By Pat van den Beemt
7:20 AM EST, January 20, 2014
Dr. D. Bruce Foster's book, "This Way To Paradise," was released Dec. 9.
The book is the second novel featuring Dr. Alex Randolph, who is also the protagonist in Foster's first novel, "Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye," published in 2011.
Foster, a 1963 graduate of Hereford High School, sets his novels in the Hereford Zone. Randolph works as an emergency room doctor at the fictional Mason-Dixon Medical Center on Middletown Road in Parkton.
In his latest book, published by Macdougall Press, Foster's characters have encounters at Graul's meat counter, plan parties catered by the Manor Tavern and attend fundraisers on My Lady's Manor.
"This Way To Paradise" has two parallel story lines. One follows Randolph and his girlfriend, Penny, a nurse at the same medical center, as they deal with medical emergencies and personal issues.
The other plot involves Mary Anne, a beautiful woman from Florida who becomes a sociopath after a childhood of sexual abuse and poverty. She eventually ends up living on an estate on My Lady's Manor and sets her sights on Randolph.
"My first book fulfilled a lifelong ambition. When it developed a fairly passionate fan base, people said they'd love to see what happens next, so I started writing again a year after the first book was published," said Foster, who is chief of emergency medicine at a hospital in southern Pennsylvania and medical director of Hagerstown-based Life Net 8-1, a medical helicopter service.
While the Randolph character is not modeled after Foster, the author's background makes his depictions of emergency room drama medically accurate.
A friend suggested he make the antagonist in this novel a female since the bad guys in his first book were gang members.
Foster said he researched the behavior of sociopaths and then developed his female character from childhood to her adult years. He alternated chapters between Randolph's life and Mary Anne's, building the suspense as the two lives move closer to collision.
Linda Thompson, a former teacher at Prettyboy Elementary School who lives in Shrewsbury, Pa., said Foster has replaced Robin Cook as her favorite author.
"I love the medical part of his books," said Thompson, who knew Foster from Hereford High School. "This new one is a really page-turner. It's riveting. There is also a definite pull in having it written about the Hereford Zone."
Rae Hamilton, of Parkton, an artist and writer who met Foster at a book signing in 2011, has been a fan ever since.
"Bruce has created a new genre — an emergency room thriller that's written by a doctor," he said.
In a review for the book on Amazon.com, Hamilton wrote, "Ultimately, 'This Way to Paradise' serves up a blend of heart searching, heart rending, and heart pounding action that will make the discerning reader hope that D. Bruce Foster is hard at work on the next book in the Alex Randolph series."
Foster said he hasn't yet decided whether to do a third book in the series.
"I wrote in the evenings, and that's mostly what I did on my days off, too," said Foster, who lives in a pre-Civil War brick farmhouse in Pennsylvania with his wife, Janis. "This book's only been out for a month, so I'll wait and see how it goes before I think about another one."