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November 30, 2016

Inside with a Cardiac Surgeon Turned Thriller Writer

Dueling in Death's Backyard

We’d like to welcome Thomas Jay Berger, MD to Novels Alive TV! Thomas Berger has penned DUELING IN DEALTH’S BACKYARD, a medical thriller that will keep you up all night turning pages as quickly as you can read.

I like to think that I’m unique as a writer of medical thrillers.  I realize there are other doctors and medical professionals who write thrillers, but my book centers around a very specific type of doctor, a cardiac surgeon.  As a retired cardiac surgeon myself, I know the level of intense concentration, dedication and responsibility there is in this kind of field.  I wanted my character to be part of that.

Some MD writers, like Michael Chrichton, have never actually practiced medicine at all.  Others like Michael Palmer practiced for a short time in important but relatively mundane specialties.  They may be great writers, but they do not provide the insights of a surgeon dealing daily with life or death issues.  No successful fiction author has ever been a cardiac surgeon and no other cardiac surgeon has my credentials as a writer.  I won the Faulkner award, for a short story, over 700 other entries, and the judge was C. Michael Curtis, iconic story editor for the Atlantic Monthly.

No one on this planet but me, who has intentionally stopped a heart and then dueled with death in the operating room to start it again, has both the experience and the literary skills to bring readers along on that cosmic journey.  In Dueling in Death’s Backyard, I do exactly that.  I bring you along for the ride.  A thrill inside the thriller so to speak. Thus, the name of the novel.

About the Book

DUELING IN DEALTH’S BACKYARD is an intensely, fast-paced medical thriller written by retired cardiac surgeon Thomas Jay Berger, MD who is the winner of a Faulkner award for writing.

Exposing a scandal at the VA hospital was Dr. Cooper Logan’s responsibility, and his first mistake.  The world was background noise as Cooper worked to save lives.  He’d won his scholarship wrestling and struggling with Death in the operating room was his new passion.  But, hospital politics wasn’t Cooper’s strong point and learning them the hard way cost him his residency.  Then, to make matters even worse, the druggy nurse Cooper had exposed, turns up dead and Cooper is framed for the murder. Now Cooper must duel with death outside the OR and this time it’s his own life that’s at stake.

And the danger he faced now had Death staring him in the face.

About the Author

Thomas BergerRetired from active surgical practice due to vision problems, my wife and I bought a 50 ft. sailboat and sold or gave away everything that wouldn’t fit on board.  We spent about 8 years sailing all around the Caribbean.  Three years ago we settled in Miami, where we each have moms in their nineties who need us to be close by.  Other than my medmal expert business, I box twice a week, pump iron twice a week and try to get to the shooting range whenever I can.  If one is going write thrillers with action scenes including fist and gunfights, one should have a clue how to actually do these things.  A famous medical thriller writer (who shall not be named) once wrote a gunfight scene where a revolver did not fire because the safety was on.  He apparently knew absolutely nothing about firearms – not even the basic fact that revolvers do not have safeties.  Fistfight scenes by meek or sedentary authors are often even worse – describing techniques that would never work in real life.  I am proud of my OR scenes, which no one but me could ever write.  But I am also proud of the of action scenes which my own knowledge experience and constant training allow me to portray realistically

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Dayna Linton
Dayna Linton - Dayna is the very busy divorced mother of four "exceptional" children. She spends her time running not only this website but is also the founder and President of Rising Phoenix Charitable Foundation ( - a charitable organization which benefits women and children's causes. Dayna is a firm believer in the worth and value of individuals and hopes to help all embrace who they are, nourish themselves and then "pay it forward" by helping others around them to do the same. In her spare time, Dayna enjoys reading anything she can get her hands on and hopes to someday have the time to write a book herself. Dayna is also an avid lover of film and the process that goes into making them. From an early age, she remembers watching the Academy Awards with her mom and cheering on her favorites. When Dayna was little, she just knew she was going to be a big star someday and she would practice in front of a mirror accepting her Oscar. Dayna took four years of drama, which she loved, but found her true passion was dancing. Even today you can catch Dayna dancing just about everywhere she goes, including beaches in the moonlight ...