Customer Reviews for

A Heartbeat Away

Average Rating 3.5
( 155 )
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

10 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

Palmer's best so far

I'm an unashamed Michael Palmer fan, so I went into this one with high expectations--and he exceeded them. I was hooked from the first couple of scenes, and couldn't wait to get back to the book to see what he'd cooked up next.
It's a bio-terror thriller that involves ...
I'm an unashamed Michael Palmer fan, so I went into this one with high expectations--and he exceeded them. I was hooked from the first couple of scenes, and couldn't wait to get back to the book to see what he'd cooked up next.
It's a bio-terror thriller that involves the President, Congress, and everyone in the line of succession to the President except the "designated survivor" being exposed to a deadly virus by a group of terrorists. The only man who can possibly find a solution to save everyone is a scientist the President has had locked up in solitary confinement for months as an accused traitor.
I'm pretty good at predicting twists, turns, and endings, but Palmer kept me guessing to a very satisfying end.
Highly recommended

posted by Richard_Mabry on January 13, 2011

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Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

A Heartbea Away

This book had promise at the beginning, but started lagging in the middle. Some of the dialogue was off, and the end seemed thrown together in a hurry. Not a book I'd recommend.

posted by majkenmarie on March 28, 2011

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  • Posted February 11, 2011

    Highly Recommended

    I received an advanced review copy of Michael Palmer's "A Heartbeat Away" which opens with U. S. President Jim Allaire entering the U. S. House of Representatives Chamber to give his State of the Union address. While still giving his introductory remarks, a biological weapon, WXR3883, is suddenly released from several purses and briefcases of unaware Congressmen. The President, a former physician, knows that this virus is deadly and in seeking to prevent it from being spread to the public orders the Capitol doors shut, locking every one in. A terrorist group called Genesis sends an email to the House Speaker, the President's rival, demanding that their legislative agenda be passed before they will allow the antidote to be dispensed. The agenda? Banning the Patriot Act and opening up the borders. The Cabinet member designated not to attend the speech, a/k/a the survivor, is the Secretary of Homeland Security, the last Cabinet member in the line of succession to the Presidency should a terrorist action take place. Allaire has to rely on a domestic terrorist that he sent to prison, Griffin Rhodes, to come up with an antidote. I loved the Melvin Forbush character and wonder if he was for Bush. He is a sloppy, overweight scientist with zero social skills but can solve every crisis by finding a mirror from the ghosting errors of just about any movie. He is Rhodes' assistant. I would love to see him in a real flick. There was another part of the story that I found fascinating. It dealt with Griffin Rhodes' refusal to use animals in his experiments. I don't know if this is realistic today or if Palmer made it up. I thought about whether to categorize this novel as a political thriller even though Palmer writes medical mysteries. The title is certainly a political one as is the setting. However, there are too many strings left hanging that you would not find in a political thriller. There was no investigation of Capitol security or other staffers to determine their culpability. Likewise, there was no looking at the particular Congressmen from whose bags the weapon was released. All of these issues would be central to any political thriller. The plot followed the placement of the weapons in the Chamber to find those Congressmen who were the most ill. All were triaged into 3 groups depending on the advanced state of their illness. Instead of finding fault here, I decided to categorize it as a medical mystery. Most of the story lies in the symptomology of the virus as well as the rush to find an antidote. The medical mystery formula is the one Palmer followed so that makes the decision a little easier but I think a lot of folks will be disappointed that there were unresolved political schemes. In any event, this is still a great novel that keeps you hanging until the last page.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 10, 2012

    Great find!

    This was the first book I've read by Michael Palmer, and I will efinitely read more. Fast paced and considering our times, very believable. I'm a politics junkie, so this was a perfect read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 7, 2014

    This was my first Michael Palmer book and it won't be my last. A

    This was my first Michael Palmer book and it won't be my last. At first it was a little slow, 
    but the more I got into it was difficult to put down. Really liked it and would recommend.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 24, 2013

    Great thrilling read!

    Great political thriller with many twists and turns.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 28, 2013

    good book but predictable

    The plot moved along fast and kept my attention but the who doneit part of the story was highly disapointing but overall a very good read

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 29, 2012

    Highly Recommended

    I enjoyed this book very much. It kept me in suspense as to who was behind the chemical leaks.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 31, 2012

    g GOOD Good REA Good Read

    Good plot and some likeable characters.

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  • Posted February 25, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Highly recommended.

    Michael Palmer has written another edge of your seat thriller. However exciting the plot line, parts of it seemed a little far fetched. How was Genesis able to hide the virus in the purses of selected women? Also, the president seemed a little wimpy and manipulative. Overall, the book is entertaining and a real page turner.

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  • Posted December 31, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    exciting action-packed biological terrorist thriller

    American President James Allaire begins the annual State of the Union address. Small containers explode releasing a viral WRX3883. Over seven hundred people inside the House Chamber are infected by the toxin. The impact is disastrous as those hurt include the President, leaders of Congress, the Vice President, the Supreme Court judges, and cabinet leaders. Allaire takes charge of inside the chamber, locking it down.

    The Director of the Department of Homeland Security is the selected "survivor" who remained in Minnesota during the calamitous speech. He is the leading government official outside of the quarantine zone. As the country seeks a cure for the infections disease, a domestic terrorist group Genesis on the "Fourth Day" demands the repeal of the Patriot Act and the end of surveillance on Americans or further terrorist acts will follow. Allaire led the WRX3883 virus development team and knows who he must turn to for help. Virologist Griffin Rhodes who is designated as a terrorist under the Patriot Act was placed in solitary confinement although he has no idea why he was locked away in a maximum federal pen.

    Though over the top of the Capital Building as the Genesis motive along with their insiders seem inane for even an extreme group, Heartbeat Away is an exciting action-packed biological terrorist thriller. Fast-paced, readers who can ignore the plausibility of key events and linear characterizations will enjoy Michael Palmer's entertaining State of the Union.

    Harriet Klausner

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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