Thursday, February 10, 2011

A Heartbeat Away by Michael Palmer

It wasn't just the characters in Michael Palmer's latest medical thriller whose hearts were racing.  I tore through A Heartbeat Away, reading all 416 pages in one day.  The novel offers bioterrorism, threats against the government, and an unlikely hero.  This book truly defines page-turner.

The terrorist group, Genesis, is introduced in the first couple pages as they take the New York electrical grid off the map.  But, that event is only a mechanism to bring attention to the group.  It isn't until the State of the Union address eight months later that they boldly attack.  While the President, the Vice-President, the Cabinet, Congressional members, and the Supreme Court were all in the Capitol, Genesis struck.  The sound of breaking glass, and television screens across the county going black were the first indications that something was wrong.  But, when President James Allaire, who was also a medical doctor, saw the note on the teleprompter saying Genesis had released the WRX3883 virus, he knew everyone in the building was in trouble.  He understood that the situation was deadly, and he locked down the Capitol, with orders to shoot anyone who tried to escape.

Then, President Allaire reached out to the last man he wanted to, Griffin Rhodes.  Griff has been locked up for nine months in a supermaximum federal penitentiary in Colorado,where he's been in solitary confinement.  The virologist was arrested as a terrorist, and thrown in prison without a hearing when five vials of WRX3883 went missing, and Rhodes was the primary suspect.  Now, Allaire knows the researcher is his only hope for finding an antidote to the virus before everyone in the Capitol dies. 

The tension builds as Griff and a Washington Post science reporter race against time, and Genesis, hoping to pull off a miracle before people die, or the President loses his mental capacities, a side effect of the virus.  Who can really be trusted in a struggle for power and control, as well as people's lives? 

Immerse yourself in Michael Palmer's A Heartbeat Away for a riveting story, a warning of what happens when power and scientific investigations end up in the wrong hands.

(And, check back this evening for details as to how you can win your own autographed copy of A Heartbeat Away.)

Michael Palmer's website is

A Heartbeat Away by Michael Palmer.  St. Martin's Press, ©2011. ISBN 9780312587529 (hardcover), 416p.

FTC Full Disclosure - The author sent me a copy of the book, hoping I would review it.


Tina said...

I read this last month. Totally agree with your page-turner assessment. I called it heart-stopping and scary. But what a read!

Lesa said...

Wasn't it a terrific read, Tina? I hadn't read Palmer before, but the combination of the politics and the threat really hooked me.

Ingrid King said...

I haven't read Michael Palmer in a while, but it sounds like it's time to start again! Great review, Lesa.

Beth Hoffman said...

I am so glad to read your wonderful review. I have this title on my TBR list and you've enticed me to hurry up and read it!

Lesa said...

Thanks, Ingrid. This truly was a book that was hard to put down. Hope you get a chance to read it!

Lesa said...

Thank you, Beth. Moved up a little on the TBR pile? I have 2 books to read for projects or reviews, 1 to finish, and then the books moving up on my TBR pile are Alice Hoffman's new book, and Alan Bradley's latest Flavia de Luce.

Donis Casey said...

Oh, great. If you don't stop reviewing books that I siply must read, I'll have to stop sleeping altogether.

Lesa said...


I know where you're coming from. I read 2 entire books on Saturday, almost 700 pages. Then, when I got up Sunday, I went back to bed until noon. I've never done that in my life, but I think the books just wore me out. Just think what I could have read today if I'd stayed up when I got up at 5 a.m.!