Thursday, November 15, 2012

Palmer's Political Suicide is Killer!

Whew. I just finished reading Michael Palmer's soon to be released novel Political Suicide and I'm on my way to the drugstore to double check my blood pressure. I fell half in love with Palmer's alter-ego, Dr. Lou Welcome, in last year's hit Oath of Office so was happy to see that he's at the center of the action in this new book too.

Like Dr. Palmer, Lou Welcome is a man on a mission, working the graveyard shift in an ER to keep his skills honed, while volunteering much of his daylight hours to the compassionate work of counseling and mentoring physicians struggling with substance abuse.

He's a man with a conscience that usually gets him way in over his head and a passion for justice that, when thwarted, fires up a frustration that he slakes on a boxing bag instead of in a bottle.

The prologue is so gripping that I had to keep returning to read it again. I wanted to be sure I understood what had just happened and how Palmer would relate the life of an ER doc in DC with a horrific U.S. military mission in Afghanistan. I think what's so terrifying about Palmer's novels is that the fictional scenarios - like genetically modified foods in the last book - are so logical that the reader suspects this isn't really make believe at all.

In Lou's latest escapade, the society doc he's sponsoring calls for help, admitting to a drunken night, a damaged vehicle, and an affair with the wife of Congressman Elias Colston, who's now lying dead in his garage. Dr. Gary McHugh knows that he's the obvious suspect to be charged with the murder but he claims innocence and Lou believes him.

The investigation will lead from a crooked cop, to a secretive group of special ops marines, to the Dept. of Defense. Along the way he'll enlist the help of a former burglar and impress a frosty defense lawyer with his stubborn independence.

Michael Palmer's Politcal Suicide represents a new high for the writer. His technique gets better and better, conversation and witty banter abounds, reminiscent of DeMille's Mr. and Mrs. John Corey. Certain helicopter scenes are so realistic that some readers will suffer from vertigo. Most rewarding though is that Palmer doesn't shy away from serious moral dilemmas with global consequences. He thrills us even as he makes us think. Read more about Michael, his life and work at

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