5 Star Review of Cadaver of Gideon Cathcart



The First Review Is In & It’s 5 Stars!!!

The Cadaver of Gideon Cathcart by Edison McDaniels.

“It reminded me, in several ways, of the best of Stephen King’s straight up horror as in Pet Sematary.” —James Tepper, Amazon VINE™ VOICE & Professor of Neurosciences, Rutgers University

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The Cadaver of Gideon Cathcart

Introducing a new & modern tale of gothic horror,
a novel of chilling intensity


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In 1996, in the fifth year of his training as a brain surgeon, Zach Dozier killed a man.

His name was Gideon Cathcart and he was Zach’s patient. In truth, the man had died already—or so it seemed. An hour before, with his skull open and his brain exposed to the elements, Gideon had bled out on the operating table. Half his brain had turned to mush amid the hemorrhaging. Gideon had even been tagged and bagged, near enough to death so as to qualify for it in all but fact. But in the end he hadn’t been dead after all, though how he could have done any sort of living with just half a brain wasn’t apparent. Likely he’d have never awakened. He’d have remained in a coma—a dead man breathing—with a tube in his stomach to feed and water him daily. Gideon’s life would have been nothing more than orderlies and nurses coming around a few times a day to change his diaper or turn him this way or that. Hell, a goddamn potted plant lives better. But Gideon wasn’t only his patient, he was his friend, and Zach knew he wouldn’t have wanted that.

So—hardest moment of his life—Zach finished what had been so horribly started in that operating room. He killed Gideon in a twin fit of madness and compassion. And when that terrible moment ended, Zach laid him to rest in potter’s field, under the daisies and wispy grass of a fallow earth.

Not a soul knew what Zach had done, but in all the days that followed he never knew a moment’s peace. Not because everything about that unfortunate night haunted him, although it did. Not because he saw that terrible face every time he closed his eyes, although that was true as well. Not because all he had ever loved or wanted in this world had been taken from him, although it had. No, the source of his unease was none of these things.

Zach Dozier was a man with an affliction. He killed Gideon Cathcart, then laid him to rest amid the poppies of potter’s field.

But Gideon didn’t rest—and he wouldn’t stay buried.

From the mind of Edison McDaniels comes THE CADAVER OF GIDEON CATHCART, with elements of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Stephen King’s Bag of Bones, and the 1930’s classic horror novel The Cadaver of Gideon Wyck by Alexander Laing (in fact, the title is an homage to Alexander Laing). The novel is ghostly atmospheric, with the haunted hospital becoming a character in itself. A ghost story written in third person, with compelling prose and vivid depictions of hospital routines twisted into the surreal. A chilling descent into the inner world of modern medicine and surgery, against a pretense of old-fashioned gothic horror.
Consider yourself warned.

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The Crucible

Enter the mind of a brain surgeon!

It’s 1951 & this is a test.

Trevor Mott is a brain surgeon. Jimmy P. is eight years old and plays baseball. Today, the two of them will come together. One will be taken to the very edge of endurance.

The other will go even further.

The Crucible is a far surpassing tale of surgical suspense available on kindle today. Just 99 cents.

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The Crucible
A short story by Edison McDaniels, MD

October 3rd, 1951 

“The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant!”  The announcer’s exuberance burst from the radio with the intensity of an artery geysering blood across the room. You couldn’t help but notice it. “The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant! Bobby Thompson hits into the lower deck of the left…” 

“Turn that damn thing off,” Mott said, putting down the loop cautery and motioning with his arm toward the radio. Jesus Christ, he said to himself, thinking of the damn Brooklyn Dodgers. How could the bums have a virtual lock on first, thirteen and a half games up with just forty-four to play, a month before the season ended, and still manage to rise to that particular level of mediocrity that is second place? It sickened him. 

Second place was an untenable position to Trevor Mott. As a brain surgeon, it represented a compromise he couldn’t afford inside someone’s head, an intolerable concession that could only bring pain or suffering at best, death or invalidism at worst. Of course, it wasn’t he that would suffer in such a case, it was his patients. And suffer they did he thought, for however untenable second place might be in his own mind, it was a plight which visited his – any neurosurgeon’s – operating room with a certain morbid regularity. 

