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In hindsight, perhaps Adam Grossman should not have retired--at least not so soon. After all, he was a respected heart surgeon and certainly not of diminished skills. Adam, however, had let his ego get the best of him, and when he is passed over for a department chairmanship, decides to take his generous pension and move on.
Now a year later, he s adrift, although not always unpleasantly. For his wife Eva it s a different story. He is disrupting her life to the point that she has jokingly suggested an affair to fill his days. Even their two dogs seem a little agitated with Adam s current schedule.
Adam has come to the opinion that there s no point to anything anymore. But there is one thing that keeps him engaged music. Most particularly, he has always been enthralled by the brilliant, yet underappreciated rhythm and blues stylings of Oscar Brown, Jr. They met over 35 years before and have been fast friends for most of that time.
Adam has hit upon an idea. He will tell the tale of Oscar s life and career and thus revive the public s enthusiasm for the musician-songwriter. To Adam s surprise, Brown warms to the idea.
There is one problem. Although Adam has the support of his friend and intimate knowledge of his music, he never really considered the effort required to actually put the story to paper.
Then, there is a wonderful coincidence. Attending an Oscar Brown Jr. show at the last minute, Adam is approached by a young woman. She s an accomplished writer, and even has clippings from articles she s done about other music entertainers.
Adam has a proposal. Would she be interested in collaborating on the book? Adam and Charlene strike an agreement. He will supply her with rare recordings and other background material. In time, the book will be completed.
Deal in place; Adam and Charlene begin to meet daily. For Adam, this arrangement is wholly satisfying. But after a while, Oscar and Eva begin to wonder why no pages have been produced. Even Adam questions how this can continue. His embarrassment grows. Just who is this woman?
Adam is now as determined to maintain his relationship with Charlene despite the warning signs as he once was to tell Oscar s story. He thinks he can do both, but who is he fooling?
Adam struggles to maintain his equilibrium, but with every new alibi he creates, his illusions fade a little. It becomes clear to Adam that, sooner or later, he is headed for a fall.
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Bernard J. Sussman, M.D. is an accomplished neurosurgeon and researcher, now retired. In addition to four volumes of fiction in the Adam Quatrology, he is also the author of Pupils: An Eye-Opening Account of Medical Practice without Standards. A native New Yorker, at present he lives in Washington, D.C.
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