First, Do No Harm
Martin Firestone can't figure why his father, the eccentric painter Leo Firestone, is throwing a fit. All Martin did was tell his dad he'd been accepted to medical school.

Then Leo tells Martin a story about his own father, Dr. Samuel Firestone, an extraordinarily-gifted doctor and a living legend in the small city of Hobart, NJ. And a man with a serious character flaw. During the summer of 1943, while Leo worked as Samuel's extern, he witnessed some highly questionable behavior.  Illegal abortions, supplying morphine to an addict, black-market pharmaceuticals, babies sold to adoptive parents - all in a day's work for Samuel Firestone, M.D.

When Leo decided his father was covering up a murder, he and his girlfriend, stage-struck Harmony, followed a trail of clues into the Fleischmann Scrapyard. There, they ran afoul of Oscar Fleischmann, the owner of the yard, and Samuel's longtime nemesis. By the time Leo realized he and Harmony were in far over their sixteen-year-old heads, it was too late to bail.

But there are loose threads in Leo's story. Martin picks them up, and, sixty years afer the fact, goes snooping in Hobart. And like his father, he comes away with a whole lot more junk than he had bargained for.
Read A Review:

A well-told story is nearly irresistible, and Karp has two phenomenal stories to recount here. The first concerns Martin Firestone, whose father, famous New York artist Leo Firestone, angrily demands a lunch meeting after finding out that Martin has been accepted to medical school. Karp's second story is narrated
by Leo over lunch, as he recounts shadowing his doctor father, Samuel, in Hobart, New Jersey, during the summer of 1943. Much as teenage Leo admires his dad, he is bothered by some of his behavior-such as performing abortions, buying black-market drugs, and looking the other way after a murder. With help from his
musician girlfriend, Harmony, Leo begins to investigate his father's actions-and isn't pleased with what he finds out. Playing a key role in the story is Fleischmann Scrapyard, where Leo attempts to discover why his father and Oscar, the cruel scrap-yard owner, are such bitter enemies. After Leo finishes his story, Martin is not satisfied and goes back to Hobart to find out what Leo's not telling him. A triumph of storytelling-the juggling of the two narratives is flawless-that will hold readers as spellbound as a terrifying tale told 'round the campfire.

Jenny McLarin, Booklist, *STAR.

When the promising, young Martin Firestone tells his father that he has decided to become a physician, he expects a joyful reaction. He is baffled when his father, Leo, become livid instead and shocked when he learns that his grandfather, Samuel Firestone, was a brilliant, if somewhat notorious, doctor in New Jersey. This little bit of family history has been hidden from young Martin because of Leo's own traumatic experiences with his father. Hoping to spare his son from grief, Leo reluctantly relates the events that he witnessed during the
1940s as his father's assistant--events that seem to imply that his father was guilty of crimes ranging from cover-ups and blackmail to murder.

FIRST, DO NO HARM is a more than just your average mystery--it has all the charm of a period mystery (imagine Sam Spade with a medical twist), but it also delves deeply into the human spirit--not something you often see in a whodunit. The decisions that Sam Firestone made are often driven by his patients' best interests, but the consequences of doing (or not doing) the right thing or the legal thing are often dire--and often, the ethics and the law aren't even in sync. The parallels between certain characters (the Sorcerer and the Junkman, Martin and Sam, and Leo and Sam) are dynamic and vivid. It is very hard to decide who is in the right in this ethical labyrinth. Sam Firestone's world is rough and gritty. The choices made by the characters surrounding him are difficult and dubious. This is a great mystery and a great novel. The writing is tense and the dialogue is explosive. The heroes (Leo and Harmony) are clever and likeable naive. And, the villains (whoever you decide they are) are real, determined, and darkly reminiscent of our own moral laxity.

FIRST, DO NO HARM is a mystery very nicely done. The medical parts of this novel, which are very important, are not too heavy-handed for the non-technically inclined (such as myself). And, the mystery is brilliant. This
is mystery writing at its best! Imagine Marcus Welby gone bad and your on the right track! If you are a fan of mystery, check out this book today! Larry Karp does not disappoint!

Beverly Forehand, Roundtable Reviews

When Martin Firestone decides, at twenty-eight, to go to medical school,  he assumes his father, Leo, will approve. He is unprepared for the explosion that comes with his announcement, and for the preemptory summons that follows. His father is a hard-drinking painter of acclaimed if  bizarre paintings, for whom odd behavior is not unknown. He demands that Martin meet him for lunch forthwith to learn why he must abandon any idea of a medical career. 

What follows is a long, richly detailed tale of Leo's father, Martin's grandfather and his career as a physician during the thirties and forties  in New Jersey. Martin's grandfather, it develops, is the renowned physician, Dr. Samuel Firestone, celebrated in the annals of medicine.  Leo's story to his son, about growing up with this celebrated GP is, truly, the stuff of legends. 

What we have here is a richly detailed roaring tale of medicine, social mores and political acumen. When Samuel Firestone decides to make his son, Leo, his assistant for a summer, in Hobart, New Jersey, Leo discovers that  his father is revered far and wide as a compassionate, caring, doctor of people, not just of medicine. Dr. Firestone is a friend of politicians, black marketers, junkies, and of unmarried, pregnant girls. He rarely sees a golf course or a tavern. He provides medical services to an enormously wide range of people who are ill. House calls at three a.m. on a Sunday night? No question, and through the novel, the false birth certificates, the unregulated adoptions, son Leo learns to drive his father's car, meets hoods, pharmacists, a junk man who acquires a false death certificate, and officials who will conveniently look the other way when the patient's well-being is at stake-and the cash is there.

Make no mistake, compassionate Dr. Samuel Firestone is a criminal. I lost track of the number of laws he broke, laws which for the most part protect society. But not everyone, all the time. The overall law that operates throughout this novel, when applied to individuals, is the law of unintended consequences. Legislators and political leaders could learn from this book. First, Do No Harm should be a must read for everyone, not just physicians. Author Larry Karp delivers a powerful message wrapped inside a fascinating, well-written mystery.
Carl Brookins, Minnesota Crime Wave Reviews