Wednesday, July 27, 2011
Over The Edge by Brandilyn Collins
I have been meaning to read Over The Edge for a while-at least since it's release-but found the desire shoved to the back and overpowered by obligations. While interviewing authors at ICRS in Atlanta earlier this month, I asked a few what they were reading, and this novel by Collin's was mentioned. After the dust from that week settled, and when I most needed a mental get away, I grabbed my copy and settled in for a short term thrill ride. Although a meaty 306 pages, I consumed the novel in two days flat-staying up until the midnight chimes to find out "who-done-it" and if Janessa truly had Lyme's. But I am getting ahead of myself.
When Janessa McNeil becomes sick, her husband Brock, a well known researcher and proponent against chronic Lyme disease, believes it is a move to spite him and not an authentic illness. And so Janessa, like many other patients, enters the Lyme Wars. The information that Collins cleverly presents in a fictional suspense novel is too vast and in depth for me to cover here. However, I will state that there is a major battle going on to prevent chronic Lyme disease from being an accepted diagnosis. Several key physicians and researchers have convinced the medical community that Lyme disease can be cured in four easy weeks of antibiotic treatment. They have created a very narrow basis for including all components of Lyme as well as many coinfections into the testing process. It is nearly impossible to get an accurate diagnosis unless the patient is tested through a Lyme lab. Traditional physicians rely on the blood test as their only means of diagnosis when, in fact, the results are important, but being diagnosed is more of a clinical decision rather than a lab based one.
Why would a physician not want to at least try to treat Lyme if the patient presents with the symptoms even if the test comes back negative? Great question and one the insurance companies don't want to answer. They are willing to cover the cost for short term antibiotic treatment-as in four weeks. Ask them to cover antibiotic treatment for long term-as in six or more months, (and any of it's coinfections which need their own medication to accurately treat) well, they don't view that as sympathetically. As for the symptoms patients endure for months, sometimes years without a proper diagnosis?
*Air hunger (that one alone would scare anyone)
*Sensitivity to light
*Poor attention span
(For a complete list of symptoms or more information, please visit Lyme Disease Association.org or Over The Edge lyme awareness.
Back to Collin's novel. When Janessa finally receives her diagnosis, it might save her, but what about the lives of others? When Stalker Man, the one who admits to planting the infected tick on Janessa, threatens to do the same to her daughter, Janessa finds that she is actively involved in a war against time to stop a madman bent on infecting as many as it takes. What is his ransom? That Brock change his position in the Lyme Wars and cross over to Stalker Man's side. It's a seemingly impossible task for the infected and distraught Janessa.
There are many surprises and twists and turns that make this a very suspensful best-seller. As novelist Terry Blackstock notes, "(Over The Edge is)a page-turner. Fascinating and eye-opening." Yes, I agree. And so much more.
Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: B&H Books (May 1, 2011)
Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.5 x 0.9 inches