laura Harmon, is a gun-toting Momma with four kids and a fifth on the way. Licensed to carry a concealed weapon, she knows her rights and knows how to use them. She grew up with a much-older brother who was a Marine and Police Officer and has been married to another officer for over 25 years. Until recently, she never had a cause to use a weapon but things are changing in Campbell Creek and she aims to protect herself and her family. Soon she will have her gun trained and know that she is ready to use it, whatever the cost. This third novel in the series is coming in Summer 2012.  Laura and her husband Will are the main characters in The Campbell Creek Mysteries:  COME THE SHADOWS http://goo.gl/cE0Ax and RED SKY WARNING http://goo.gl/OlJG3 .


I’d like to wish a Happy Mother’s Day to gun toting mommas wherever they may be: in law enforcement, on the battlefield, driving bank armoured cars, and so much more.

“Pantsters” Can Keep Notes — It’s Allowed ~~ John 3:16 Blog Hop

This blog article, “Pantsters” Can Keep Notes–It’s Allowed is part of the John 3:16 Marketing Network Blog Hop from May 7 to May 14. I am giving away a “pdf” copy of both of my novels BURNING HEARTS and GOODBYE to the two best comments left below this article. Don’t forget to leave your email address if you want to win a copy of my novels. I will have an independent party chose the winners..

“Pantsters” Can Keep Notes — It’s Allowed

I’m a pantster…well mostly I’m a pantster. I do keep a running time-line. In my computer files I call it a “plotline.” This is not an outline. As a punster, I’d rather jump off the roof than write an outline. However, after I write a scene or a chapter, I add it to my time-line.

My time-line is quite detailed. It not only tells me what happened in that particular scene or chapter, I’ll also add small details I might want to refer to later. This keeps me from having to read the entire chapter if I want to recall a certain point. For example, my heroine might confide to a subordinate character that she flunked out of college. I’d add that detail to my time-line as a point of reference for when I write a later scene with those two characters.

I write romantic thrillers and I like to keep my reader from figuring out who the killer is until the very end when I reveal the identity. That means leaving plausible clues for a wide variety of red herrings. Each of these clues has to be added to my time-line so that I don’t write something in a later chapter that contracts my “planted clues.” I wish I could give you an example from the second book in my Sanctuary Point series, GOODBYE NOEL, but that would give away too much, and then I’d have to kill you.

As a pantster, I’m always asking the main characters and/or myself, what comes next? What would they logically do next? In this situation what would happen? As a pantster, an outline is certainly verboten! But I’ve found a clever way to get around that. I write a series of bulletins of possible, plausible next scenarios.

  • Have to have a funeral for the murder victim, killer attends services
  • Heroine thinks hero has lied, drives away even though a storm is approaching
  • Hero has to apply for a job if he intends to keep his apartment

I also like to ask, what would my character never in a million years ever be caught doing? I often brainstorm, sky’s-the-limit and, make a list of five things my heroine/hero would not do. Some of the items on the list get pretty wild. Then I pick the most plausible one for my story and put him/her in that situation. Of course, I might have to tweak  it to make it fit my storyline.

Can a sheltered young seamstress, disillusioned by the horrors of WWII, escape an arsonist/murderer who has killed her employer and mentor, while trying to decide if she can trust the dashing war hero who’s ridden into town on his Harley—who some say is the murderer?


The year is 1947. The bodies keep piling up. Will a young pediatric nurse determined to make it on her own be able to care for an infant whose mother was murdered and escape the killer who has struck again? Can she trust the stalwart village detective with her life and her heart as he works to catch this killer before somebody else dies. Amazon (Including Kindle).


