First, Do No Harm
Homefront Hobart, New Jersey during World War II and modern New York share the setting for this troubling tale of family secrets. When twenty-eight year old Martin Firestone finally decides to settle into a career as a doctor, his famous and eccentric painter father takes him out for a very long lunch to explain why medical school is not a good idea. The sixty-odd year old story he tells of the relationship with his own father becomes the tale within a tale, fueled by venomous outbursts and alcohol.
We learn that Martin’s father as a teenager once followed the path of a healer, too – as an extern to his own extraordinary physician father. We learn, too, that Martin’s grandfather committed crimes, ranging from forgery to murder, which Martin’s father and his girlfriend Harmony uncovered in the summer of 1943. There are missing links that Martin must discover before the story resolves.
This mystery transcends its genre to become the cautionary tale that the title suggests. Its tone is by turns tender, seedy and gritty. First, Do No Harm is compelling, visionary and haunting.