A Heartbeat Away

A Heartbeat Away

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A Heartbeat Away 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 163 reviews.
Richard_Mabry More than 1 year ago
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
CBH More than 1 year ago
When a power failure occurred in parts of the eastern United States, no one had an inkling of what caused it. All the experts were stunned since with all the emergency backups in place, this shouldn't be happening, but it was! As President James Allaire took the podium to give his State of the Union address, power to certain areas also failed in the house chambers where all of the top officials of the United States government were gathered to listen to this annual report the president gave to the nation. The only exception to this gathering was one government official that wasn't allowed to be with all the others in case of an emergency. For this occasion it was the eighteenth in succession to the presidency, the Secretary of Homeland Security, Paul Rappaport, who was in another area of the nation. When President Allaire started his speech, all rose and gave enormous applause for him. However, when his speech resumed he heard a popping sound followed by the sounds of breaking glass and the emergence of a thin, white mist throughout the audience as the same sounds were heard in various areas of the room. Thus was the first that Genesis had become public with their threats by releasing a horrific threat called WRX3883. The president immediately had all the doors locked to keep all inside so none of this terrible what-ever-it-was could be spread to the outside world. Eventually President Allaire split the over seven hundred in the gallery into three groups depending on how close they were to the mist that had been released. The Speaker of the House, Ursula Ellis, who thought she should have been elected president because she was the best thing that could have happened to the nation, was one of the large baulkers about the separation. President Allaire admitted to some that he and some others had been working on finding a serum to fight this released biological agent but he had kept it secret and was still doing so. No one knew how so much of this could have been smuggled into the House. Angela Fletcher is a star reporter who had worked with others in the biological field and who wanted in on whatever was occurring in the House Chambers. The outside world was blocked from any news regarding the threat facing all those gathered to listen to the State of the Union message. President Allaire knew the man he wanted to attempt to open the mystery of WRX3883; Griffin Rhodes was this man but the problem is that Rhodes was serving a life sentence in prison for killing, even though he still maintained his innocence. Rhodes was contacted and his demands were met for a full pardon IF he found a serum that would wipe out this terrible disease that tore the insides of a person apart in a very short time. Angela and Griffin had known each other from previous work and were both drawn into the search. All the time there were battles in the groups between the hateful Speaker of the House, the Vice-President, the President, and others taking one side or the other in attempting to control who would do what and how. "A Heartbeat Away" is a fantastic thriller with many twists and many turns including Genesis finding out who was doing what and where through someone that must be working against the president. Michael Palmer has given us a look at some of the terrible situations that could arise out of such a dangerous threat and how hard-fought the battle could be to attempt to control such an immediate threat. Read it and y
grumpydan More than 1 year ago
Michael Palmer has written an intense political thriller involving the president, terrorists, scientists and a deadly virus. From the start when terrorists calling themselves 'Genesis' cause a huge blackout then release a deadly virus in the Capital to the finale and resolution, this novel is one hell of a page turner. Non-stop action, twists, questions and more kept me engrossed throughout the night reading this one.
We-Love-2-Read More than 1 year ago
What a fantastic thriller! Just when you thought you had it figured out, you were wrong again. I couldn't put the book down. I have read nearly all of Michael Palmer's novels and enjoyed each of them equally as well. I highly recommend his books, especially to medical professionals who enjoy a good thriller. The medical side is so accurate too!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Thsi book was so intense that I literally could not put this down..Micheal Palmer is the best!!!
Laura50 More than 1 year ago
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.
usmc_brat More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I stumbled across this title just as I was finishing Ken Follett's Whiteout, another virus thriller. While the plot concept sounded good, book really just failed to keep my interest at any level. I think the biggest problem for me was that all the characters seemed so shallow, self-serving, and downright evil. Even the "hero" didn't inspire any enthusiasm.
Suspensemag More than 1 year ago
Always exhilarating, Palmer ratchets the tension to a breathtaking level with the release of "A Heartbeat Away". Stunning in its realism and truly terrifying, Palmer keeps a frantic, anxiety-driven pace, giving his fans a ringside seat as the nightmare unfolds. As President James Allaire begins his second State of the Union address, he's prepared to captivate the public with his charm, but doesn't get the opportunity. Within moments of launching his message, puffs of vapor begin pouring out of strategically placed locations on the floor of the House Chamber. As the haze subsides, he receives a horrifying message. Genesis-a domestic terrorist group-has released a deadly, contagious and incredibly aggressive virus into the Capitol building and all hell is about to break loose. Allaire is all too familiar with WRX3883 and the lethal consequences of its release. He is, in part, responsible for its origination and is very aware that the outcome has become dire for the hundreds of beautifully coifed attendees of this evening. Trapped with all but one successor for the office of the presidency, Allaire must reach out to the one man who has absolutely no reason to help him. One time virologist, Griffin Rhodes is now a permanent resident in solitary confinement at a maximum-security prison in Colorado. Being held for alleged terrorist acts and unaware of his crimes, Rhodes faces a personal challenge when granted freedom in exchange for his assistance. With a grim outlook, amplified as he walks into the nightmarish scene of the crime, Rhodes understands that the hope of the nation lies heavily on his shoulders. Palmer's genius lies in his ability to never underestimate the intelligence of his readers as he takes us into thought-provoking territories meant to keep us up at night. Reviewed by Shannon Raab for Suspense Magazine
KenCady More than 1 year ago
I have previously enjoyed some of Michael Palmer's medical thrillers, but this one is just dreadful. Truly one of the worst books I have read in years. The plot just doesn't hold interest or belief.
majkenmarie More than 1 year ago
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.
Kittyb1 More than 1 year ago
I literally found myself holding my breath throughout this roller coaster ride book. I've read all of Mr. Palmer's books and love his direct, fast paced style. This one has it all! Political intrique, scary characters, a deadly virus...and an unexpected hero! Get ready to stay with this one...you can't put it down.
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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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great political thriller with many twists and turns.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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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Great book
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