It seemed idyllic. Matt Ruttledge had just returned to his West Virginia hometown to marry his high school sweetheart and set up a medical practice. But before Matt can cozy into the American Dream, his beloved Ginny falls victim to a rare strain of cancer. The grieving emergency specialist suspects that his darling's demise was caused by the toxic brew of nearby Belinda Coal and Company, the waste-spewing concern he holds responsible for his own father's death, but hard evidence is nowhere to be found. Then two strangers with their own deadly stories enter Matt's life, in this adroitly plotted medical mystery from Michael Palmer.
Palmer's 10th medical thriller rides on his usual wave of unrelenting adrenaline, and will make readers think twice the next time they're due for a routine vaccination. The physician-hero this time is Matt Ruttledge, a doctor in bucolic Belinda, W.Va. When several of his patients turn up in the emergency room, babbling incoherently and sporting unsightly lumps on their faces, Ruttledge blames the town's main employer, a large mining operation with a history of safety abuses and environmental neglect. As more patients turn up with the same fatal symptoms, Ruttledge discovers that a larger culprit may be responsible: a new supervaccine that's about to hit the market. Backed by powerful political interests and drug companies, the vaccine, called Omnivax, had been tested in Belinda a decade earlier, and its deadly side effects are now finally surfacing. Joined by a group of like-minded medical professionals and a colorful cast of civilians, Ruttledge sets out to stymie the makers of the vaccine. Omnivax's backers, however, have no intention of letting a lone doctor and a gaggle of bumpkins kill their cash cow. As with Palmer's other popular thrillers (The Patient, etc.), the plot at times turns wild to the point of disbelief, and the occasional red herring practically screams its presence the moment it swims into view. But the former ER physician's ability to craft gripping suspense, likable heroes and hateful villains as well as a thought-provoking dialogue about the risks of the nation's vaccination program keep the pulse pounding. Major print and radio ad/promo; author tour. (May 7) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
A young doctor, back home in West Virginia to track some suspicious family deaths, runs into a conspiracy at the local mine. More from the former physician who brought us The Patient. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Adult/High School-Palmer excels at packing current medical issues into a web of suspense. The action begins immediately as people in various cities become afflicted with some unknown malady with bizarre symptoms. Some die quickly from seizures and blood loss, others develop a progressive mental illness along with "Elephant Man"-like growths on their faces and bodies, culminating in uncontrollable violence. Dr. Matt Rutledge is certain that a case he has seen, involving a mine worker for the Belinda Coal and Coke Company, is related to the mine's criminal offenses. He was raised in the West Virginia town and lost his father to alleged safety violations, and his wife to a rare cancer. Certain that her illness was induced by groundwater contamination, Matt has a double score to settle with BC&C. Meanwhile, in Washington, DC, Ellen Kroft, member of the advocacy group PAVE (Parents Advocating Vaccine Education), is struggling with her vote as part of a group evaluating a new megavaccine, Omnivax. In Boston, medical examiner Dr. Nikki Solari has watched the mental deterioration of her talented roommate as strange growths appear on her face. Both Ellen and Nikki travel to Belinda in search of answers. As expected, the three protagonists get together and set about solving the medical mystery, with danger, attempted murder, and bureaucratic strangulation surrounding them. Palmer skillfully juggles many subplots, integrating colorful characters and using current bioscience topics. FDA testing, vaccines, environmental toxins, spongiform encephalitis, greedy pharmaceutical executives, and bad cops-all contribute to the novel's action, suspense, and intrigue.-Carol DeAngelo, Kings Park Library, Burke, VA Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Raves for Michael Palmer's
“The Patient might be [Palmer’s] most riveting book yet, leaving hardly enough time to take a breath.”
—The Denver Post
“The Patient is what Die Hard movies are made of: brilliantly nasty terrorists hectoring innocent folks, with only a wisecracking lone wolf to forestall.”
—Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
“A highly entertaining tale of greed and medicine run amok.”
“Packs plenty of heart-stopping action.”
“Wrenchingly scary...Palmer is reaching the top of a demanding craft.”
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Palmer [brings] his fascinating ER procedural knowledge to a fast-paced...narrative.”
—San Francisco Chronicle
“Guaranteed to terrify anyone who...has reason to step inside the doors of a hospital....Dynamite plot...fast-paced and engrossing.”
—The Washington Post
“Palmer owes this reviewer about three hours of sleep spent reading this can’t-put-it-downer. You are cautioned...don’t start this one at 10 at night.”
—The Washington Times