Beneath the Wake just what the doctor ordered
Ross Pennie likes to keep people up at night.
The author of four medical thrillers, Pennie’s greatest compliment is hearing readers say they just couldn’t stop turning the pages.
“People have told me that they’re up to one or two (in the morning) with a book because they couldn’t put it down,” said Pennie. “As an author, I’m thrilled to hear that because it means it feels real, it’s tense and the reader just has to keep reading.”
The latest novel in Pennie’s medical thriller series hit the bookstore shelves earlier this year. In “Beneath the Wake”, public health investigator Dr. Zol Szabo, his son and new girlfriend are pursuing some rest and relaxation by sailing the Indian Ocean on a small luxury cruise ship.
As the ship’s occupants begin to drop dead, Dr. Zol reluctantly joins the investigation and discovers almost everyone on board is harbouring disquieting secrets.
While “Beneath the Wake” was published in May, Pennie said the “embryo of an idea” was actually sparked in 1995 during a cruise he took with his wife, Lorna, and the couple’s two young children.
“We met a family with some peculiarities and whom we believe might have been transporting illegal goods under the guise of being a family,” said Pennie.
Since then, the Pennies have become avid worldwide cruisers. The Ancaster resident said he has often found himself on board a ship musing about drugs, nuclear weapons, terrorists, ports of calls and individuals with nefarious intent. This is Pennie’s fourth medical thriller and follows on the heels of the highly acclaimed Tainted in 2009, Tampered in 2011 and Up in Smoke in 2013.
Pennie started writing at the age of 10 by chronicling a solo four-day train trip he made across the Canadian Prairies. His first book, a memoir of Papua New Guinea called The Unforgiving Tides, was published in 2004.
Before his retirement, Pennie spent 39 years working as an intensive-care pediatrician and infectious-diseases specialist at McMaster, then Brantford General Hospital.
He said although he has taken a break from the day-to-day routine of working in a laboratory, he is not retired from writing.
“I love the creative process and I love spending time with the characters.
“They seem very real ... it’s almost as though they live with us,” said Pennie. “I also find writing meditative. I enjoy being on my own, so there is a meditative and reflective aspect to it.”
“Beneath the Wake” is published by ECW Press, $29.95, and is available at all major bookstores.
Author Ross Pennie