Monday, May 30, 2016
Mercy by Daniel Palmer
4.0 out of 5 stars -- Mercy or murder? That's the moral debate at the heart of this novel. Is self-determination a fundamental right? Do the terminally ill or the severely disabled "deserve the right to hasten death to avoid inhumane suffering or escape from a life turned unbearable?" To die with dignity. Or should suicide or assisted suicide in those cases remain illegal and generally thought immoral? Would allowing it lead to abuse or reduce care?
Dr. Julie Devereux is a critical care physician working in Boston. She's also an advocate for death with dignity. She believes that patients should be able to end their suffering on their own terms. Her certainty ends, however, when her fiance Sam is severely injured in a motorcycle crash. When he begs Julie to help him die, she enlists the help of a volunteer with the organization Very Much Alive to help Sam recover his desire to live. Sam is getting better when he suddenly dies. His death is so surprising that Julie requests an autopsy. Then she notices that other severely ill patients are also dying at an unusual rate. And from a very odd cardiac event. Julie is determined to find out what, and who, is killing certain sick patients at the hospital. And why.
Medical thriller! Oh how I've missed this genre with too few new authors writing realistic and suspenseful books with lots of medicine and science. Intensive care, pathology, laboratory analysis -- it's all just how I like it -- DETAILED. As a nurse, I love the jargon and the information. Of course this is a bit far-fetched as far as the condition and Julie's investigation but there is always license with fiction to go a bit "out there" in a story.
This is not the first book by Daniel Palmer that I have read, and he has moved up on my wish list as I await his next endeavor. It's not easy to assume the mantle of a popular author, but Michael Palmer's son has done it -- in fact, he's done it even better! And he's not even a doctor! Talk about meticulous research putting this complex story together so that even something so obscure becomes believable. It was a very fast-paced fun read and I thoroughly enjoyed it! Provides for a great philosophical debate as well.