The Denver Post: Ostrow: Ex-Denverite Neal Baer writes with passion for screen, print

January 10th, 2012

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.”

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