Ripples in Opperman’s Pond

RIPPLES IN OPPERMAN’S POND is a high-stakes thriller that explores the bonds of brotherhood and the innermost secrets of big-money medicine, where mistakes and lies cost thousands of lives and millions of dollars.

Told mainly in the first person by Daniel, it moves quickly from an Indianapolis hospital, to a Manhattan boardroom and then to a Russian research facility, culminating in a life-or-death decision the Sloane brothers never thought they’d have to make.

“The identical twins shared their toothpaste as children and their lives as adults. Daniel and Dorian Sloane have been saving each other since they skated on Opperman’s Pond growing up. Daniel lost the coin toss to test the new winter ice and Dorian saved him from drowning. Twelve minutes’ seniority put Dorian at the head of the multi-national Sloane Pharmaceuticals, while Daniel forged his own career as a gifted and innovative cardiologist. Redex, a miracle arthritis drug, brings the brothers together to heal an NBA legend – and make a few billion along the way, necessary to save the company losing patents on three blockbuster drugs. The drug returns the Indiana Pacers star to full glory but his sudden death threatens to destroy Daniel’s career, as he faces a devastating malpractice suit, the possible loss of his medical license, and even a voodoo curse by the athlete’s widow.”

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Preview from Chapter One

Celtics basketball fans packed the Boston Garden, screaming and stomping for their home team. They thrashed the stale air with psychedelic posters: a big D alongside a white picket fence for D-Fense! And Go Celtics! The scoreboard shot off explosive candles, ending with We Love Our Celtics! Boston led the Indiana Pacers by two points with three and a half
seconds left in the season’s final game. The Pacers needed the win to make the play-offs. After they grabbed a rebound, Dick Caruthers, the Pacers’ coach, called a time-out.

“Listen, guys,” Caruthers shouted over the pandemonium to the circling team, black giants dwarfing the white guy in the center. “Boston expects an inbound pass to Randy. But that won’t work ’cause he’ll be double-maybe triple-teamed, a setup for a steal. Instead, Randy, you set the pick for Lamont, who’ll shake free in the far corner for the pass.”

The coach shrugged off groans and grimaces.

“Yeah, I know it’s a long pass. And risky. But Boston’ll be looking for the inbound to the shooting guard, not a power forward deep on the other side of the court.”

The grating blast of the buzzer signaled the sixty-second time-out was half-over. The coach quickened his tempo.

“Lamont,” he said, nodding at the big black forward, “stay on the far side of the paint. The inbound goes to you, and you drive to the key. The Celtics’ll think you’re taking it inside for a slam dunk and we’re settling for a tie to win in overtime. You’ll pull at least one, maybe both guys off Randy after the pick. Instead of taking the shot, pass to him. Randy hits
the three-pointer for the win. Clear?”

Lamont shook his head. “Too risky. Inbound to Randy, and him alleyoop to me. I guarantee that slam.” One ham-sized fi st smashed into the other open palm, appearing to seal his promise.

The coach waved off the comment with his clipboard. “That still only gets us two, and I don’t want to risk overtime in front of a hometown crowd in the Boston Garden. Indianapolis, it’d be diff erent. Do like I said.” A chorus of “hmms” ended the time-out. The huddle broke, and the team walked back on the hardwoods.

The Pacers executed the play exactly as planned: the pick, the long pass to Lamont, his drive to the basket, and a slick, behind-the-back shuffle to Randy Jackson. Both defenders peeled off to cover Lamont’s charge, and Randy hit his patented fall-away jumper as the game-ending buzzer sounded. The three-pointer finished his sixth consecutive two-thousandpoint season, guaranteeing the Pacers a play-off berth.

Not planned was Randy’s midair collision with the Boston guard. Seeing through the ruse at the last minute, the guard raced back to block Randy’s shot. His right elbow slammed above Randy’s left eye. Unbalanced, Randy landed on a bowed-out ankle, fragile ligaments suddenly supporting 225 crashing pounds.

Randy’s scream drowned the papery whisper of the ball’s swish as he fell. The crowd, still as death, held a collective breath. The trainer ran on court and stared at the badly turned left ankle, dark blood already ballooning the skin. “Oh, shit,” he muttered, then turned crimson as ESPN amplified the expletive in the quiet of the great hall.