Here’s a complete list of blog hop participants with links to their blogs. Happy blog hopping…

Blog Hop Participants:

  1. Lorilyn Roberts (John 3:16 Blog) – http://john316mn.blogspot.com/
  2. Lynn Dove – Word Salt (Host blog) – http://wordsalt.wordpress.com/
  3. Laura J. Davis – http://interviewsandreviews.blogspot.com/
  4. Paulette Harper – http://www.pauletteharperjohnson.blogspot.com/
  5. Carol A. Brown – http://connectwithcarolbrown.blogspot.com/
  6. April Gardner – http://www.aprilwgardner.com/
  7. Sue Russell – http://www.suerussellsblog.blogspot.com/
  8. Thomas Blubaugh – http://tomblubaugh.net/
  9. Susan F. Craft – http://historicalfictionalightintime.blogspot.com/
  10. Heather Bixler – http://heatherbixler.com/
  11. Joy Hannabass – http://splashesofjoy.wordpress.com/
  12. Deborah Bateman – http://www.DeborahHBateman.com
  13. Kimberley Payne – http://www.fitforfaith.blogspot.com/
  14. Rose McCauley – http://www.rosemccauley.blogspot.com
  15. Lisa Lickel – http://livingourfaithoutloud.blogspot.com/
  16. Alice J. Wisler – http://www.alicewisler.blogspot.com/
  17. Amanda Stephan – http://www.thepriceoftrust.com/
  18. Saundra Dalton – http://gracetolivefree.blogspot.com/
  19. Tracy Krauss – http://www.tracykraussexpressionexpress.com/
  20. Ashley Wintters – http://ashleyschristianbookreviews.blogspot.com/
  21. Deborah McCarragher – http://www.godmissionpossible.blogspot.com/
  22. Lorilyn Roberts – http://lorilynroberts.blogspot.com/
  23. Anita Estes – http://anita-thoughtsonchristianity.blogspot.com/
  24. Martin Roth – http://www.military-orders.com
  25. Kenneth Winters – http://www.lostcrownofcolonnade.com/
  26. Eddie Snipes – http://www.eddiesnipes.com/
  27. Diane Tatum – http://tatumlight-tatumsthoughts4today.blogspot.com/
  28. Janalyn Voigt – http://janalynvoigt.com/
  29. Alberta Sequeira – http://www.albertasequeira.wordpress.com/
  30. Tammy Hill – http://tammyhillbooks.blogspot.com/p/blog-hop.html
  31. Marcia Laycock – http://www.writer-lee.blogspot.com/
  32. Nike Chillemi – https://nikechillemi.wordpress.com/
  33. Elaine Marie Cooper – http://wp.me/PVo1a-1vM
  34. Sidney W. Frost – http://christianbookmobile.blogspot.ca/2012/05/welcome-to-john-316-giveaway-blog-hop.html
  35. Jairus B. King – http://ministerjking.blogspot.com
  36. Bill Burt – http://kotbooks.blogspot.com/
  37. Kathy Eberly – http://authorkathyeberly.blogspot.com/
  38. Bob Saffrin – http://bobsaffrin.com/
  39. Julie Saffrin – http://juliesaffrin.com/2012/05/08/heres-how-to-possibly-win-a-kindle-and-autographed-copy-of-blessback/
  40. Theresa Franklin – http://theresa-lifesjourney.blogspot.com/
  41. Ray Lincoln – http://blog.raywlincoln.com/
  42. Lilly Maytree – http://www.lillymaytree.blogspot.com/
  43. Yvonne Pat Wright – http://www.spicetoeternity.co.uk/1/post/2012/05/come-blog-hopping-with-john-316-marketing-network-members-for-gifts-and-prizes.html
  44. Pauline Creeden – http://fatfreefaith.blogspot.com/
  45. Katherine Harms – http://livingontilt.wordpress.com
  46. Brenda Wood – http://heartfeltdevotionals.wordpress.com/
  47. Deborah Malone – http://deborahsbutterflyjourney.blogspot.com/
  48. Melissa Main – http://www.mainwriters.com/
  49. Kevin Main – http://mainchristianbooks.com/
  50. Sandy Humphrey – http://www.kidscandoit.com/blog/
  51. Felice Gerwitz – http://www.writingandpublishingblog.com/
  52. Hallee Bridgeman – http://www.bridgemanfamily.com/hallee
  53. Lisa Mills – http://www.authorlisamills.com/blog/