Monday, February 1, 2010

The Last Surgeon - Michael Palmer

Check back tomorrow to enter "The Last Surgeon" Giveaway!!!

Summary: Michael Palmer’s latest novel (releasing 2/16/10) pits a flawed doctor against a ruthless psychopath, who has made murder his art form. Dr. Nick Garrity, a vet suffering from PTSD—post traumatic stress disorder—spends his days and nights dispensing medical treatment from a mobile clinic to the homeless and disenfranchised in D.C. and Baltimore. In addition, he is constantly on the lookout for his war buddy Umberto Vasquez, who was plucked from the streets by the military four years ago for a secret mission and has not been seen since.

Psych nurse Jillian Coates wants to find her sister’s killer. She does not believe that Belle Coates, an ICU nurse, took her own life, even though every bit of evidence indicates that she did—every bit save one. Belle has left Jillian a subtle clue that connects her with Nick Garrity.

Together, Nick and Jillian determine that one-by-one, each of those in the operating room for a fatally botched case is dying. Their discoveries pit them against genius Franz Koller–the highly-paid master of the “non-kill”—the art of murder that does not look like murder. As Doctor and nurse move closer to finding the terrifying secret behind these killings, Koller has been given a new directive: his mission will not be complete until Jillian Coates and Garrity, the last surgeon, are dead. (Summary and image from michaelpalmerbooks.com)
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Kim's Review: I have read quite a few Palmer novels over the years, so I was thrilled to hear that he wanted us to review his newest thriller. I have found that unlike many authors in the mystery/thriller genre, Palmer maintains surprise and comes up with exciting NEW plots for each of his tales. I feel that some authors in the genre tend to recycle the same plot with different characters and sidelines. In The Last Surgeon Palmer proves me right again.

The opening chapter of this book left me breathless with horror. Without spoiling anything for all you potential readers out there, it is such a unique and terrible scene that I was instantly captivated with the "bad guy", as well as the hints that were given about the remainder of the plot. Sarin gas, sleeping pills, hidden cameras, bath tubs..... name your poison. (I think for some readers there are scenes that would be difficult, but I found that it all fit in nicely with the storyline.)

On the flip side, the romantic sideline is great. Come on, a doctor and a nurse falling in love over murder...what could be better right? But it is tastefully done with emotional upheaval playing nicely into both sides of the relationship.

Because of the photo on the cover I knew that the military was coming into play at some point in the book. I was pleased to find that Palmer handles the subject of PTSD with tact and grace. He managed to expose some very real issues and show the general population what these men and women go through to gain benefits and medical help at a time when they need it most.

I finished this book in two days and wished there were more to enjoy:)

Her Rating: 4 Stars

Sum it up: Another hit! I also loved his other novels, I would recommend them to anyone looking for a "stay-up-all-night" read.

Thank you, Mr. Palmer, for all the excitement!
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Mindy's Review: I’m not a frequent reader of this particular genre, so when Michael Palmer gave me his latest novel to review, I was unsure of what to expect. Part crime thriller and part medical mystery, The Last Surgeon moved along at a brisk, thrilling pace and provided enough plot twists to keep my attention. To be clear, this book is brutal. Palmer wastes no time diving into an eerily psychotic murder and does not shy away from gory descriptions of subsequent murders or the sexual depravity of his clearly sociopathic killer. I could have done with a little (and occasionally a LOT) less description in certain places. Because of the levels of violence, I would ordinarily cast this book into the “guy genre,” except for the fact that I (your typical SAHM) really enjoyed reading it. It is full of suspense and action without being stereotypical and chauvinistic like, let’s face it, a great many Clive Cussler novels (sorry Clive, it’s true and you know it).

It’s hard to use the word entertaining when you’re reading about horrific murders – even fictional ones – but I was, nonetheless, captivated by Palmer’s storyline and characters. Franz Koller, is unnervingly methodical and business-like with his own motivation and warped sense of honor. He is intriguing in his savagery and quite possibly one of the more interesting characters in the book. Protagonists, Nick and Jillian were too physically perfect for my taste, but not irritatingly so and other emotional issues leveled off their characters (especially Nick’s) and made them more genuine. The girl in me enjoyed the touch of romance between these two characters, which helped lighten the pages of this otherwise dark novel. Ultimately, I liked The Last Surgeon enough that I kept making time to read just one more chapter and finally had to just sit down until I finished. I even passed this book on to my husband, an virtual non-reader, and he is having quite a hard time putting it down.

Sidenote: I appreciated the how Palmer addressed the struggles of post-war vets suffering from PTSD who are being denied or having difficulty obtaining disability benefits. He brought up this important issue without being preachy about it.

Her Rating: 4 Stars. For the sensitive reader – This book contains fairly graphic subject matter and occasional profanity. Read at your own risk.

Sum it up: A gripping read -- now I think I need to go read a book about cute little bunnies or something.
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Average Rating: 4 Stars
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