Arcade Publishing, $24.99, 280 pages, ISBN 978-1-62872-523-0
Are you aware that there are now more than 120,000 patients—folks just like you and me who are on waiting lists for organ transplants in America . . . or that there are three-hundred thousand more on kidney dialysis, but not yet on transplant lists . . . and shamefully, that here in America, twenty people are dying every day from renal (kidney) failure because of a lack of organ donors? The average wait for a donated organ, eighty-five percent which are kidneys, is Seven Years. People are dying before they make it to the top of the list for a replacement. This fact, and it is indeed a tragic fact—and wait, it gets worse—has given rise to a modern phenomenon known as transplant tourism. Simply put, those who can afford to pay are going to foreign transplant specialists where they get a healthy, life-saving new organ. “Well isn’t that just dandy,” you say . . . but then, after a moment’s reflection you ask, “So, where, exactly, does this life-saving and healthy new donor organ come from?” Well Mr. and Mrs. Peabody, that’s where the rub comes in. The transplant specialists are located in countries with large and growing populations of poor people. Human beings whose yearly income can be stated in hundreds of dollars.
The Organ Broker, by Stu Strumwasser, is an outstanding new novel by a debut author whose voice speaks loud and clear about a critical issue of our times—one with important legal, ethical and moral overtones that could very well affect every one of us at some point in our lives. Best of all, he’s fitted his information into a beautifully-written crime novel that’s full of intrigue, action, suspense and treachery. Just what we enthusiasts love in summertime reading!
The protagonist, a shady character known as ‘New York Jack,’ is the organ broker. He’s living large, enjoying life on a lavish scale, traveling first-class, dining in exclusive restaurants and staying in five-star hotels. He tells himself that he’s saving lives by procuring human organs for those who are wealthy enough to buy them. Jack gets $150,000 for a kidney, which he splits with a cohort, a man who goes by the name Wallace, he’s the one who obtains the clients—those sick enough and rich enough to buy whatever they wish, no matter what the price. Kidneys are called “eighty-fives,” because they’re 85 percent of the pairs transplant business, and they’ve done thousands of them over the years. “Fifteens” are livers. They go for half-a-million a pop. And hey, great news for the organ donors, fifteens regenerate. Eventually. But the big money, the really big money . . . the kind that will buy a whole Caribbean Island and a lifetime of anonymity . . . that only comes with specials. Those are hearts. A healthy one only comes one way, with death. Excluding accidents and executions, the only other way to get one creates a moral barrier that only a sociopath is willing to cross . . . Don’t miss The Organ Broker by Stu Strumwasser. It might be the most talked about book of the summer of 2015. It’s certainly one of the best!