Assistants carried Randy off court, his six-foot-seven frame writhing on the stretcher. Once in the locker room, team physician Peter Fredericks, rimless glasses teetering on the tip of
his nose, bent his lanky frame over the ankle and injected it with lidocaine to kill the pain. Th en he iced and bandaged it tight to reduce internal bleeding. Fredericks stepped back, shook his bald head side to side, and muttered under his breath, “Doesn’t look good—not good at all.”

The red strobe from the ambulance outside washed the locker room in ruddy shadows as they loaded Randy for a CT and MRI of his ankle at the Mass General Hospital. On his way out, Randy flipped his teammates a thumbs-up. “Back in a few, guys,” he said with a forced smile. Heavy lidded eyes spoke his real feelings. The team moped around the locker room—no snapping towels or horseplay—and waited for the doctor’s return. Lamont glad-handed here and shoulder-squeezed there, assuring teammates Randy would be fine.

But the mood was somber.

Restless reporters milled in the hallway, predicting the Pacers’ chances in the play-off s. “Done for,” they concluded, already writing the next day’s obit. Two hours later, the doctor’s expression said it all. “The orthopedic chief at MGH examined him. The anterior talofi bular ligament has been stretched and probably completely torn,” said Fredericks. “Possibly the calcaneofi bular ligament as well. Lots of hemorrhage from ruptured blood

“Peter, English for Christ’s sake!” Caruthers demanded.

“Randy has a sprained ankle.”

“Why in hell didn’t you say that in the beginning?” the coach barked.

“Gotta make it seem complex.”

“It is complex, Dick. Grade 3 sprain’s the worst. I’ve hospitalized him a few days for intensive orthopedic therapy.”

“It’s not broken, so he can play, right?”

“No. His season’s fi nished. Treatment’s with RICE.”

“Rice? What the fuck you talking about?” Caruthers asked.

Fredericks backed out of the coach’s reach, palms up. “Sorry, only making a little medical joke. Or trying to. Acronym for rest, ice, compression, and elevation.”

The coach stepped toward him. “No play-off games? Even with a steroid shot… or whatever else it takes?”

“Absolutely not,” Fredericks said, voice firm.

“Ruin his ankle for keeps. Be happy if he’s healed in time for next season.”

“T is is May, goddamnit. We’re talking October.”

“I know, Coach, but he’ll be out at least three, four months.”

“So, five months, he’ll be okay?”

“Should be, if it heals properly.”

“He’d better heal properly,” said Caruthers. “There’s millions riding on that ankle. Don’t spare anything to make it totally normal again.”

“I won’t. He’ll be on medication for quite a while, though.”

“Double the doses. Triple them. Whatever’s necessary, do it,” the coach said through clenched teeth. “If he’s not at opening game, you won’t be either.”

Without Randy Jackson, the Pacers lost their first round play-off in four straight games, and their championship season died. “Everybody better pray Randy’s ankle heals by October,” Caruthers said as the team split for the off-season.

Recent Reviews

RIPPLES IN OPPERMAN’S POND is an exciting, original page-turner. The author has daringly combined genres – it is part medical thriller and part legal drama, with healthy doses of corporate espionage, voodoo and globe-trotting. Making such a potent and diverse mix work as a cohesive whole is no small feat, but RIPPLES pulls it off with style. Perhaps the most crucial elements in achieving this are the compelling protagonist, the layers upon layers of conflict, and the real-world details that help make the story believable.

Amazon Reviews

5.0 out of 5 stars Hooked, June 15, 2013
by JJ

Medical thrillers usually are not my favorite genre but this one intrigued me. Bored with the cookie-cutter novels with predictable plots and uninspired writing, I was intrigued by this newcomer to fiction. Zipes’ impressive medical background and international fame as a cardiologist were compelling. Was he as good at writing fiction as he was at writing scientific articles? The answer is an unequivocal yes!

“Ripples in Opperman’s Pond” is Zipes’ second novel – as riveting, refreshing, and unpredictable as his first. His characters and plot are both insightful and original. I had the feeling throughout the books that he knew what he was writing about. He must lead a fascinating life! I was hooked. I was equally impressed with his masterful story-telling technique in both books. Count me in as a devoted member of his fan club. Can’t wait for his third novel.

