This fictionalised account – and an insider’s tale – sheds some light on the machinery of a major teaching hospital and interweaves it with an unsettling detective story that explores the morals of life and death issues that have significant current crucial current climate.
Melbourne-based Professor Komesaroff, a physician and philosopher at Monash University, is a published author of 14 books, but this is his first novel.
While it’s an inventive work that laces together events, characters, predicaments, places and dilemmas, it does not mean that the book is “completely disconnected from real experiences”.
It exudes authenticity. In fact, it has intricately been threaded together following “contact over many years with patients, nurses, doctors and others who have shared their stories with me”.
Needless to say, the lessons provided have been unexpected and often astonishing.
Regarded as a ‘hospital noir’, it articulately examines the workings of biomedicine and discloses the suffering, love, misery, wittiness, confrontations and how self-respect etches some lasting effects on ageing, illness and death.
Riding a Crocodile follows a professor as he becomes aware of some alarming vicissitudes that become apparent at the hospital. After a succession of suspicious deaths, a bewildering world consumes him as he confronts the dangers that surround him.
It is contemporary, has some stirring moments and provides some stimulating food for thought.
With an international reputation in health care ethics, Professor Komesaroff is a Member (AM) in the General Division of the Order of Australia – an honour accorded to him in the 2014 Queen’s Birthday Honours List. The award was in recognition of his significant service to ethics in medicine as a physician, researcher and philosopher.