Sudbury family physician Dr. Klaus Jakelski has stuck to the medical thriller category for his second novel, “Relief.”
The book, published by Blue Denim Press, is about a surgeon and nurse who work for a medical relief agency, and are deployed to war-torn Yugoslavia during the conflict of the 1990s.
Carrying their own demons, they proceed to intervene in the many war rapes they find. All goes well until they do it for both sides.
Jakelski said she always wanted to write a war story, and he was fascinated when he heard a story by the CBC's Anna-Maria Tremonti about women raped during the Balkan conflict.
“I was listening to Anna Maria, and I got wind of the fact that all of these women were being raped there,” he said. “As it percolated in my mind, I thought that would make an excellent war story.”
Jakelski said the book very topical, as it relates to more current stories of sexual crimes, whether that's schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram in Nigeria or the #MeToo movement in North America.
“It strikes a lot of interest for a lot of different people,” Jakelski said. “The women that have read it have really taken to it, and have really backed it and supported it.”
Another theme is the medical relief workers, who are an interesting lot, to say the least, said Jakelski, who has never done such work himself, but has spoken to people who have.
“I learned from people who went that these relief workers really pre-selected themselves,” he said. “They go for a reason. A lot of them have certain issues with themselves. They're escaping from things.”
Jakelski's first novel “Dead Wrong,” released in 2015, is about a young Canadian surgeon and an aspiring news anchor who “blow open” a story about children dying under mysterious circumstances at a heart hospital.
“It was a first attempt,” he said of the 2015 book. “There's a lot that you learn after a first attempt.”
Jakelski said it took him a couple of years to write his second novel, and he has a third partially written.
He said actually released “Relief” in October, but between the federal election and Christmas, he decided to wait until the new year for an official launch.
Jakelski holds a book signing at Chapters Sudbury from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. this Saturday, Feb. 15. A reception will follow from 3-5 p.m. at DiGusto on Regent Street in the South End.