Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Michael Palmer's The First Patient ~ Reviewed
The First Patient
Hardcover: 384 pages
Publisher: St. Martin's Press; First Edition edition (February 19, 2008)
Cover Copy: From the blockbuster, New York Times bestselling author comes a high-concept, high-octane thriller at the crossroads of presidential politics and cutting-edge medicine. . . .Gabe Singleton and Andrew Stoddard were roommates at the Naval Academy in Annapolis years ago. Today, Gabe is a country doctor and his friend Andrew has gone from war hero to governor to President of the United States. One day, while the United States is embroiled in a bitter presidential election campaign, Marine One lands on Gabe's Wyoming ranch, and President Stoddard delivers a disturbing revelation and a startling request. His personal physician has suddenly and mysteriously disappeared, and he desperately needs Gabe to take the man's place. Despite serious misgivings, Gabe agrees to come to Washington. It is not until he is ensconced in the White House medical office that Gabe realizes there is strong evidence that the President is going insane. Facing a crisis of conscience-as President Stoddard's physician, he has the power to invoke the Twenty-fifth Amendment to transfer presidential power to the Vice President-Gabe uncovers increasing evidence that his friend's condition may not be due to natural causes. Who? Why? And how?
The President's life is at stake. A small-town doctor suddenly finds himself in the most powerful position on earth, and the safety of the world is in jeopardy. Gabe Singleton must find the answers, and the clock is ticking. . . .With Michael Palmer's trademark medical details, and steeped in meticulous political insider knowledge, The First Patient is an unforgettable story of suspense.
Michael Palmer investigates and develops a horrifying and electrifying plot in The First Patient.
Though this is my first Michael Palmer novel, and though I am not a huge fan of political fiction, I found myself turning pages like mad and losing sleep. I developed the “one more chapter” syndrome a hundred or so pages into the 350+ page plus novel.
The strengths in this story are the intriguing plot and the behind the scenes “sneak” into the most powerful office in the United States. Palmer's medical knowledge made it more interesting to me, however, I tend to love medical thrillers since my day job is in a clinic.
The weaknesses within The First Patient were in the too quick romantic interest for Gabe, a slower beginning, and a slightly rushed conclusion. I did guess the most evil of all evil characters and I'm not usually great at uncovering clues, so there may have been a red herring issue that didn't ring true for me. If you usually guess correctly, you may find that true for you also.
If you love thrillers with a bit of romance and a lot of peril, you might want to look further into The First Patient. Sensitive souls may want to opt out because there is a horror element and a seriously nasty secret life for one of the characters. If you are a Palmer fan, I'm sure you won't be disappointed.
Reviewed by: Kelly Klepfer