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Publisher's Summary

Straight out of today's hospitals and labs, and tomorrow's headlines, comes a frightening, scalpel-sharp thriller from medical insider Joshua Spanogle. In an astounding debut, Spanogle takes us on an all-too-real race against time as a young doctor enters the dark side of scientific research, desperate to stop a terrifying epidemic before it is too late.

In Baltimore's St. Raphael's Hospital, three newly admitted patients are among society's most helpless citizens: female residents of Baltimore's group homes for the mentally impaired, their bodies racked by a virus the likes of which no one at St. Raphael's has ever seen.

Dr. Nathaniel McCormick is one of the first on the scene. A young investigator from the Centers for Disease Control, Nate is paid to explore the bizarre, the exotic, and the baffling, from superviruses to bioterrorism. But as soon as Nate begins to investigate the lives and habits of the victims, he knows something is terribly wrong. Using all his skills as a medical detective, Nate soon zeroes in on the "vector", the one person who had sexual contact with the first victims. And when that suspect is found murdered, Nate fears that the disease he's chasing may not be an act of nature, but of man.

With his brash style angering his superiors and fellow investigators alike, Nate turns to an old colleague and former lover, Dr. Brooke Michaels, for help. Together the two investigators follow a twisting trail of clues to a discovery that is at once groundbreaking and unspeakable. And as a circle of treachery tightens around him, Nate is about to confront the most chilling revelation of all, and a past Nate himself has been trying to escape.

At once a taut medical thriller and a riveting psychological portrait of a young doctor on the edge, Isolation Ward is a tale of runaway tension, with a brilliant "what-if" premise that is harrowing, heartbreaking, and impossible to wrench from your imagination.

©2006 Joshua Spanogle; (P)2006 Books on Tape

Critic Reviews

"[A] tightly woven debut thriller....Engrossing and intellectually wrought." (Kirkus Reviews)
"Spanogle is a funny, smart, and skilled writer at the beginning of what readers will hope is a long and prolific career." (Publishers Weekly)
"Combines a wonderfully flawed yet stereotypically smart-ass hero with a plot that moves as rapidly as a lethal virus." (Entertainment Weekly)

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Best Medical thriller I have listened to

Would you listen to Isolation Ward again? Why?

This book was absolutely one of the best medical thrillers I have ever read/listened to. Yes I would read it again. The characters were well fleshed out and the plot kept me guessing until the end with a double conflict going on. Even guessing "who done it" only gives the reader 1/2 of the conclusion.

What other book might you compare Isolation Ward to and why?

This is on the same order as the Surgeon or the Apprentice by Tess Gerritson.

What does Scott Brick bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

I think Scott Brick is a fantastic narrator. He brings so much to the characters he reads. His sarcasm and inflections would make any book a great listen.

Any additional comments?

I have purchased Joshua Spanogle"s next book Flawless, I wish he would write more books. This is an author I would love to read more.

11 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Just shoot me

If there is a medical thriller cliche missing from this book, I would be quite surprised. I kept telling myself that there must be something original to it, some redeeming twist, and so I listened and listened for h-o-u-r-s in hapless anticipation until my brain began to gel. I can't believe I blew 2 book credits on this turkey. Unless you are an absolute medical thriller junkie who never tires of the same old routine, with the same old villains who stand in the way of saving lives to protect their power, their budgets, their pet theories, yadda, yadda, yadda, and the same old young upstart who knows how to save the human population better than all the professionals of any discipline in the universe, my advice is to save your credits and move on.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Clumsy & Predictable

I did manage to finish this book. It was narrated just fine, but the book itself was poorly constructed and overall not worth my time or money. Unbelievable plot combined with silly characters left me determined to write this review. I can't come up with a reason someone might want to read this, unless you are perhaps related to the author.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall


This audio book was the best audio book I have listened to so far. I am a special investigator for the state hospital and the audio book placed my emotions into "high gear." I recommend the audio book to those who are fascinated with detective stories. As an investigator, there are episodes in the audio book, which lend to imagination. However, the book can be credible in the medical and social world of today’s "cloak and dagger." The main character in the book "the hero" is what I feel is liken to me when it comes to doing "what's right." I felt a bond with this character as he attempted to do what was right as a fact finder and "do good" for those who cannot protect themselves. I found that the book correlated with the work I do and found this book to be enjoyable as I listened to it during my daily commute.

