"The Cutting Season"
(Reviewed by Eleanor Bukowsky JUL 24, 2007)
Arthur Rosenfeld’s The Cutting Season is a marvelously entertaining blend of many different genres: medical thriller, psychological suspense, fantasy, martial arts adventure, romance, and crime drama, all neatly packaged into three hundred engrossing pages. The hero is a brilliant neurosurgeon, Dr. Xenon Pearl, who secretly practices the fighting techniques that he learned from his former Chinese nanny, Wu Tie Mei. The nanny also passed on to her protégé her vast knowledge of Chinese history and philosophy, as well as the principles of acupuncture and the use of medicinal herbs. Zee, as Xenon is called, is no garden-variety medical professional. He rides a motorcycle, wears a ponytail, savors exotic chocolate, meditates regularly, and generally eschews the trappings of materialism that so many doctors cherish.
The author immediately captures the reader’s attention with his electrifying opening chapter. The scene is an operating room in South Florida. Zee is startled when the soul of the eleven-year old boy who is lying on his table suddenly flits from his small body and rises upward. Zee’s scalpel slips and nicks an artery, and the patient is soon declared dead. The child, whose name is Rafik, came into the hospital after suffering a terrible beating. His father is a powerful Russian mob boss named Vlexei Petrossov, and he claims that his son fell off his bicycle, a statement that is patently absurd. Before Zee confronts Petrossov, he sees the ghost of Wu Tie Mei, who has been dead for ten years. She tells Zee, “You are a fearsome warrior no matter what skin you wear.” Tie Mei is warning Xenon Pearl that he is about to confront some tough challenges that will test his mettle both as a doctor and a martial arts practitioner.
To prepare himself for what lies ahead, Zee mounts his bright yellow Triumph Thruxton motorcycle in search of Thaddeus Jones, a master swordsmith. Zee learns that Jones died two years ago. However, his daughter, the beautiful Jordan Jones, is a talented craftswoman in her own right who has inherited her father’s skill. Zee asks Jordan to craft a special weapon for him, “a straight sword, double-edged, flexible, with a voice through the air.” She agrees and gradually, Xenon Pearl forges a deep connection with this amazing and unusual woman.
As time goes on, Zee wonders: Is he a healer, an avenger, or both? His former teacher reappears regularly, trying to convince Zee that he was a warrior in a former incarnation and that he must fight again to fulfill his destiny. Goaded by Tie Mei, Zee is tempted to exact retribution against those who have harmed innocent people. However, he worries that the visions he has of Tie Mei may be hallucinations, brought on by overwork and too many sleepless nights. Should he trust the police to do their job, or should he take the law into his own deadly hands? What if, by embracing his role as a vigilante, he places himself and those he loves in danger?This is a complex and textured novel, with vivid characters, sardonic humor, violent action, and fascinating riffs on philosophy, medicine, and the mind-body connection. With its well-crafted prose and pitch-perfect dialogue, the story moves along at lightning speed as Rosenfeld describes Zee using his training in the martial arts to make him a better neurosurgeon, comforting a fifteen-year old boy whose father lies in a coma after a possible suicide attempt, bantering with the new love of his life, and using his arcane skills to confront a host of sadistic villains. Eventually, Zee learns that his father, Asher, has kept a crucial secret from him that will change his entire perspective on who he is and what he should do in the future. The Cutting Season is a rich, fulfilling, and passionate work that both entertains and enlightens. It also raises some intriguing ideas about love, family, crime, and punishment, and suggests that “heaven is found inside each of us, and flows from defeating our demons.”
- Amazon readers rating: from 9 reviews
(back to top)
Bibliography: (with links to Amazon.com)
Martial Arts Books:
Nestor Dark Series:
(back to top)
(back to top)
About the Author:
Arthur Rosenfeld is a martial arts teacher, writer, speaker, and coach. His martial arts training spans more than twenty-six years, and includes instruction in Tang Soo Do, Kenpo, Kung Fu, and Tai Chi Ch'uan.
Rosenfield is a critically-acclaimed, best-selling author of six novels, two non-fiction books, several screenplays, and numerous magazine articles (Vogue, Vanity Fair, Parade, and others). He consults for the pharmaceutical industry as a recognized expert on aspects of chronic pain.
Rosenfeld resides in Pompano Beach, FL.