Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Eight Lives” as Want to Read:
Eight Lives
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Eight Lives

3.61  ·  Rating details ·  550 ratings  ·  136 reviews
A brilliant young doctor is dead ... and someone has to take the blame.

Former refugee David Tran becomes the Golden Boy of Australian medical research and invents a drug that could transform immunology. Eight volunteers are recruited for the first human trial, a crucial step on the path to global fame for David and windfall gains for his investors. But when David dies in b
Paperback, 314 pages
Published March 26th 2019 by Affirm Press
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Eight Lives, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Katie There was one page which a quick glance told me not to read. It was graphic and I could not/would not read it. Aside from that one page, you will be O…moreThere was one page which a quick glance told me not to read. It was graphic and I could not/would not read it. Aside from that one page, you will be OK. (less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.61  · 
Rating details
 ·  550 ratings  ·  136 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Eight Lives
David Tran, a Vietnamese refugee who grew up in Australia to become a doctor is the "Golden Boy" of Biomedical Research. He's developed a powerful immunotherapy, a super drug that shows a lot of promise and could be used to treat a number of diseases including cancer. He's completed all the laboratory work and the pre-clinical testing in rats to show that it works and now he's on the verge of starting a phase one clinical trial, which will test the safety of the drug in eight healthy people. If ...more
Mar 26, 2019 rated it really liked it

Autoimmune diseases that afflict the human race include Crohn's Disease, Diabetes, Fibromyalgia, Lupus, Multiple Sclerosis, Psoriasis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Scleroderma, and more than seventy others. These conditions cause great suffering, use a vast array of medical resources, and cost millions of dollars in research and therapy.

Patient with Multiple Sclerosis

Drugs called monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) are used to treat autoimmune illnesses and some cancers, with specific types for each disease.
Eight Lives is an Aussie mystery/drama about a biotech entrepreneur whose experiment goes badly awry. This is a juicy story filled with secrets and scandals, idealistic yet conflicted scientists, shady venture capitalists, and a suspicious death at the centre of it all…

Multiple, alternating first person perspectives give Eight Lives a gossipy feel; it’s such an easy to read page-turner, but its topic – the murky world of for-profit pharmaceutical research – makes it brainier than similar books
Kylie H
Apr 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: drama, netgalley, health
This is a book set in Melbourne and centres on the development of a new miracle drug, a monoclonal antibody that could cure cancer and all sorts of incurable diseases. It is told through the people who surround David Tran, the 'golden boy'. A Vietnamese refugee who has beaten the odds and come through medical school as a star.
However, David carries a lot of secrets and baggage. His girlfriend is a vegan and despises his research methods and protocols. His mother and sister need his constant prot
Mandy White
Eight Lives by Susan Hurley was an interesting read. The story was good but there was so much medical jargon that I found myself getting a bit bored. I get that it is a medical book but some of it was just a bit over the top. There was also so many characters to try to keep track of that at times it hard to keep up. Overall I enjoyed this book but it is one that I loved. In saying that I did red it quickly.

It tells the story of David Tran, a former refugee who is now the golden boy of Australian
Thank you to #NetGalley and the publisher (Affirm Press) for granting me an ARC of this title, which is due to be published on 26 March 2019.
The plot unfolds from the perspectives of five individuals who are each closely connected with the untimely and tragic death of brilliant Vietnamese-Australian immunologist David (Dung) Tran. The nature of his death only becomes apparent by about the half-way point of the book, and is closely tied to his groundbreaking research into a "SuperMAB". (By way of
Mar 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Eight Lives begins in the aftermath of David Tran's death as those close to the young doctor recount their intertwined histories. They try to piece together the truth of his death, unprepared for the secrets they'll uncover about the "Golden Boy" of Australian medicine.

Eight Lives is Susan Hurley's debut novel, and what an spectacular debut it is. One of the aspects of this novel that captured me the most was the technical detail interwoven. Fear not, the impeccable pacing isn't slowed a bit. In
Karen ⊰✿
May 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
David Tran is the "Golden Boy" research Doctor who ends up dead. Told through rotating points of view of his friends and family, we discover why everyone blames himself for his death. And eventually we uncover the truth behind what happened.
I'm unsure how to rate and review this book. What I really enjoyed were the medical descriptions and research processes which were all given in layman's terms and quite fascinating. The book is also well written, well paced and easy to read. Plus I always enj
Mar 10, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: dnf, arc
I'm sorry to report that I could not finish this book. I read 25% of it and was....well..bored, sorry to say. There were so many POV's that I found the shifts between them jolting where they should be smooth and seamless. I couldn't care about any of the characters, not even the Golden Boy doctor who came across as some sort of medical god.

