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Ben Dafoe, a young emergency-room doctor and part-time crime-scene consultant for the Seattle Police Department, is haunted by addiction. Two years earlier, a cocaine and crystal-meth habit claimed the life of his identical twin, Aaron. Now Ben walks onto the scene of a savage stabbing to find that the victim is his former fiancée, Emily Kenmore―another loved one who fell prey to drugs. Part of the carnage in Emily's bedroom is a single streak of blood caked on the wall.
When the DNA from that sample matches Ben's, he becomes the prime suspect.
Convinced his identical twin is still alive and somehow involved in Emily's death, Ben goes on the run, aiming to find Aaron. Working under an assumed identity at an inner-city clinic, Ben desperately searches for Aaron while playing cat-and-mouse with the authorities.
But someone is determined to thwart his hunt at any cost. In the story's final twist, the truth hits closer to home and more lethally than Ben ever imagined.
Set against the backdrop of the ER, Blood Lies is a medical thriller and a Fugitive-style suspense novel with a major twist. As Ben struggles to solve a tragic mystery from his past and clear his name, he might just learn that, sometimes, blood lies. . . .
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Daniel Kalla is the international bestselling author of Pandemic and Resistance. He works as an emergency-room physician in Vancouver, British Columbia.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
Chapter One The siren choked off in mid-wail. Within seconds, the flashing red light swept through the frosted glass of the ER’s sliding door like a disco ball on overdrive.I heaved a self-pitying sigh. Ten minutes before the end of a long night shift, I’d counted on an uneventful and punctual exit. Any chance for either vanished when the ambulance stretcher and two paramedics burst through the main Emergency Room doors. "Which room?" the tall scraggy paramedic yelled as they careened past the triage desk. "Trauma Two," the triage nurse called back. I ran alongside the paramedics, but our pace wasn’t fast enough to outrun the acrid smells of urine and vomit wafting up from the stretcher. A woman of indeterminate age lay on her side, twitching and thrashing. Without the restraining hand of the female paramedic she might have bucked off the stretcher. Legs and arms jerked in violent rhythm. Her chin slammed into her chest. A mess of long brown hair covered her face. Her T-shirt was spattered with vomit. A chain of drool connected the corner of her mouth to the sheets. An image of Linda Blair from The Exorcist flashed in my mind. "What’s the story?" I asked the baby-faced female paramedic running beside me."Seizing when we got to her. Found down at Cloud Nine." She glanced at me, deciding I was old enough to require clarification. "It’s an after-hours club." "Thanks," I grunted. "What’s she got on board?" "Her sister says she dropped two tabs of Ecstasy about an hour before we got to her. First-time user. Otherwise the kid is healthy." "Kid?" "Fourteen years." She wiped her flushed brow with a palm. "Name’s Lara Maxwell." "How long has she been seizing?" "Twenty minutes, give or take." Way too long. Within half an hour of a continuous seizure, or status epilepticus, irreversible brain damage can occur. "What have you given her?" I asked. "Nothing. We scooped and ran. Impossible to get an IV in her in the back of our rig." She flailed her own arms, as if the wildly twitching patient wasn’t explanation enough. We wheeled into Trauma Two, one of St. Jude’s three identical resuscitation rooms. Nothing architecturally unique about this or any resuscitation bay I’ve ever seen; all are big bland rooms filled with medical supplies, lights, X-ray viewing boxes, and, at times like these, people. The place swarmed with them. Some moved with purpose, others—the usual array of wide-eyed students and ER lookie-loos (staff who find any excuse to turn up whenever something exciting rolls in)—just milled about. Swaddling her in the ambulance stretcher’s sheet, the two paramedics swung the patient over to the room’s stretcher. Lara Maxwell was oblivious to her new surroundings; her arms and legs never missed a beat of their syncopated contraction. Anne Bailey, arguably the poster girl for hardened frumpy ER nurses the world over, was the nurse in charge. She had no time for the bustling crowd. "If you don’t serve a purpose, get out!" Anne shouted and, on cue, the room thinned. She turned to the other nurses. "Lucy, two IVs. Jan, get an oral airway into her. Tommy, you record, okay? And where are my vital signs?" Anne turned to me, her lower jaw working side to side as if chewing a gob-stopper. "What meds do you want us to give, Ben?" Despite her businesslike tone, her eyes clouded over with urgency. Relieved as I was to see Anne in charge, the rare show of concern on her face concerned me. "Lorazepam 4 mg IV push, now," I said, referring to the Valium-like drug we use for seizures. "Full lab panel including calcium, magnesium, and phosphate. ECG. Chest X-ray. Blood gas. Urine drug screen ASAP, and—"The nurse cut in from bedside. "Pulse is 140, pressure 260 on 140, respiratory rate of 28, and temperature of 38.4." There was a pause as she fiddled with the oxygen saturation probe that kept slipping off Lara’s jerking finger. "Oxygen saturation is sitting at 88 percent." Not a normal vital sign in the bunch. "Sugar?" I asked. "Glucometer was normal at the scene," the scrawny paramedic piped up.Damn! Gone was the most rectifiable cause for a seizure: low blood sugar.I edged closer to my patient. The mingled odors of vomit and urine assaulted me, forcing me to breathe through my mouth. Lara’s hair had fallen back from her face, and I could see beyond the strands of drool and blood. The flickering eyelids and gnashing jaw belonged to the face of a child, someone who had no business being near after-hours clubs and their inevitable cache of designer drugs. I felt familiar stirrings. Fucking junk! I wanted to shout. I glanced at the clock. Five minutes since arrival, twenty-five minutes since onset, and the seizure showed no sign of lessening. The drool at her mouth had begun to bubble, and became a rich froth like an exploding soda pop can. As I reached for my stethoscope, my worry meter crept higher. "Another four of lorazepam. And hang a Dilantin drip. Run in a gram over fifteen minutes," I said, calling for the heavy artillery of anti-seizure drugs. Pulling the stethoscope off my shoulders, I leaned over Lara’s jerking form and raced through a head-to-toe physical exam. Filled with fluid, her lungs were all gurgles and wheezes. A bluish tinge enveloped her fingers and lips. I glanced at the monitor. Her oxygen saturation had dipped into the seventies—respiratory failure territory—and her blood pressure had risen even higher. "We have to stop this seizure. Now!" That meant medically paralyzing the young girl. I recited the drugs and sequence I wanted them given. "Dr. Dafoe, you better look at this...." Jan waved an ECG printout at me like it was a flag. I studied the twelve squiggly lines, stunned by their implication. "A heart attack? At fourteen? She must have cocaine on board, too." I looked to the respiratory technician. "Everything ready?" She nodded, and pointed shakily to the tray beside me. "Okay, Anne, give her 100 of sux." Anne stuck a syringe into one of the four IV lines leading into Lara’s arms. She pushed on the plunger. Within seconds of administering the succinylcholine—a fast-acting drug that paralyzes muscles and renders patients into rag dolls—the twitching began to subside. Soon Lara lay still on the bed. As expected, she stopped breathing. What I didn’t foresee (but should have) was the fountain of foam spewing from her mouth, as her lungs passively expelled their fluid contents. I grabbed for the scythe-shaped laryngoscope. The knuckles of my left hand ached, and I glanced down at the source: the healing jagged gash from my bike chain that ran across my knuckles like a jailhouse tattoo. Ignoring the pain, I clicked open the laryngoscope’s blade and eased it in
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