5.0 out of 5 stars Drama in Cardiology, June 24, 2013
by JR

In this book, Dr Zipes captures the excitement of cardiovascular medicine in the US into a remarkable, high speed, crime novel. This book combines celebrity cardiac arrest, with medical device failure, pharmaceutical ethics and the importance of family. This is no mean feat but the most fundamental aspect of this novel is being an honorable physician, standing up for your principles and doing what is right by your patients- even when it is the tough thing to do. Just as any cardiologist should read the academic works of Dr Zipes, they should also read the fiction works of Dr Zipes as it reminds them as to the great achievements and tragedies that this field has seen.

5.0 out of 5 stars This Doctor Can Write, June 24, 2013
by Steven Schroeder

I read “Ripples” with great interest because Doug Zipes was a medical school classmate, and I have followed his career as a distinguished cardiologist. I had not known of his extra dimension as a fiction writer until notified by another classmate. Out of loyalty I bought the book (Doug was too stingy to send me a free copy) and recently read it on a trip from San Francisco to Washington, DC. I was pleasantly surprised to find a fast-moving,cleverly contrived thriller plot that incorporates many contemporary themes. I suspect that “Ripples” would make a great movie, and would not be surprised to see that happen. Who would play the Zipes protagonist? Harrison Ford? Tom Cruise? Kevin Costner? For sure it will make Doug look more handsome. Congratulations, classmate.

5.0 out of 5 stars Doug Zipes has another winner, June 19, 2013
by Dion Friedland

Outstanding book. Couldn’t put it down. Started it late last night and had to finish it today. Wonderful entertainment and fully engrossing. Difficult to choose which is better, Black Widows or Ripples in Opperman’s Pond. Will be recommending to all my friends.

5.0 out of 5 stars The Old Man can weave a tale. June 12, 2013
by Book Doctor
Confession- the author is also my Dad. He has been telling tales since I was a youngster and he has only gotten better with time. I put down most books unfinished but this one kept my interest all the way through (alright, I did gloss over any sex scenes for obvious reasons). Like a good roller coaster there are plenty of twists and turns and fast moving action. The characters are well developed and intriguing. Even though I heard the story throughout its development the ending still surprised me. A must read!

5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing web of intrigue, morality & greed June 11, 2013
by Dwayne Richards

This clever thriller blends sports, greed, sibling rivalry, pharmaceutical fraud, and the frailty of the legal system into clear view. The story line brings back memories of the deaths of basketball greats Pete Marovich, Hank Gathers and Reggie Lewis, and the predictable “blame game” following their deaths. It also highlights the inevitable occasions when the legal system can destroy innocent lives in the name of Justice.

The character development is precise and interesting, the plot is nicely veiled, and the effects of greed on family relationships is painful. All in all, a wonderful blend of intrigue and enlightenment. A great summer read!

5.0 out of 5 stars An authentic thriller, April 16, 2013
By Ellen Powley
This is an authentic thriller from beginning to the last page. Here are twists and turns with sub plots to keep the reader thoroughly engaged. As one who skated on Opperman’s pond as a youth, this book was more than a novel. Doug writes about his profession with passion, includes international intrigues, and makes his characters the real deal! Five stars!

5.0 out of 5 stars Suspenseful and Informative June 8, 2013
By Leslie
by Book Doctoer
Ripples in Opperman’s Pond was suspenseful and informative. Every night I looked forward to returning to the story, and whenever I thought I knew where the plot was going, it surprised me. I’ll add The Black Widows to my Wish List.

5.0 out of 5 stars Drama in Cardiology, June 17, 2013
by Debbie
So even though the author is my dad and I’ve been a big fan since birth, I still loved the book!! I was lucky enough to be able to read chapters all along the way, and I spent a whole vacation sitting on the beach totally consumed by the characters, the fast-moving plot, unexpected twists and turns, and the fun ways my dad wove in scenes from his real life throughout. It’s a delightful, engaging, compelling book with interesting medical facts along the way. Even if he isn’t your dad, the book is a must-read!

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