By Donald Friedman
** Publication Date 29 August 2020**
Owen Berk is called upon to investigate the untimely death of his boss’s cousin, one psychologist named Albert Snaedeker. Albert was in for a routine colonoscopy/polypectomy when he met his end by exploding on the operating table. The hospital maintains that Albert simply neglected to properly prepare for the procedure, but Albert’s family isn’t so sure.
Berk sets off on a path of questions that lead him to find questionable behaviors and some soul searching of his own. Along the way, he decides that he’s going to turn this investigation into a novel. Corrupted Humours is a book within a book – Berk’s path through his own life and relationships while he tries to find an answer for Snaedeker’s death, and the fictionalized accounting of his death which he writes.
Be prepared, this isn’t your average novel. Berk is a 70-something who still runs daily, writes for a literary magazine, and does a tad bit of investigation on the side. There is definitely some sex, drugs and a little bit of romance. Berk isn’t quite sure what to make of his own life, let alone the ones he’s exploring. If Berk weren’t in his 70s, I would almost call this a “coming of age” novel.
I wanted to love this, based on the crazy concept of a human exploding in an OR, but I didn’t love it. I enjoyed it. I liked it. I got a little lost with the book within a book because the two stories overlap quite a bit. If you can keep track of the separate but similar storylines, you’ll be okay.