Confession time: even though I have been following this author on various social media this is the first time I have read one of his novels. I know, groan, what is my issue, I have to claim no excuse. Michael Palmer’s bio is impressive as is his body of work. I will include all that in today’s post so hopefully if you are like me and haven’t had the chance to read one his works, you can shift gears and either get a hold of A Heartbeat Away or one of his other many novels. To what lies between the covers, shall we:

“On the night of the State of the Union address, President Max Hilliard expects to give the speech of his career. But no one anticipates the terrifying turn of events that forces him to quarantine everyone in the Capitol building. A terrorist group calling itself “Genesis” has unleashed WRX3883, a deadly, highly contagious virus, into the building. No one fully knows the deadly effect of the germ except for the team responsible for its development—a team headed by Hilliard, himself. The only one who might be able to help is virologist Griffin Rhodes, currently in solitary confinement in a maximum security federal prison for alleged terrorist acts, including the attempted theft of WRX3883 from the lab where he worked. Rhodes has no idea why he has been arrested, but when Hilliard offers to free him in exchange for his help combating the virus, he reluctantly agrees to do what he can to support the government that has imprisoned him without apparent cause.

Meanwhile, every single person in line for presidential succession is trapped inside the Capitol—every person except one: the Director of Homeland Security, who is safely at home in Minnesota, having been selected as the “Designated Survivor” for this event. With enemies both named and unnamed closing in, and the security of the nation at stake, Griff must unravel the mysteries of WRX3883 without violating his pledge as a scientist to use no animal testing in his experiments…and time is running out.”

Here is the author info: ”Michael Palmer, M.D., is the author of the forthcoming A Heartbeat Away (2011), The Last Surgeon, The First Patient, The Fifth Vial, The Society, Fatal, The Patient, Miracle Cure, Critical Judgment, Silent Treatment, Natural Causes, Extreme Measures, Flashback, Side Effects, and The Sisterhood. His books have been translated into thirty-five languages. He trained in internal medicine at Boston City and Massachusetts General Hospitals, spent twenty years as a full-time practitioner of internal and emergency medicine, and is now an associate director of the Massachusetts Medical Society's physician health program.”

Okay, now that you have read that, I think that if you are intrigued, there are a few novels that you can pick up as he has penned so many. Where to start?  Right from the beginning of A Heartbeat Away moves into high gear with “Genesis” kicking it into bad guy mode. Things just move along at a faster and harder clip from there. I enjoyed the manner in which Palmer mixed the elements of medical knowledge and the political intrigue. In this novel it made a nice marriage and for some excellent reading. My plans are to backtrack and plot a course over time to read Michael Palmer’s previous novels and enjoy each one.

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