PRIMORDIAL by David Sobel, is a Crichton-like thriller that centers on the plights of two scientists separated by decades and borders but united in their obsessive quest for the physical location of the soul. Jonas, a hospital attorney, begins to suspect that someone is targeting patients in his NYC hospital. With the help of two residents, his search for answers will bring him face to face with a killer.
Thought-provoking, both scientifically and ethically, PRIMORDIAL is a story that spans decades of medical and legal mystery, history and suspense. It will transport readers to a Nazi medical laboratory in World War II, then back to present day New York City where an unlikely trio, Jonas the experienced hospital lawyer, “Early” the quirky urology resident, and Rachel, the wickedly smart neurosurgery resident, struggle to piece together a series of unexplained killings. Debut author Dr. Sobel weaves his medical expertise and extensive historical research in a twisted tangle of secrets that will keep readers on the edge of their seats.
Read on for an interview with David L. Sobel and an excerpt of Primordial.
Q: What is your background?
A: I got both my undergraduate and law school degrees from The University of Michigan. I practiced corporate law for several years in New York City at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison. I went to medical school at The University of Illinois at Chicago and then did my urology training at Rush University Hospital. As a resident, I co-founded the healthcare company Emmi Solutions and was their Chief Medical Officer until selling the company to Wolters Kluwer. I am currently a urologist with the University of Colorado.
Q: Do you have any interesting writing habits or superstitions?
A: I had to be creative to find the moments to write. Medicine is often filled with “hurry up and wait” moments. So, I carried my iPad with me everywhere. PRIMORDIAL was written in emergency rooms as I waited for a CT scan to come back or in the pre-op area as I waited for nursing to wheel a patient to the operating room.
Q: What was the inspiration for Primordial?
A: The germination of the idea came at the beginning of medical school. I remember starting our cadaver dissection when a classmate nervously joked, “I hope we don’t bang up against the soul.” It was the first time that I considered the soul residing in our cells.
Q: What do you hope readers take away from Primordial?
A: Evil is real. People are flawed.
Q: What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
A: That I could finish the book. At times, it felt like a marathon. Other times, it felt like an unruly beast. But weaving the story together across all those pages provided great satisfaction.
Purchase your copy of Primordial here.
She had always liked the color blue. Both lofty and cool, the color calmed her.
When she was young and still shy, she would buy Italian ice from the pull cart on the corner of 14th and Avenue A. She would stretch to peer over the lip of the insulated cart and point to her desire. The ice was always blue, its flavor indescribable. She would sit, secretively, on a bench in the middle of the block with her ice wrapped in a white paper bag. On those hot summer days, she would suck on that ice until her lips, blanched and stained, looked like those of a corpse.
She was much older now, and summer was long gone. She was on the eleventh floor of the Bleekman Metropolitan Hospital, one of the oldest hospitals in New York City. The surgical rehab floor, to be exact. She had broken her hip five weeks ago when she slipped and fell. Ice can give, but it can also take away. To her great surprise, she had somehow become one of the frail elderly roaming the Upper East Side of Manhattan, plodding from sidewalk to bus and then back again. She remembered falling. How quickly it happened, and the strange perspective looking up from the dark asphalt. Surgery, hip pinned, post-op pneumonia, antibiotics, deep breaths, blood clot, blood thinners, small steps. So much pain and fear. She hated the helplessness of being a patient.
It was strange to her, then, that she now felt wonderful. She knew it must be late; the bustle of the halls seemed to have quieted. She was dizzy, and this kindly doctor had looked after her and she was calmed. He put something in her IV and talked to her so sweetly. She liked him a lot. He took his time and seemed to care. So many doctors were rushing, but he was slow and deliberate and beautiful. Not dizzy, she thought. I am euphoric. I am a schoolgirl cutting class to meet my friend Mary for a matinee off Broadway. I am a newlywed. I am forever. She tried to lift her head, but could not.
She wasn’t scared when he leaned over her to attach that funny contraption to her bed frame. She thought it was a metal spider, but he called it a “Halo.” Was he an angel? He seemed so real, and when he brushed her cheek she actually felt a little thrill down below and she chastised herself for having such thoughts at her age. Especially with someone so assured and . . . lovely. The word came to her from across a field. He was lovely and she wasn’t afraid because he was with her. He held her gaze as he talked to her. His eyes were the lightest shade of ice blue and she was, again, calmed.
She thought it was strange when the small drill was positioned just inside her right nostril. When it pierced her mastoid sinus, she found she couldn’t move, couldn’t speak. Her heart quickened and a single tear escaped, tracing the lines of her cheek. He told her to look at him. So calm. She saw lights around him. Were they stars? No fear. No pain. She thought that she might be dying.
She was right.
David Sobel, M.D. is a board-certified practicing urologist who specializes in sexual medicine and is a faculty member at the University of Colorado. He has over 21 years of experience and graduated from the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine. Prior to becoming a physician, he was a corporate lawyer with Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison in NYC. Dr. Sobel is also a founder of Emmi Solutions, a company that creates education modules that assist patients with their medical care. He lives in Denver with his wife and two children.