Michael Palmer released a terrific medical thriller in 1982 called THE SISTERHOOD. He quickly emerged on the scene as a force to be reckoned with and a successor to other authors in the genre like Robin Cook. With the release of his fourth novel in 1991, EXTREME MEASURES, he became the pre-eminent writer of medical thrillers and began a long run of bestselling novels in this field.
"Palmer has become such a terrific writer of action and government intrigue..."
2010’s THE LAST SURGEON was a departure from Palmer’s standard form. While the story still involved a medical premise at its heart, the characters and action were on par with other thrillers that seem to regularly own the bestseller lists. His latest effort, A HEARTBEAT AWAY, now finds him firmly in new literary territory and easily comparable to works of current popular novelists like David Baldacci and Brad Thor.
The theme of this new work is terrifyingly plausible. During the President’s State of the Union address, a terrorist group calling themselves Genesis unleashes WRX3883 throughout the main assembly room, a deadly and highly contagious virus that seemingly has no antidote. It’s fast-acting, and those unfortunate people who were in the immediate “blast zone” will not have long to live as the rapid effects of this biological weapon make SARS look like the common cold.
President James Allaire immediately declares the entire building under quarantine and selects a small group of his most trusted advisors to accompany him to an underground chamber where they can attempt to come up with a plan to handle this disaster. The President is well aware of the threats that Genesis has posed against him and the U.S. government, and is even more familiar with WRX3883. He does not immediately let on about this knowledge to his advisors and concentrates more on containment. They decide to divide the exposed members of government into three groups, based on the severity level of their symptoms. Allaire’s personal physician lends a watchful eye to these selections while also carefully observing the President himself as the rapid effects of this virus will soon result in his inability to make decisions.
Not everyone is on board with the Pre