The Denver Post
January 9, 2012
By Joanne Ostrow
The action in Neal Baer‘s just-published debut novel is so cinematic, it reads like a prime-time thriller.
“Kill Switch,” co-authored with Jonathan Greene, is imbued with Baer’s medical knowledge along with suspense on the order of “Silence of the Lambs.” It was actually first imagined as a movie.
“Jon and I wrote an outline nine years ago but never wrote the script. I literally put it in my bottom drawer,” Baer said by phone from Los Angeles. A book agent called, looking for a medical thriller. Baer proffered a 35-page outline. After he wrote three sample chapters, then two more, the agent landed a three-book deal with Kensington Publishing Corp. The movie rights sold next.
Now the reader can even picture the heroine’s face: It’s Izzie! Katherine Heigl, who made the leap from “Grey’s Anatomy” to the movies via Judd Apatow’s “Knocked Up,” is set to portray Claire Waters, the young forensic psychiatrist at the center of “Kill Switch.” Once a doctor on “Grey’s,” in “Kill Switch” Heigl will behave more like Mariska Hargitay on “Law & Order: SVU” if she had a degree in psychiatry.
Baer, a Denver native who attended Cherry Creek High School and Colorado College before getting his M.D., is a longtime TV writer-producer: “ER,” “Law & Order: SVU” and, currently, “A Gifted Man.” He has used his career to inform audiences while entertaining them, on issues like AIDS, and has taught a course on “social documentary” at CC. A Harvard Medical School graduate, he considered psychiatry before settling on pediatrics. He finished medical school during hiatuses from “ER.”