Review: Do No Harm by Christina McDonald

If you are a fan of Breaking Bad, then this might be a book you would be interested in. I have only watched a couple of Break Bad episodes but I love the idea a regular every day person faced with an unprecedented choice to sell drugs to try and save themselves or someone they love.

This book caught my eye for that reason, the main character Emma, decides to sell drugs to fund her son’s cancer treatment and as a mother I can say that I would do anything if it meant saving my son’s life. I could immediately sympathize with the main character before cracking open the book based on the bonds of motherhood.

Not only did this book promise to be a unique medical thriller but it also explored the darker world of drugs, addiction, and all the dangers that come along with that lifestyle. I enjoyed this one a lot more than I anticipated. When I first picked it up I was coming off of a long romance binge and wasn’t in the mood to read a thriller……but this one grabbed me!


Emma loves her life. She’s the mother of a precocious kindergartener, married to her soulmate—a loyal and loving police detective—and has a rewarding career as a doctor at the local hospital.

But everything comes crashing down when her son, Josh, is diagnosed with a rare form of cancer.

Determined to save him, Emma makes the risky decision to sell opioids to fund the life-saving treatment he needs. But when somebody ends up dead, a lethal game of cat and mouse ensues, her own husband leading the chase. With her son’s life hanging in the balance, Emma is dragged into the dark world of drugs, lies, and murder. Will the truth catch up to her before she can save Josh? (summary from Goodreads)


I haven’t read a ton of books that I would call ‘medical thrillers’. I used to read a lot of the Kay Scarpetta books, which I would somewhat consider medical thrillers, but that’s about it. I love the medical field though and medical tv dramas so finding a book thats a true medical thrillers was a nice little treat for me. This one definitely has a strong medical component. I love how this one explored so many important issues, but one at the forefront was the cost of medical treatments. The mother in this book had an impossible choice… her child but for a price. When she couldn’t afford the medical care he desperately needed she decided to sell her soul instead. I think that’s such am important issue and I loved how this book took that on.

As I mentioned before, I found Emma to be very sympathetic. Like her, I would do anything for my child and I think mother readers will find a lot to love and identify with in Emma’s character and the larger story. I thought the author did a great job at creating a character who might have done questionable things, but for the right reasons and then as the story went on, the author continued to explore how those choices impacted the main character. It was a wonderfully written book and I really applauded the author for creating such a complex character and multilayered plot.

When I first started reading this one, I wasn’t sure that it was going to be for me. But after only a couple of pages, I was hooked and wanting more. This would be a good book club pick too as there are so many different aspects to discuss—-medical bill costs, opioid addiction, motherhood. So many great discussion topics. This one had darker moments and I think readers will enjoy the moral ambiguity of this one. I know I certainly did and I was left thinking about this one long after I finished reading. I feel like this story could have happened to anyone and I thought that it is such a relevant topic.

Over all I loved this one so much more than I was expecting to! At first I thought it was going to just be ok, but after only a couple of pages, I was hooked on the story and invested in the characters. I am looking forward to reading more from this author and would highly recommend this one to thriller fans, especially those who enjoy medical thrillers.

Book Info and Rating

Paperback, 368 pages

Expected publication: February 16th 2021 by Gallery Books

ISBN1982142618 (ISBN13: 9781982142612)

Free review copy provided by publisher, Gallery Books, in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and in no way influenced.

Rating: 4.5 stars

Genre: thriller, mystery, medical thriller


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