October 28, 1996 12:00 PM

by Tess Gerritsen

Calling Dr. Crichton, Dr. Michael Crichton…. This highly hyped and unduly praised medical thriller by first novelist and internist Gerritsen needs a second opinion. The plot creaks like an arthritic knee, and the characters are suffering from stereotype-itis.

Altruistic Dr. Abby DiMatteo surgical resident at Bayside Hospital, makes the first of many mistakes when she thoughtlessly decides that a plucky teenage boy should get first crack at a new heart that was supposed to go to a rich woman. This has Bayside’s ruling suits and smocks fuming. There is, after all, a national list of transplant candidates waiting for “harvested” organs. With her career in jeopardy, Abby steps in it romantically when she decides to marry fellow surgeon Mark Hodell. He is involved with a shadowy cabal of transplant specialists who are, horrors, dealing in black-market organs.

Abby is shocked. Apparently she has never read newspapers, which regularly run exposés on various illegal organ markets. Despite frantic action and flashing scalpels, Harvest remains a terminally bad read. (Pocket, $22)

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