NetGalley Top Reviewer

NetGalley Top Reviewer
NetGalley Top Reviewer

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

A Heartbeat Away by Michael Palmer

3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed again..., April 19, 2011
This review is from: A Heartbeat Away (Audio CD)
I have read all of Michael Palmer's books -- some better than others. This was an "other" and a disappointment to me. This was not so much a medical thriller as it was a chance for the author to get on his soap box about ethical and political issues such as the use of animals for drug and disease testing, the efficacy of homeland security, and the government's approach to terrorism -- to name a few.

As other reviewers have pointed out, the plot premise was sound. Someone (we are led to believe it is a terrorist group known as Genesis) releases a deadly virus into the hall of the Capitol as the President is giving his State of the Union address. All who are present are subsequently quarantined and President James Allaire locates someone he previously imprisoned to try to make a serum that will cure everyone. From that interesting start, the story spirals out and tries to deal with too many subplots and those ethical issues I mentioned.

Although the narrative moves along at a rapid pace, the writing really irritated me and detracted from my enjoyment of the story. The author writes using one string of metaphors or similes after another. Everything is "like" something. The escapes that the main characters make from professional hit men are ludicrous and totally unbelievable. I didn't like a single character in this book -- not even the savior Griffin Rhodes or his girlfriend and sidekick, investigative reporter Angela Fletcher. The characters in the book are typical black and white caricatures and stereotypes of good guys and bad guys (or gals). Nothing was surprising and the entire resolution was completely predictable.

So, I suggest you pass on this one if you are looking to read a good medical thriller. I hope that Palmer returns to his original style and sticks to books that focus on the medical aspects rather than the political.

An aside -- I listened to this book on audio CD and I must give kudos to the reader. He did an excellent job of voicing the characters - both male and female. It was easy to tell them apart and he did a very nice reading. If you really want to get this book, buy this audio version!

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