August 18, 1997 12:00 PM

by Tess Gerritsen

Beach Book of the Week

WHEN AN ELDERLY MAN IS WHEELED into the emergency room naked and delusional, Dr. Toby Harper’s preliminary diagnosis is Alzheimer’s disease. But when the patient mysteriously disappears, she fears something more is going on. Is it ever. Harper’s hunt for answers puts her on the trail of a macabre experiment to regenerate wealthy 70-year-olds with cloned fetal cells, a project some ruthless doctors will do anything to protect.

Gerritsen’s richly drawn hospital scenes (the author is a former internist) can’t quite disguise the book’s paper-thin characters, particularly the villains. But the chilling science (footnoted to real journal articles) and breathless, ER-style pacing make it a quick, delightfully scary read. (Pocket, $23)

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