The premise was intriguing - a dodgy medical trial and a dead doctor prodigy - and if you like medical thrillers I would suggest giving it a go. But I felt s
Jeanette Lewis
Mar 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: aussie-authors
Thanks to Netgalley and Publishers Affirm Press for the opportunity to read and review this delightful E-book.

This read has quite a bit of medical jargon in it due to the author’s experience in medical research. Fortunately most of it includes explanations as part of the dialogue and should not be a hindrance to non medic readers. All the characters are in the first person giving accounts of their relationships with Dr Tran and their involvement with the events that unfolded. The story is compr
Jennifer (JC-S)
‘Golden Boy, that’s what we called him.’

As a child, Dung (David) Tran was a refugee from Vietnam. He and his mother were among those who undertook the perilous trip to Australia by boat. As an adult, Dr David Tran has become known as the Golden Boy of Australian medical research. He’s invented a drug which could transform immunology. But, just after eight volunteers have been recruited for the first human trial of the drug, David dies in very unusual circumstances.

What has happened, and why?

Feb 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Eight Lives is the based on a true story of a drug trial gone bad. Set in Australia, the "Golden Boy" doctor responsible for the trial dies under bizarre circumstances. He was working on an immunology drug. The story is told through multiple perspectives, and it's easy to get lost. Each voice is distinct with some likeable and others not. The characters have some relatable qualities and complex interactions and situations. The stakes are high in drug trials, and when things go bad, they go reall ...more
Keiran Rogers
Jan 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Disclaimer - I am writing from the Publisher of this book, but that shouldn't lessen your opinion of this review one bit. We're publishing this book because we fell in love with it front the very first page. It's a remarkably fresh and smart page-turner, with a twist at the end that will leave you thinking about this book for days. Even more remarkable is that it is inspired by a true story of a drug trial that went horribly wrong. I highly recommend getting your hands on this one in April 2019.
“When eating the fruit, think of the person who planted the tree.”

What scientist has not dreamed of discovering the drug that will cure cancer or any of the killer diseases out there? It would make them not only a lifesaving hero, but also a billionaire. But I am betting that the average person has no idea of the “behind the scenes” that is necessary before a new medication hits the market. According to one of the interesting facts the author discloses in this intelligent thriller is that only 1
The Cats’ Mother
Eight Lives is a highly accomplished Australian medical mystery novel, set in the unusual-for-fiction world of modern biomedical research. This was a fascinating read for me, as I work part time as a Medical Investigator in a clinical trials unit, fortunately not doing Phase 1 research though. The author, who knows her stuff having worked in the industry for decades, has crafted a complicated tale about what happens when greed, pride and ambition win out over love, honour and loyalty.

Dung ‘Davi
Cee Davis
Jun 19, 2019 rated it liked it
I feel like three stars is generous. I didn’t really like this book. Part of the reason is possibly my fault - I thought it was going to be more of a murder mystery, when it was really just like a scientific (?) mystery (it was so predictable, I use mystery lightly). The characters were all unlikeable and the story was dull. It skipped around between the five unlikeable characters, and I liked that even less. I respected that the author clearly had some scientific understanding, but I think her ...more
It takes some talent to tell a story about medical research studies and the risks/impacts it has on the human body. Then amongst the medical jargon to throw in side stories of refugees, corporate crime, domestic violence, animal rights and being a vegan. To her credit, Susan Hurley has produced an enlightening insight into what can go wrong in the world of pharmaceutical and medical testing. Her characters are a mixture of the likeable, the gullible, the greedy, the egotistical and the evil. A w ...more
Oct 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What a clever story! Great characters all with interesting back stories and tales to tell. So many twists and pieces of the puzzle revealed bit by bit. Make sure you read it to the very last line!!!
Hannelore Cheney
Jan 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Thank you NetGalley and Affirm Press for the eARC.
The 'Golden Boy' of medical research in Melbourne, Australia who supposedly came up with a wonder drug for immune diseases, dies in mysterious circumstances.
The story leading up to his death is told by several voices. He and his mother were 'boat people's who came to Australia after surviving a perilous boat trip. The book is excellent, a mystery set in the shadowy world of Big Pharma, a world that is filled with the promise of big money and peop
Angela H.
Jun 04, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: thriller, netgalley
Thank you Netgalley for providing this book for a honest review.

I was intrigued by the book summary but very disappointed in the execution for the following reason:

1) The book introduces Dung/Davie/David but the focus shifts to multiple perspectives. I found it to be very distracting.

