Title: Patient Privilege
Author: Allison Cassatta
Publisher: Silver Publishing
Characters: Erik, Angel
POV: Third Person
Sub-Genre: Contemporary m/m romance
Dr. Erik Daniels hasn’t had it easy. He lost love and fought addiction to get where he is, one of the best substance abuse counselors people with no money and no insurance can get. Not the dream life he had in San Francisco, but at least he has something to call his own. Everything seems to be on the right track until Angel, a heroine addicted male prostitute, and the kid’s lover happen to cross his path.
Erik not only sees a lot of himself in Angel, but he also sees a lot of potential in the kid and he quickly realizes he’s willing to sacrifice a lot to get him on the right path, even his own love life
Patient Privilege is the convergence of two separate stories, the first about a young man named Angel who works as a hustler and lives on the street and the second about a young doctor, Erik, who specializes in chemical addictions. Erik is an addict himself, a recovering alcoholic. His own addiction cost him his relationship with his long term partner, and after a year of sobriety, he’s struggling to mend the shattered relationship. Angel is a runaway who was rejected by his family when he came out as gay. After he became addicted to heroin, his only obsession is getting high.
The principal characters meet when Angel overdoses and is brought into the emergency room. The good doctor Erik works with the patient, and as his recovery progresses, the two develop feelings for each other which cross the boundaries of doctor-patient ethics.
I have to admit that I cringed when I realized that the doctor was allowing himself to fall in love with his patient. For the first half of the book I really wanted Erik to reconcile with his partner, and I wanted Angel to develop a meaningful relationship with his boyfriend Jon (who loved him so intensely). I think that perhaps the theme of the story is that often love is unpredictable. We do not necessarily fall for the person we are SUPPOSED to.
The other heartbreaking thing about the story was that I cared as much about Jon as I did Angel. In fact, I can honestly say I liked Jon a hell of a lot more than Angel. He was a wonderful person, and it kind of irked me that he was just forgotten. I’m hoping there will be a follow-up story about him and his journey.
As for Erik and Angel, they got their happy ending, and for this I’m pleased. The strengths of the book include the gritty, realistic depiction of the life of a street hustler, the touching love scenes, and the arc of the main character Angel. I went from hating him to loving him, and as the author peeled back the layers, I saw into his heart. It was beautiful.
Still not sure how I feel about the ethical issue, but I think the fact that the story caused me to contemplate these questions is a testament to the power of the story itself. It was a well-written, thought-provoking work, and I’m anxious for more.
Reviewed By: Jeff