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The Dismantling: A Novel by Brian DeLeeuw
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The Dismantling: A Novel

by Brian DeLeeuw

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The Dismantling by Brian DeLeeuw is a highly recommended suspense novel that explores the morality of several issues, including organ trafficking.

Simon Worth has dropped out of medical school and found himself an ethically questionable position with Health Solutions, an organ brokerage company run by Peter DaSilva. Health Solutions basically buys kidneys and livers from cash-strapped "donors" for those in need of a transplant who can afford their services. It's Simon's job to discreetly match donor and recipient, or seller and buyer, while behind the scenes DaSilva alters medical records and launders the money. Even though he may have to explain away any ethical quibbles over what he's doing, it is a way for Simon to make a lot of money quickly.

When Simon arranges for Maria Campos, a young woman from L.A., to donate part of her liver to ex-athlete Lenny Pellegrini, all seems to be going smoothly. She's going to pretend to be a distant cousin and Lenny swears he is going to lay off the booze. Even after many successful brokered organs, this time there may be a problem. Additionally, both Simon and Maria have dark personal secrets they are trying to hide.

The plot moves along quickly in The Dismantling and DeLeeuw does an excellent job interweaving the backstory of his characters with the main story. At first it appears to be a medical thriller, but then, as the plot thickens and the tensions mount, it takes a turn toward suspense and drama. This is a well written page turner that should please fans of both genres. The characters of Simon and Maria are well developed. As they slowly divulge much of their personal stories, we learn more about their motives and reasons for participating in an arrangement with questionable legality.

Disclosure: I received an advanced reading copy of this book from the publisher and TLC for review purposes. ( )
  SheTreadsSoftly | Mar 21, 2016 |
This was a literary thriller that had all the failings of a milquetoast literary hero and a tragic lack of actual thrilling bits. The story is compelling enough - an illegal paid organ transplant goes horribly wrong - but Simon is so godawfully frustrating. Every single woman he speaks to tells him to get over himself, but he never gets the hint. ( )
  jen.e.moore | Feb 18, 2016 |
This book had GREAT potential -- what is more fascinating than a black-market organ trade? I learned quite a bit about the processes involved. The story, however, got really unbelievable towards the latter half of the book, and that ruined the narrative for me. If you've read it, you know what I mean. ( )
  amandacb | Jul 30, 2015 |
Brian DeLeeuw's novel The Dismantling has some topical elements in its plot- injuries suffered by NFL players, the lack of available organs for those needing a transplant- and combines them with a young man trying to come to terms with the loss of his younger sister years ago and a woman with a mysterious past into a fast-paced thriller that also makes you think.

We meet Simon, a twenty-five year-old man who has dropped out of medical school but has yet to tell his father. His friend hooks him up with a under-the-radar company that connects people who need kidney or liver transplants with people who are willing to sell them their body parts.

Simon lost his mother to a horrible death when he was just a young child, and his teenage sister died, the circumstances of which are unraveled during the story. We do know that Simon feels that her death was his fault, but we don't know why for a long time.

Simon is tasked by his boss to find a liver donor for Lenny Pellegrini, a retired NFL player with a drinking problem who suffers from too many hits to the head during his playing days. Lenny's friend Howard, also a former NFL player, is paying for the liver and he and Simon must convince Lenny to do this for his wife and two young children.

Through their website, Simon has found Maria, a single young mother willing to sell a piece of her liver to Lenny. Since it is illegal to sell organs for transplant, the woman is presented as a cousin of Lenny's, and she is flown in and coached as to how the process works.

Maria seems like the perfect candidate, but things start to unravel shortly after the transplant. Maria disappears and Lenny is still in a state of severe depression. Simon's boss threatens him that he better fix this situation before too many questions are asked.

The Dismantling is a fast read, one that you want to finish in one sitting while at the same time taking time to ponder all of the bigger issues here. At its heart, it is Simon's story, about his coming to terms with everything in his life, where he has been and where he is going.

While Simon is in medical school, he has to participate in autopsying a cadaver, and the scenes set there are vivid and not for those with weak stomachs. It is in these sessions that Simon's past comes back to haunt him, and he ends up in the dangerous situation he finds himself in.

Simon is an interesting character, and his relationship with his dad was so real and heartbreaking. The Dismantling combines a thought provoking story with some heart-stopping action scenes and twists and turns, and seems tailor-made for a movie, maybe for a Hemsworth brother. I also enjoyed the New York City setting, especially since Simon and I lived on the same street. ( )
  bookchickdi | May 18, 2015 |
Obsessed with guilt over the death of his sister, Simon is unable to devote the concentration needed to succeed in medical school and eventually drops out. Faced with mounting debt from his school loans and his inability to tell his father he is broke and a failure, he accepts a high-paid but illegal job as an organ transplant broker. He is currently working with Maria, a liver donor in exchange for cash, guiding her through the process to make it all appear legitimate. Simon only needs a few more deals and he will be debt-free … until everything goes very, very wrong.

This fast-paced psychological thriller had my interest from the start with the pace increasing as everything falls apart. Maria is not the person he thought she was and the deal may be exposed, putting everyone in danger. The plot is clever, timely, and compelling with enough changes in direction to keep the reader guessing all the way to the unexpected conclusion.

Audio production: The story was easy to follow in audio format. Most of it took place in the present with some flashbacks and memories of the past. Narrator Robbie Daymond did a good job differentiating the voices of the various characters and expertly captured the tension and suspense while keeping the pace moving and the listener engaged. ( )
  UnderMyAppleTree | May 5, 2015 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0142181749, Paperback)

How much of yourself are you willing to sell?

Brian DeLeeuw hits that sweet spot between literary and commercial suspense with his brilliantly adept, ingeniously plotted novel—a chilling, fast-paced drama that urges readers to question the meaning of atonement and whether revenge might sometimes be the only way we can liberate ourselves from our past.

Twenty-five-year-old med school dropout Simon Worth is an organ broker, buying kidneys and livers from cash-strapped donors and selling them to recipients whose time on the waitlist is running out. When a seemingly straightforward liver transplant has an unexpectedly dangerous outcome, Simon finds himself on the run. In order to survive, he must put aside his better moral judgment and place his trust in a stranger who has a shocking secret.

(retrieved from Amazon Tue, 14 Apr 2015 01:15:54 -0400)

At twenty-five, Simon Worth is a med school dropout, facing the grim reality of failure and massive student loans. Left with few options, he becomes an organ broker for a black-market organization, matching cash-strapped donors with recipients whose time on the transplant list is running out. Tasked with finding a donor for Lenny Pellegrini, a severely depressed ex-NFL player who's been drinking himself to death, Simon's luck appears to change when he's contacted by Maria Campos, a young woman desperate for cash whose liver happens to be the perfect match. The transplant goes according to plan . . . until soon afterward, when Maria disappears and Lenny makes a cruel and destructive decision. As Simon's world becomes increasingly dangerous, he learns of an unspeakable secret from Maria's past and must decide, against his better moral judgment, that the only way he'll survive is to trust her.… (more)

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