I gave this book 5 stars, I could correlate to what I do as an investigator and protector of the mentally retarded. I RECOMMEND THIS BOOK to all those in the medical field and detective "buffs" alike.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Inane and obnoxious

I have read over 260 audio books and I would rate this book at the bottom. The character is obnoxious, irrating, and immature. Even Scott Brick couldn't save this turkey. In fact, it seemed like Brick hated this book as much as I did. "She had cheekbones that could cut glass." Need I say more.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Louise
  • 07-27-07

Loved It!!

Normally I listen for 2 hours a day. Isolation Ward took me 2 days. I couldn't leave this novel. Characters are clearly defined. Some of whom are loved others despised.
Trust me if you like intrigue you will enjoy this novel. I am anxious for his next book.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Barry
  • Katy, TX, United States
  • 01-19-08

Oustanding medical thriller

I hesitated before spending a credit on this and I'm glad I did.
I'm a big fan of the medical thriller, and this book fits very nicely into the genre... part medical thriller, part detective story, part police procedural. The characterization develops very well, especially the main character, and there are plenty of tense moments to keep you interested.
Of course, Scott Brick's narration is superb as always.
Isolation Ward is on the level of another of my favorite medical thriller authors, Michael Palmer. And it is a notch above most of Robin Cook's writings.
The story line kept its pace well, mixing fact with fiction along the way. The best medical thrillers are the ones that make you think this sort of thing could actually happen, and Isolation Ward is no exception.
This is an excellent example of what a medical thriller should be.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Lynn
  • Plymouth, MN, USA
  • 12-07-07

Interesting but not realistic

I enjoyed the book as a medical thriller. What put me off was the over the top heroics and cliched dialogue. I was entertained, but dismayed that I spent two credits on it. As always, I loved Scott Brick's narration. I did download the next book - I'm willing (and hoping) to see that the second effort will be an improvement.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Good First Effort

Very nice debut for young medical student author. Would have been a good 8-hour listen (but at 16+ hours, it just isn't strong enough). I'm an avowed "unabridged man" - I've listened to 140 unabridged books (mostly mysteries)from Audible. This is the first time I've wished I had downloaded the abridged version. My guess is that is a rollicking good listen.

I loved the medical mystery. I liked the irreverent tone of the first-person storytelling, but the hero and main characters were a bit thin (the love story aspect hit me as quite unbelievable). Scott Brick - great, as always.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Martha
  • Gilbertsville, PA, USA
  • 05-13-06

Best medical thriller in many years

Medical thrillers are my passion. I've read them all and I can tell you, this is the best I've read in a long time. Something that distinguishes good thrillers from bad ones is credibility, and that's where most fall short, and this one is particularly good at that. I am myself a physician scientist as the main character in this book, and it's clear the author did his homework in thoroghly researching the areas covered by the plot. Highly recommended.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Overall
  • Emma
  • 07-08-11

Whingeing Main Character

I found the narrator a bit dull to be honest, maybe it was the American twang that I found a tad annoying.

The story itself was good. Lots of twists in the plot and plenty of scientific references, which I like to think, if I can understand it, I must be quite intelligent.

I didn't feel any sympathy for the whigeing main Character Dr Nathaniel McCormack, In fact I really disliked him!!

But the plot was engrossing and I found myself guessing, wrongly, about what was happening quite a few times!!

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Little Miss Happy
  • 12-16-16

Quincy meets Rambo!

You need to kind of go with the flow with this book..... very strange and drawn out storyline ..... but the main character's dry humour is fabulous. He's definitely a "Quincy meets Rambo" character and the book charts a personal journey story parallel with the twists and turns of the main drama. I would say that you have to really listen to this book - not background listening.... there's a lot of important detail which if missed - leaves you querying stuff half an hour later!

Loses a star for being a little convoluted! Great if you like to twist your brain cells around Virology 102 !