This is a very long book, but I read it quickly. The story just grabs you and pulls you along.
Joanna is trying to get NDEs from people for a study, but many have been seen first by Mr. Mandrake who thinks it's all magical and spiritual. Joanna is sure it's physical.
She meets a new researcher, Richard, who is using an imaging machine and chemicals to try and find out what causes NDEs. They join to figure it out. They lose the people they wanted to use because they're all somehow contaminated, so Joanna does it herself. She's sure she's on the Titanic and when she wakes, realizes that something her English teacher in high school gave her information that would solve the problem.
Mr. Briarly is now in Alzheimhers but his niece Kit is there and wants to help. She keeps going through his books to bring info. Then, Joanna goes to see a man who has just woken from a coma. He gives her the information that solves the problem -- what the NDE is and how it can be used.
She rushes to the ER to see her nurse friend Vielle, and the young man standing with Vielle knifes her. She lives just seconds and gives them a bit of a clue.
Richard, Kit, and Vielle work from all areas to find out what the clue meant. They have a child friend who is almost dead from heart conditions and they want to be able to use it for her.
I'm skipping the clue and if the the treatment works for the kid, because you should really read that yourself.
It's a wonderfully great book, and I definitely recommend it.