In ‘Trauma Junkie’ author Tom Hobbs has crafted a wonderful story about the lives and loves of the men and women who spend their nights saving people that have been shot, stabbed, beaten up or who were the unlucky victims of accidents. It is, in some respects, a nightmare world of junkies and thugs but it is also the world of people who care deeply for others; people whose lives are dedicated to bringing victims of accident and illness back from the brink of death.
The fact that they don’t always succeed in that mission takes its toll on many of them, including Brian Sheahan, an Air Force veteran who logged a couple of tours in Afghanistan before leaving the service to work as a paramedic in New York City. Sheahan has enough pain in his past to sink most men and there are times when he’s not certain that he wants to go on living but, not always by choice, he does. He is a fascinating blend of hero and ordinary guy caught up in extraordinary events; a guy you’d probably want to show up when something bad happens to you.
Sheahan is the main character in this excellent book but Hobbs has populated its pages with several other memorable men and women: His ex-wife Amber, his girlfriend Brooklyn, his ambulance partner Mel and others are fully realized, not just cardboard cutouts whose only purpose is to give Sheahan someone to talk to when a bit of dialogue is called for. As a writer myself, I know how difficult it is to flesh out these secondary characters; how hard it is to make them as “real” for the reader as the main character. Hobbs has done an amazing job of making the men and women whose lives touch Sheahan’s just as important to the story as he is.
Hobbs, who worked New York City’s streets as a paramedic before becoming an author, brings a degree of authenticity to ‘Trauma Junkie’ that is seldom found in books about first responders. He skillfully captures not only the drama of paramedics arriving at a scene where something tragic has happened but Hobbs also gives his readers a crash course in the technical aspects of the work they do. It makes for fascinating reading.
This is a fast-paced novel with enough action for a Hollywood blockbuster, enough pathos to make readers care about what happens to the characters and just enough humor to sweeten the deal.
I highly recommend it.