2) There are references to medical jargon and abbreviations that I did not understand. I had to keep reading the brief explanation of the medical terminology when provided.

3) The use of foreign language was uniq
Trigger warnings: animal testing, death, death of a sibling, refugee experiences, drug abuse, (view spoiler)

Well this was a disappointment. I mean, it was fine?? But it was so. freaking. slow. And I was never especially motivated to actually pick it up because I didn't like any of the characters.

I finally sat down today and forced myself through the second half of the book be
Georgia P
Jun 12, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: on-my-bookcase
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Cate (support local bookstores!) M.
The story just kept getting better, albeit more twisty, as it went on. This was one of those unexpectedly good reads and one of the best from this genre this year. I loved the science aspect, but I'm not a STEM-y kind of girl so I don't know how well it went for others. A perfect summer thriller!

Disclaimer: This ARC was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Kate Larkindale
Mar 24, 2019 rated it liked it
The premise of this book was interesting - a promising young doctor makes a discovery that might change the world, only to have everything go terribly wrong at the trail period. Unfortunately the book's structure made it difficult to enjoy what should have been a cracking medical thriller.

There are eight different POVs in this book, and while a couple of them were distinctive, the others blurred into one another, making it difficult to remember who each character was and what role they played in
Apr 13, 2019 rated it liked it
I am going to preface this review with a disclaimer: I worked in this particular field at the time this book was set which will colour my review.

This story is slow to start but picks up towards the end of the book, and gives a really good insight into the commercialisation aspects of immunology and medicine in general. There are multiple character viewpoints, some of which are more engaging than others. The science was reasonably clear and well explained, and I appreciated how different charact
Apr 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
Eight Lives is quite an unusual and unique book. A medical murder mystery combined with scientific insight into pathology and the process of bringing pharmacological drugs to market. It felt eerie reading about Cytokine storms while isolating from Covid-19 but provided an understanding of why some Covid sufferers fall off a "cliff" during their illness. A cytokine storm is when the immune system over produces an immune response that attacks the body's own cells.

After finishing the book I conseq
Feb 26, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: netgalley, gave-up-on
I though the story sounded totally intriguing. A brilliant scientist is killed after he has just signed a deal to distribute a drug which will be a massive advance in medical treatments for millions.

We hear the story of this brilliant medical researcher Dung Pham through the eyes of five different characters. At first I was really caught up in the story. The refugee boy who was rescued with his mother after surviving awful circumstances. His almost adoption into a rich Australian family so that
The Book Squirrel
I read an ARC.

This book is about the drug-development industry. It is told from different character perspectives (multiple first-person narrators), which is not my favourite narrative form, but it worked for this book and the characters were different enough to keep track of them. It also jumps around a bit in the timeline (between present and flashbacks), which was confusing in some places and probably the main downfall of this novel.

It was gripping enough to read in one day. I recommend it to
Feb 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
Pretty amazing although as a biotech grad living in Melbourne this might just have been written for Me!

The first half is ridiculously slow. We hear the back story of who all the characters are and their connection with a dead Vietnamese doctor and a drug trial

Then whoosh it takes off running and we have a Big Little Lies In Biotech novel. A Case of Need, a medical thriller, a "but what really happened" point of view mystery.

Didn't see how the end could wrap up, reminded me of One of Us
Julie Garner
Jan 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc, crime-thriller
I received an ARC of this book.
It was been a while since I have read a medical thriller that kept me so entranced. Who was the Golden Boy and what happened to him and his miracle drug?
This tale is told through five different voices as we come to understand what happened to young Dung Pham. It opens our eyes to the competitive world of medical research and how 1 small oversight can have such disastrous consequences.
There are characters within this book who you absolutely are drawn to dislike and
« previous 1 3 4 5 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Dictionary of Lost Words
  • Bruny
  • The Good Turn (Cormac Reilly, #3)
  • The Wife and the Widow
  • The Weekend
  • Life Before
  • Six Minutes
  • Room for a Stranger
  • Silver
  • Where the Dead Go
  • Inheritance of Secrets
  • There Was Still Love
  • The Erratics
  • The Bluffs
  • Maybe the Horse Will Talk
  • Taking Tom Murray Home
  • Wolfe Island
  • A Room Made of Leaves
See similar books…
Susan Hurley is a health economist and writer. Her work has appeared in national and international publications, including The Australian, The Lancet and The Big Issue. Eight Lives is her debut novel.

News & Interviews

Need another excuse to treat yourself to a new book this week? We’ve got you covered with the buzziest new releases of the day. To create our...
7 likes · 2 comments
No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »