Cover image for Lethal measures
Lethal measures
Goldberg, Leonard S.
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Publication Information:
New York : Dutton, [2000]

Physical Description:
325 pages ; 24 cm
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Author Notes

Leonard Goldberg, M.D ., is a consulting physician in Los Angeles and is affiliated with UCLA Medical Center, where he is a clinical professor. He is also a highly sought-after expert witness in medical malpractice trials. He is the author of Deadly Exposure, Deadly Harvest, Deadly Care, Deadly Medicine , and A Deadly Practice (all available from Signet). A native of South Carolina, Dr. Goldberg makes his home in Los Angeles.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Domestic terrorists used to appear only in novels. With the Oklahoma City bombing and other disasters, including supposed accidents that can be blamed on them, they have become front-page news. Goldberg neatly combines the fictional and newspaper types of terrorists. His acutely observant, quick-thinking forensic pathologist series heroine, Joanna Blalock, and her good, gray protector, ace-detective Jake Sinclair, become involved with the brutal and clever terrorist clutch, Ten Righteous. The vengeful Eva, the band's callous leader, is a character out of paranoiac media fantasies about Idaho survivalists and black helicopters: she kills and tosses aside coworkers, police, and medical personnel used in her "project" as if they were small animals. Joanna gets sidetracked from Eva and crew by a handsome, smooth-talking banker, until he loses his temper. About time, for meanwhile Eva has cut her payroll by four Mexican assistants in a lethal test run for the main show: offing the president--of the U.S. Goldberg grips the gold again in a believable thriller with one humdinger of a tension-filled finale. --William Beatty

Publisher's Weekly Review

Intrepid heroine Joanna Blalock, the beautiful and brilliant medical investigator from Los Angeles, returns for her sixth outing in this fast-moving but oddly flavorless medical thriller. This time she confronts a group of terrorist bombers plotting to kill the president of the U.S., but she has no inkling of the connection when she is called upon, as a forensic pathologist, to investigate the carnage and debris left after a catastrophic explosion kills several dozen people in a quiet neighborhood. Assigned to this grim task, Blalock quickly makes several intriguing discoveries, chiefly among them is that several of the victims were in the terminal stages of fatal diseases, and some of them wore artificial limbs. Equally strange, the evidence indicates they were actually making or holding the bombs at the time of explosion, leading Blalock and her on-and-off lover, homicide detective Jake Sinclair, to speculate that the victims may have been terrorists who killed themselves, so there's nothing further to worry about. That theory, however, is demolished when the terrorists strike again. They kill the only witness to the explosion, then bomb Blalock's lab, destroying almost all remaining evidence, then they kidnap her and set their murderous sights on the president. Though Goldberg (Deadly Exposure, etc.) keeps a lively pace, elements of this thriller lack the riveting suspense of his earlier outings. As the plot grinds to a predictable close, his cast of characters does even less to engage the imagination. The terrorists, members of a group called the Ten Righteous, are stock villains whose personalities are as banal as their motivation for killing the president. The supporting cast is also disappointing, but Goldberg, a physician himself, enlivens the book with his formidable knowledge of forensic investigation, creating a graphic but believable foundation for his tale. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Goldberg's sixth medical suspense novel (after Deadly Exposure) reunites forensic pathologist Joanna Blalock and Lieutenant Jake Sinclair. Sleuths and ex-lovers, they team up to investigate a catastrophic explosion in Los Angeles that threatens nationals safety and security. Blalock is a whiz at deciphering clues, particularly those based in pathology; Sinclair contributes toughness, determination, and years of experience in police work. Together they racec against time to unravel an intricate and savage pl;ot devised and implemented by the Ten Righteous, a fanatical anti-government group that infiltrates a major hospital, preys on cancer patients, and threatens numerous others_including the president of the United States . The mystery of this novel is exciting and intellectually interesting; this reader felt challenged to slove it throughout. The Blalock-Sinclair relationship provides great chemistry and a sense of romance. Goldberg, a consulting physician in Los Angeles, has written an absorbing tale appropriate for all fiction collections.-Linda M.G. Katz, Florence A. Moore Lib. of Medicine, MCP Hahnemann Univ., Philadelphia (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



