Sunday, November 25, 2007

The First Patient-Michael Palmer

The First Patient
Michael Palmer
St. Martin’s, Feb 2008, $25.95
ISBN 9780312343538

When the physician to President Andrew Stoddard, Dr. Jim Ferendelli, vanishes, the POTUS asks his long time friend Dr. Gabe Singleton to come to DC to take the position. Although Gabe would prefer to remain in Wyoming, he travels to Washington for his friend.

In the capital, Singleton is taken aback when Andrew acts confused as if he suffered a stroke; yet no vital signs imply a stroke or any other brain debilitating illness. Instead Gabe believes someone close to the President has caused the mysterious ailment, but he is ignorant as to whom, how and why. He needs to perform preventative medicine on President Stoddard, which means stopping whatever is causing the illness. To do that Gabe, trusting no one except Nurse Alison Cromartie, investigates those at the White House and even at Blair House trying to answer the questions that befuddle him. Gabe also knows he should suspect Alison as she has the know-how, but he can’t because he has fallen in love with her.

Although this medical political thriller is way over the top of the Washington Monument, fans will enjoy Michael Palmer’s entertaining tale. The story line contains the typical Palmer brand as the action is fast-paced, the hero is way over-matched, and real science supports the nefarious premise. Readers will savor Singleton’s amateur sleuthing.

Harriet Klausner