An image of the neurosurgical ward two floors above suddenly flashed into Mott’s head. It was a large open rectangular room with pale cream walls and dingy gray floor tiles, all of it scuffed by too many years of use. Tall windows lined the walls on each side of the room’s long axis and the early morning sun spilled in from one side, lending the room a soothing but unbalanced look; Mott saw tiny specks of dust suspended in the golden light.

The Crucible is available on Kindle right now.


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A Bird Named Enza

A Short Story by Edison McDaniels, MD | surgeonwriter.com
Keywords: fiction, influenza, inspiration

I had a little bird,
Its name was Enza.
I opened the window,
And in flew Enza.

I remember how the words drifted in through the open window, along with the dust motes shimmering in the bright sunlight. The lace curtains hung limp and impotent, the air absolutely still. A waist high table occupied the far corner opposite the bed. Upon it a clean white linen cloth, a metal pitcher of water, and a porcelain basin. I remember how the basin’s edge had a chip out of it the size of a two-bit piece. I remember every detail of that room, for I had in that one terrible week no better occupation than its constant inspection.

The bed itself was a plain enough thing: a sagging mattress set atop cinder blocks, no ornamentation at all. My parents were frugal people, then and forever after. I don’t think it had anything to do with the deaths of my sisters. I never had more than three pairs of pants, or more than twice that many shirts. The walls of my room were barren. My only extravagance was a few peacock feathers I’d plucked from the trash on the way to school. I didn’t know them to be bad luck at the time.

We were clean folks. Cleanliness is next to Godliness my mother used to say. And so laying in that bed all those years ago, what stands out is how my mother kept clean sheets under me all the time I was sick. Given how things turned out, I can’t imagine how she did it. She or Grannie Mae, my father’s mother, changed my sheets once or twice a day.

Yessir, I remember that week like it was yesterday. Nineteen and eighteen it was, ninety-two years ago. I was ten, middle of five kids, the only boy. It was the flu, of course. Influenza. In flew Enza.

No school. They’d all been closed on account of the panic. You couldn’t go anywhere that people didn’t look at you cross-eyed if you so much as hiccoughed. Every one wore a mask. People turned blue and dropped dead in the street. I saw it happen three times. A cart used to come down the road every morning, collecting bodies. I saw that too.

Then I got sick. I lay in my bed and didn’t leave my room for a week. Nothing to do but lay and stare at the ceiling. Couldn’t see but next door brick out the window. Sometimes I practiced sleeping. Mostly I tossed and turned a lot. If the sun was just right, usually about midday this was, I made little shadow animals on the wall with my fingers. A dog, a bird, whatever. Anything to pass the time. Once, I heard a doctor tell my mother to get me on a waiting list for a casket. I never saw that doctor again. I wanted Grannie Mae or mother to keep me company, but they were too busy. I’ll get to that.

Under my window was a little dirt playground. My sisters, the four of them, along with a few neighbor girls, skipped rope there incessantly. The whipping sound of that rope as their thin arms turned it again and again, followed immediately and inevitably by the thump thump of booted feet, was my constant companion that week, as was their chanting and singing. As always, they rose and fell and made up a sing song of different ditties to suit the moment. But that terrible Fall, there was mostly only one ditty:

I had a little bird,
Its name was Enza.
I opened the window,
And in flew Enza.

I remember the sing song rhythm of their collected voices, sung with a choir gusto only little girls of a certain age can muster. Oh how they clapped their hands! And at the end of each line, winded, they barely got the last word out before they gasped in unison and started anew the next. They did this over and over, until it was positively etched in my mind. On my sick bed, with nothing to do for hours at a time save listen to my own tortured breathing, I should have gone mad without my sisters outside my window.

I pictured them in the yard, in their long, white, pinafore dresses, jumping in the dirt alongside the unpainted picket fence. The branches of the twin oaks met and intermingled over their heads. I even pictured the sheets on the clothesline behind them.

What I didn’t picture, or even hear until the last day, was how the voices dropped away. There one day, gone the next. And never to return.After that, the voices I heard were those of my mother and Grannie Mae sobbing in the hall outside my room.

After that week the shine went out of everything. But over the years whenever I have grown the least fed up or restless, my sisters come back to me in their collective chorus, singing about a bird named Enza.

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