Chapter One Wednesday, March 10, 9:48 P.M. The Mardi Gras festival in West Hollywood brought out the cross-dressers in force. Most were men in cocktail dresses and evening gowns. A few had on Playboy bunny outfits despite the chilly night air. Onlookers lined the sidewalks, pointing and laughing as a pair in miniskirts and high heels blew kisses as they passed. A flasher in a raincoat quickly exposed and covered himself. The crowd roared. Two cops appeared out of nowhere and escorted the man away. The crowd booed.     Eva Reineke watched one of the policemen speak into a walkie-talkie. Her eyes went back to the crowd, trying to spot other cops listening with earpieces or talking into handheld transmitters. She didn't see any, but she knew they were there. She could sense their presence.     Someone bumped into her from behind and pushed her forward. She turned abruptly, her hand reaching instinctively for the semiautomatic weapon in her waistband.     "Sorry, little lady," the drunk slurred. He looked at her for a moment, then smiled crookedly. "Or are you a little boy?"     Eva tried to move around the drunk, who was wearing the uniform of an Air Force colonel. There were no ribbons or decorations on his chest. A fake, she thought. It was probably a costume.     The man grabbed her shoulders and pulled her close. His breath smelled like stale beer. "Let's take off that cap and see if you're a little boy."     Eva brought her knee up forcefully and slammed it into the drunk's crotch. The man dropped like a dead weight, gagging and groping for his testicles. Unhurriedly Eva walked away and waited a full ten seconds before glancing back. The drunk was still curled up on the sidewalk. No one had come to his assistance. The crowd was too busy watching the freak show.     Eva came to the window of a music store and stopped to study her reflection. She was wearing combat fatigues and a billed cap that was pulled down to the tip of her nose. The only exposed part of her face was her lips and chin. Her gaze went to the reflections of the people passing behind her. They were all civilians. No uniforms, no cops.     "Hey! This guy is hurt!" a voice cried out.     Eva walked into the store and browsed, occasionally glancing at the front window. People were hurrying by to see the new show. A sick man lying on the sidewalk. That would be more interesting than a bunch of loony transvestites. Fucking people, she thought disgustedly and wondered for the thousandth time what America was coming to.     "Can I help you?" asked a young clerk wearing jeans and a tank top with no bra.     "I'm looking for gospel," Eva said.     "In the back near the door," the clerk replied, pointing. "If you need any help, let me know."     "You bet."     "That's a cool outfit you've got on. Where did you get it?"     "Army-Navy store."     Eva strolled to the rear, and when the clerk wasn't looking she slipped out the back door. The parking lot was full, the attendant leaning against a wall, smoking a joint and listening to rap music on a boom box. Eva hurried across the dimly lighted lot, then stepped over a low cement wall and went down a narrow alley until she reached Fletcher Drive. She stopped, moved into the shadows and waited to see if anyone was following her. A dog barked. A television set up ahead was playing too loud. The alley remained deserted.     Eva walked up the street that led into the Hollywood Hills. It was after 10:00 P.M. and most of the houses were dark. Those few with their lights on had the living room drapes tightly closed. No doubt their doors were bolted and secured, Eva thought grimly. And some of the homeowners probably had loaded weapons because this was not a safe neighborhood. But the people on the block wouldn't have to worry about their safety much longer. Soon they'd be dead. The treacherous would die for sure, and so would some of the innocent. Eva had no regrets about that. When God wanted to stamp out evil, he frequently killed innocent people as well. He did it in Sodom and Gomorrah. He did it in Noah's time with the flood. It was God's way.     Eva glanced quickly up and down the street before she crossed over. There were a few cars parked along the curb, but she recognized them. They belonged to neighbors. She heard a rustling sound somewhere close by and stopped, all of her senses now alerted. Her eyes went to a nearby hedge as she reached for her weapon. Then she saw what it was. A neighbor's cat was stalking something in the bushes.     She moved quickly to the door and knocked once sharply. Then she knocked twice more.     "Who's there?" a male voice asked.     "One of the Righteous," Eva said.     The door opened and Eva entered a small living room. There was no furniture, not even a chair. The venetian blinds were old and yellow and drawn shut.     "Where are they?" Eva asked quietly.     "In the kitchen."     "Tell me everything that happened. I want the exact words that were spoken."     "Well, some of it was in Spanish, so I--"     "Just tell me what you remember." Eva cut him off. "I want it word for word."     Rudy Payte stroked his goatee as he thought back. He was stocky and well built, in his late twenties, with his hair shaved down to his scalp. "I went to take a leak, and when I came back I heard one of them speaking English."     "You were still in the hall outside the kitchen door. Right?"     "Right. They didn't know I was there," Rudy said, keeping his voice low. "Anyway, I thought it was kind of strange that the guy was speaking English. They always talk in Spanish when they're alone."     "What was he saying?"     "He wanted to know how much the reward would be if he told them which bank was going to be robbed."     Eva's face hardened. "He had to be talking to the cops."     "Or the feds." Rudy nodded. "One of his friends said something in Spanish, and then the guy asked the cops how they could be sure they'd get the reward money."     "And then?"     "That's when I coughed real loud to let them know I was coming back into the kitchen."     "And he hung up?"     "Yeah. They went back to speaking Spanish real quick."     Eva moved over to the venetian blinds and cracked them apart to look out. The street was still quiet. An old man was walking his German shepherd. The dog was casually sniffing a tree. Eva turned back to Rudy. "Are you sure they used your cellular phone?"     "Positive," Rudy said at once. "It was still warm from the guy's hand when I picked it up. And there ain't any other phones in the kitchen."     "Good," Eva said, frowning. "And we know there's no way they can trace your cell phone number to this address."     Rudy hesitated, unsure. "Maybe there's a way."     Eva shook her head. "The machine the cops have will only tell them the phone number that made the call, not the address."     "But they can look that up."     "And they'll find the phony Culver City address I gave when I got the phone."     She looked through the blinds once more, wondering if the cops had had the time to pinpoint the location of the cellular phone call. She knew it could be done by plotting the lines of transmissions as they bounced off the satellite orbiting high above the earth. That was how they'd located O.J. Simpson in his Bronco on the freeway. It could be done, she thought again, but it would take a fair amount of time to do it. Turning back to Rudy, she asked, "How long was he on the phone?"     "Not more than a few minutes."     "Be specific."     "Two minutes," Rudy estimated. "Three at the very most."     Eva nodded, but she thought he was lying. The Mexicans weren't stupid. They wouldn't have picked up the phone just because Rudy had gone to the bathroom. He had probably turned the shower on and stayed in there forever, like he usually did.     "What do you want to do?" Rudy broke into her thoughts.     "Make believe it didn't happen."     Rudy looked at her sharply. "What!"     "Just make believe everything is fine and follow my lead."     Eva walked down the hall and through swinging doors into the kitchen. Rudy was a step behind her, a fake grin on his face.     The four Hispanic men standing around the table waved and smiled at her.     "Evita!"     "Hola, Evita!"     "Buenas noches, Evita!"     The men knew her name was Eva, but they called her Evita after Evita Perón, about whom they had learned in the movies. The great Evita, who had worked so hard for the poor and downtrodden of her beloved Argentina. The great Evita, who had helped so many. And their Evita would help them as well. They would rob a bank for her, and she would make sure their families were financially secure. Each man would go to his grave knowing his family was looked after.     The men even thought she looked like Evita Perón, with her slim body and pretty face and green eyes and dark blond hair pulled back severely into a bun. They had argued about her age. Some believed she was in her early thirties. Others thought she was closer to forty. All agreed she would be heaven to sleep with.     "Evita, would it be possible for us to have some food?" the tallest of the Hispanic men asked. "We have not eaten all day."     "Of course." Eva smiled at the man, wondering if he was the betrayer, the one who had talked with the cops on the phone. "But first we must begin practicing for the bank robbery. Each of you has been given a protective vest, which you will wear at the time of the robbery. The vests are made of a special plastic material that will stop bullets in case of a gunfight. You must wear it under your coat to protect yourself. On the day of the holdup, you will have your body armor on for over two hours. That's a long time. We must make certain the vests will not cause any blisters or skin irritation, even after hours of wear. So tonight you will put the vests on and leave them on for a full hour to see if there is any reaction."     The tall man nodded his understanding.     "Please put them on now."     The vests were heavy sheets of bright orange plastic. They covered the chest and back and were held in place by Velcro straps. As the men put them on, they made brief eye contact with one another. All hoped that they would never have to wear the vests, that they could cut a deal with the police and collect a reward large enough to give their families security. All of the men had incurable diseases, all were certain to die within months. They were poor men whose deaths would leave their families destitute. But Evita had heard of their plight and approached them, offering a way out. The bank robbery would provide security for their wives and children.     "Good," Eva said, when they were finished. "For the next hour, I want you to walk around the house, wearing your vests at all times. Do not, under any circumstances, go outside. Understood?"     The men nodded.     "Good. We will return within the hour with food and drink for you."     "Gracias, Evita!"     "Gracias!"     Eva walked out of the kitchen, Rudy just behind her. Halfway down the hall, he grabbed her arm.     "You can't trust those bastards," he growled in a low voice. "They'll wait a few minutes and then they'll--"     Eva placed an index finger against his lips. "Shhh!"     They went out into the chilly night and scanned the neighborhood, looking for people or things that shouldn't have been there. The cat was still stalking something in the bushes. The old man and his dog were no longer in sight. Eva counted the cars parked at the curb, making certain their number hadn't changed while she was in the house. She signaled to Rudy, and they quickly crossed the street and got into their car.     Rudy turned the ignition key. "You're making a big mistake."     "Drive," Eva said tonelessly. "Keep the headlights off until we get to the big intersection."     Eva took off her cap and the dark blond wig she was wearing beneath it. She shook her red hair loose and fluffed it with her hands. Leaning forward, she wriggled out of the top of her combat fatigues.     Rudy watched out of the corner of his eye, admiring her breasts as she slipped into a football jersey with the number 32 on it. Then she reached into the glove compartment and took out a remote-control device that was the size of a pager. Rudy smiled, thinking he should have known better than to underestimate her. She was smart as hell, twice as smart as any man he'd ever met.     Now they were approaching the intersection.     "Switch your lights on," Eva told him.     "Which way do I turn?"     "Left. Away from the freak show."     At the intersection the light was red. They stopped and watched two transvestites stroll hand in hand across the crosswalk. One was wearing a miniskirt, the other a skintight unitard.     "This place is like Sodom and Gomorrah," Rudy grumbled. "I wish those two were in the house with the Mexicans."     "Their time will come too."     The light turned green.     Eva primed the remote control and pressed down on a red button.     In a fraction of a second an electrical impulse reached the detonator in the C-4 that was embedded in the orange vests the Mexicans had secured to their chests. There was a sudden flash, followed by a blast so powerful that it caused the pavement beneath the car to shake violently.     Rudy held on tightly to the steering wheel. "Whoa!"     Eva put her hand on the dashboard and braced herself. Car alarms were going off everywhere. People were running about, screaming and looking for cover. It took another few seconds for the car to stop vibrating. Eva put the remote-control device back into the glove compartment. "And that takes care of our friends."     "Jeez! How much C-four did you use?"     "Two bricks in each vest."     "Man, oh man! They won't find an intact toenail from those guys."     "That's the general idea," Eva said and pointed ahead. "The light is green. You can go now." Copyright © 2000 Leonard S. Goldberg. All rights reserved.