Nancy McKibben's Reviews > The Resurrectionist

The Resurrectionist by Matthew Guinn
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really liked it
bookshelves: historical-fiction, suspense, reviewed
Recommended for: readers who like Southern Gothic, readers interested in questions of race

The Resurrectionist
By Matthew Gunn

The Resurrectionist is chiefly the story of the slave Nemo, purchased by a Southern medical school to secretly “resurrect” the bodies of African-Americans for dissection. In the present day, Dr. Jacob Thacker of the same medical university is on probation for prescription drug abuse and working in the PR department in the interim, when a construction crew finds the bones of these same involuntary cadavers buried in the basement of the original medical building.

While the present day medical administration scrambles to effect a cover-up of this embarrassing revelation, we follow the history of Nemo, who is as good a surgeon as the dean of the medical school (although never recognized as such, of course) and becomes a de facto instructor, staying on even after Reconstruction.

Since we are familiar with spin doctors - pardon the pun - and the knee-jerk reaction to hide any scandal, we are more interested in Nemo’s story, although the reader winces at some of the passages in which the African-American must bow to the ignorance of certain white medical students. But Nemo knows what he knows and who he is and the reader will be cheering him on even as her jaw drops at the surprise ending.

To his credit, the author provides an unexpected ending to the present day story as well, but Nemo is certainly the star of the book.

Given the cover and the title, I was expecting a story more in the vein of The Alienist. But The Resurrectionist holds its own in a different way, and its story of revenge and restitution makes a compelling read.
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Reading Progress

July 21, 2013 – Started Reading
July 21, 2013 – Finished Reading
July 23, 2013 – Shelved
July 23, 2013 – Shelved as: historical-fiction
July 23, 2013 – Shelved as: suspense
July 23, 2013 – Shelved as: reviewed

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