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The Patient
By Michael Palmer

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The Patient
By Michael Palmer
Ulverscroft Large Print: 2001
ISBN: 0-7089-4600-3
Genre: Medical Thriller

Reviewed by Auggie Moore - May 31, 2007

I'm a big fan of Michael Palmer, and I firmly believe that he is one of the best writers in the field of medical thrillers - and this book, The Patient only reaffirms what I already knew. Palmer knows how to write a realistically based thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat, and which will keep you up nights long after you've finished the book!

In The Patient the drama centres around a serial killer who is targeting an unique demographic - neurosurgeons! From early on you know who the killer is - his name is Claude Malloche, and suffers from an inoperable brain tumor. What you don't know (although you may guess) is why he is killing the neurosurgeons, nor how he is going to be stopped - if he is. Full of non-stop action, this book also has a beautiful, and intelligent, heroine in the form of Dr. Jessie Copeland. She's a MIT graduate with degrees in engineering and biology. She is currently working as a neurosurgeon at the Eastern Massachusetts Medical Center, a leading Boston hospital. When Malloche learns that she has developed an experimental technique, using a robotic device, which might be used to remove his brain tumor, he shows up at her office. At first Copeland refuses to use her new Assisted Robotic Tissue Incision and Extraction (ARTIE) device, because it is still in its experimental phase. However, Malloche is nothing if not a determined terrorist, and he wants the surgery. To force Copeland to operate on him, he holds not only the hospital, but Boston as a whole, as hostage. His demand is simple. Copeland must cure him. If she fails, he'll release a neuro-toxin that will kill the hostages - thousands of them!

Hot on Malloche's trail is ex-CIA agent, Alex Bishop. Determined to catch Malloche before he can kill again, Bishop is faced with one major stumbling block - no one knows what Malloche looks like! As events unfold, Bishop and Copeland are brought together, and it falls upon this unlikely pair to stop this arch-terrorist in his tracks!

The Patient is a gripping medical thriller, with some very graphic operating room scenes that you will not want to read around meal time. Best of all, this is a well-paced, and fast-moving novel filled with well-rounded and memorable characters. If you have ever read one of Palmer's thrillers (he was a practicing doctor for more than 20 years) you'll know what to expect from this book, and you'll come away satisfied. If you've just discovered Palmer, you'll find that he is a true master of the medical thriller. Either way you are in for a real treat with The Patient!

The Patient can be purchased directly from Ulverscroft.

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