Just before his 50th birthday, life begins to unravel for Dr. Harry Corbett of the Manhattan Medical Center. Not only is his beautiful and talented wife, Evie, scheduled for serious neurosurgery but Harry believes that he will die on his birthday like his father and grandfather. Nothing happens as the doctor fears. Instead, his wife is murdered, and, after confessing to an affair with her, Harry's archenemy, Casper Sidonis, accuses Harry of having killed her. The most dimwitted cop in recent fiction arrives on the scene and agrees with Sidonis. From this somewhat far-fetched beginning, Palmer (Natural Causes, LJ 2/1/94) creates a suspenseful, entirely credible tale of health insurance fraud and behind-the-scenes hospital politics. Palmer, who manages to find new and more frightenting themes for his medical thrillers, gets better with each book. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 12/94.]-Jo Ann Vicarel, Cleveland Heights-University Heights P.L., Ohio
Palmer has written another winner in his usual gripping, surprise-filled manner. The story starts with the trite phrase, "The Doctor will see you now," although readers will soon comprehend the blood-curdling subtext. Next, four diners at the Jade Restaurant succumb to food poisoning and are hospitalized. One of them turns out to be Ron Farrell, an insurance company executive; a mysterious figure visits him, and he soon dies. Then Harry Corbett, severely wounded in Vietnam and now a doctor at Manhattan Medical Center, visits his wife, Evie, just before an operation on her brain aneurysm. He goes to get her a milkshake and returns just after she inexplicably expires. Although Harry does not know it, Evie had a second life as Desiree, a high-priced call girl who was also a reporter on the verge of publishing a shocking expose. It seems that the Roundtable, a small group of insurance executives, is masterminding a program to improve their profits at the expense of patients, who will lose either their coverage or their lives. Silent Treatment will make many readers think, definitely keep them interested, and maybe even make them cheer when Palmer's next thriller appears.