La Jolla’s Dr. Kelly Parsons pens a thriller set in a hospital

Author and surgeon Kelly Parsons grew up in La Jolla and graduated from The Bishop’s School. He obtained his B.A. degree in History from Stanford and his M.D. degree from the University of Pennsylvania. After completing his medical training at Johns Hopkins, he joined the faculty at UC San Diego Medical School and The Moores UCSD Comprehensive Cancer Center, where he is currently an associate professor of surgery.

Parsons lives in La Jolla with his wife, Genevieve; daughter, Leah; and son, Nathaniel. His first novel, “Doing Harm” (described as a chilling and compelling medical thriller) will be released Feb. 4, by St. Martin’s Press.

He will mark the event with a signing at Warwick’s Bookstore on Girard Avenue at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 11.

What brought you to La Jolla?

My family moved here when I was seven. After graduating from high school, I lived in various places for 16 years before accepting a position at UCSD. Twelve years on the East Coast made me appreciate the southern California lifestyle in a way growing up here never could.

What might you add, subtract or improve in the area?

I would love to see an independent movie house again in the Village. I still miss the historical Cove Theatre that used to be on Girard Avenue. Its undignified conversion into retail space, after more than 50 years of operation, was a real loss to the community.

Who or what inspires you?

My patients. Not a day goes by without at least one of them teaching me something profound about illness and the human condition.

What is your most-prized possession?

Not possessions, but gifts: my family, my friends, and my health — three things I try every day not to take for granted.

What are you currently reading?

Just finished: “American Gods” by Neil Gaiman. Currently reading: “Five Days at Memorial” by Sheri Fink. Up next: “Cryptonomicon” by Neil Stephenson.

If you hosted a dinner party for eight, whom (living or deceased) would you invite?

Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, Jimmy Stewart, Dr. Francis Collins (director of the National Institutes of Health), J.K. Rowling, Queen Catherine II of Russia, Dr. Helen Taussig (pioneering Johns Hopkins cardiologist), and C.S. Lewis.

What is it that you most dislike?


What do you do for fun?

I enjoy spending time with my family, watching movies, exercising, sampling San Diego’s outstanding microbrews with my

friends, and — of course — reading.

What is your philosophy of life?

Chance favors the prepared mind.

What would be your dream vacation?

Any secluded and quiet spot without cell phones, pagers, or Internet access.