In Ukrainian-American novelist Yuriy Tarnawsky’s new trilogy The Placebo Effect (JEF Books), the themes of alienation, abandonment, and fear of death, developed in Like Blood in Water and elaborated in The Future of Giraffes, respectively the first and second book of The Placebo Effect Trilogy, …
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"It begins to come to a head when a bout of pneumonia nearly kills Rick in a hotel lobby near the Burmese border. Poon comes rushing to his side and stays with him in the hospital. Pom, who’s barely around anymore, becomes increasingly erratic. Claire keeps looking more haggard and so much in need of a friend that she’ll settle for Rick for the time being. A couple weeks later, Rick walks right into his own abduction, returning from a different trip, by goons working for the guy he was supposed to be bribing when he got sick. He finds out later that it was all Pom could do to make them settle for just a nice, healthy beating, but that he had to give them that to save his own neck."