From day one Dr. Abby Dolan has felt uncomfortable working in the emergency room of Patience Regional Hospital in tiny Patience, California. Cut off from the sophisticated staff and equipment that backed her up in San Francisco, Abby Dolan wonders if she has what it takes to succeed in a small-town facility with some big-time problems.Abby had moved to Patience to be with her fiance, Josh Wyler, but the Josh she lives with now is a different man--manic, hostile, and prone to blinding headaches. And then one night Josh storms out for good, and Abby is left wondering whether it's the pressures at his new job with manufacturing giant Colstar, or whether Colstar itself is making Josh sick. In the E.R. she is seeing too many patients with unexplainable symptoms--too many to be normal.Abby's suspicions about Colstar are shared by E.R. colleague Dr. Lew Alvarez, whose investigating committee has shrunk, as one by one they succumbed to the company's stranglehold on Patience. Abby is not about to be scared off, but her own in-vestigation reaches a dead end: all the blood samples she sends out for testing come back negative for chemical contamination. Yet Abby is certain the citizens of Patience are slowly being poisoned. The question is whether she will die proving it.