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Nanaimo author wraps up trilogy following ‘antihero’ Island doctor

Lawrence Winkler presents ‘The Last Casebook of Doctor Sababa’
Nanaimo author Lawrence Winkler’s latest book is ‘The Last Casebook of Doctor Sababa.’ (Bulletin file photo/supplied)

Nanaimo author Lawrence Winkler is bringing an end to his story about an ace doctor who solves the toughest cases with style at ‘Harbour City Regional Hospital.’

On April 16 Winkler and the Nanaimo North Library are presenting an online book launch for The Last Casebook of Doctor Sababa, the final instalment in Winkler’s Sababa saga.

Winkler, a former physician himself, said he had never planned on writing about medicine but found it “heartwarming” to revisit his professional relationships as well as the patients he’s helped over the years. He said the trilogy has been a “daunting” project.

“It took me a year basically to scale out and template all of the cases,” Winkler said. “I went through all of my records to find the most interesting cases and to develop the characters and it’s taken me a year to write each of the books.”

In The Last Casebook, Dr. Sababa faces new and familiar challenges, Winkler said. There are changes in administrative command and a deep-learning artificial intelligence is introduced that threatens to replace Sababa. Furthermore, a change in professional culture has led to Sababa encountering “saboteurs” within his own department. Finally there is the inevitable change in his physical condition, as an aging Sababa must “face his own mortality and the failure of his senses.”

While Winkler experienced some of these challenges himself, he said “I always have to reiterate that it’s a book of fiction.” He said there are a couple reasons his books are based on his first-hand experiences.

“First of all, there’s an old adage that you’re supposed to ‘write what you know’ and I guess I know what I was and still am,” Winkler said. “And the second reason is that the only thing you do leave behind are your own words, as 1,000 years from now those words will still be around.”

Winkler he chose to end Sababa’s story for now as “he’s an antihero and antiheroes have to come to ground at some point.” He said he’ll be turning his attention to other projects.

“I have to admit I left it a bit open just in case the demand soared, but I think it’s time to leave Sababa to his devices,” Winkler said. “And I’ve got some other irons in the fire that I’d like to develop.”

WHAT’S ON … The Last Casebook of Doctor Sababa book launch hosted by Nanaimo North Library via Zoom on April 16 at 2 p.m. at

RELATED: Nanaimo author releases second book about ace Island doctor

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