Fatal Dose (Cliff Knowles Mysteries) - Russell Atkinson

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PI Cliff Knowles, a former FBI special agent, is hired by Xlectrix to investigate several incidents with their latest cancer radiation machine, the Lilac 4. After several patients receive an overdose of radiation, including two who later died, the company is concerned that someone has done the impossible and figured out how to hack the machines - which were engineered to be tamper-proof. When his investigation leads to threats on his life, Cliff finds himself in a race against time to track down a vindictive and sadistic man bent on revenge.

Fatal Dose is a great read, with a chilling plot that touches on a primal fear everyone can relate to; being very sick, very scared, and the vulnerability of being at the mercy of a machine - or, even more frightening, having your child at the mercy of a machine. Eek!

The exciting plot had several cases seemingly unconnected to each other that were woven seamlessly in the story; the shooting of a police officer, a bank robbery, a Jewish center bombing, and the x-ray machine sabotage. I love watching the cases unfold; although there's a lot going on, it's very easy to follow and the quick pace keeps the story moving right up to the exciting and grimly satisfying ending.

Having already read Behead Me, a later book in this series, I liked seeing how Cliff and future wife Ellen first met, and their geocaching adventure with Ellen's niece, Ashley added a fun and heartwarming moment lightened the book considerably. Very cute!

Overall, Fatal Dose is a chilling and terrifyingly realistic thriller that will stay with you for a very long time. This is a must read series for fans of thrillers and procedurals, and especially geocachers.