Medical thrillers can sometimes be overwhelming if the author focuses the majority of the text on intense descriptions of medical issues. One author that I feel has managed to successfully balance medical, suspense, and mystery is Daniel Palmer, writing a Michael Palmer medical thriller.
The First Family by Michael Palmer and Daniel Palmer is the latest book of theirs that I listened to. This book centers around the President and his family. President Geoffrey Hilliard and his family deal with everyday issues while under intense public scrutiny. The President and First Lady are growing increasingly worried about their only son, Cam, who keeps withdrawing into himself. 16-year-old Cam is experiencing moodiness, extreme fatigue, and recently had a violent outburst that Secret Service Agent Karen Ray was present for. The main White House doctor is quick to dismiss Cam’s symptoms by saying that Cam is a teenager growing up in the spotlight and thus has developed depression. Karen, after observing Cam, becomes convinced that his issues are more serious than depression. Because the original doctor dismissed Karen’s concerns, Karen reaches out to her ex-husband Dr. Lee Blackwood for a second opinion.
The President is not thrilled with Lee’s intervention and dismisses his concerns over Cam’s condition. Lee monitors Cam through Karen and grows increasingly more worried and concerned. The President and First Lady soon reach out to Lee again when it’s discovered that Cam is getting progressively worse. Cam’s symptoms puzzle Lee because their combination doesn’t make sense.
Lee is busy doing research and comes across the case of Susie Banks, a young musical prodigy who has the same symptoms and condition as Cam. Running across Susie’s case, Lee discovers that someone has tried to kill her and no one knows why. Looking at medical records, Lee hopes to find more connections between Susie and Cam to figure out what is happening with them. Similarities start to pop up and Lee starts poking around. The cause of their condition is unknown, but Lee and Karen both know that they are on a deadline to find a cure for Cam’s mysterious disease before it turns deadly.
This book had a little bit of everything that I love in fiction: romance, politics, family drama, medical issues, suspense, and military drama. I felt, as I was listening to this book, that there was something in this book for everyone. I’m excited to read another one of their books to see if they could become one of my favorites.
This book is also available in the following formats:
What would you do if you were thrust into a situation that you initially thought you could control, but then you found out that everyone who had prepared you had either lied to you or had been unaware of a certain MAJOR event? Would you panic? Would you want to tell everyone about the secret you just learned about? This is the predicament that newly-elected President Stephen Blades finds himself in on his very first day in office in Letter 44, Volume 1: Escape Velocity.
In this first volume, President Blades is ushered into the oval office to find a letter for him from the previous President. Opening the letter and expecting to have to dive headfirst into fixing the critical issues facing the nation caused by President Carroll, Blades instead discovers the one singular event and reason behind the country’s involvement in two major wars, the economy collapsing, and the healthcare system to be failing. It’s a national and world secret that only a handful of people are aware of: seven years ago, NASA discovered an alien presence in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, one that was able to cloak itself somehow and had the potential to be dangerous. In order to learn more about this, a team of 9 astronauts made up of both military members and scientists was sent into space to discover what is really going on.
This graphic novel divides focus between Blades and the group of astronauts who are almost to their destination. As the astronauts prepare to reach their destination, you learn their ship, the Clarke, is becoming increasingly damaged and should not have been sent on this mission so quickly. Secrets abound both in the air and on the ground, leaving readers to wonder what really is the truth and showing that President Stephen Blades has the ultimate power in his hands. All that’s left is for him to decide what to do with it.
Stay tuned for a review from Volume 2 (and be on the lookout for Volume 3)!
Recently, I met best-selling author Brad Meltzer in a Chicago book store. Naturally, I picked up an autographed copy of his newest novel, The Inner Circle. (He had a large following — I had to wait in line a long time!)
The book revolves around Beecher White, a young archivist who loves his job at the National Archives. When his childhood crush, Clementime, shows up seeking help in tracking down the father she never knew, he takes her on a private tour, and even shows her the secret vault used only by the President. Within moments ( is it by accident or plan?) they discover a priceless artifact hidden under the President’s chair. Minutes later, the security guard who admitted them to the vault is found dead. In hours, Beecher is on the run, unsure who he can trust, yet frantically trying to stay one-step ahead of his pursuers by successfully decoding concealed messages.
This is a fast-paced read and those interested in political conspiracies or action-packed thrillers will be entertained with all the unexpected twists and turns. Initially, I wasn’t certain about the ending, but then it made more sense when I read that Meltzer has a sequel planned, using Beecher again as the primary character. He is a rather lovable archivist, after all.
For those who may be further intrigued by the mysteries of symbols and codes, check out the author’s show on the History Channel, Brad Meltzer’s Decoded.
Lincoln and Darwin had vastly different childhoods. We know that Lincoln was born dirt-poor and was largely self-educated, whereas Darwin was born to wealth and privilege, privy to the best education money could buy. Still, even 200 years later, both have left their mark upon our world. Unfortunately for both, that mark, or legacy, has become somewhat limited over time.
In the words of Adam Gopnik in his “Twin Peaks” article for the February, 2009 issue of the Smithsonian, ” With the usual compression of popular history, their reputations have been reduced to single words . . . “Evolution!” for one and “Emancipation!” for the other.” How true this is. Both were complex individuals who contributed in many other ways to our relative societies.
One of Lincoln’s legacies, of sorts, is the vast amount of literature that has been written about him. At least in the Western world, it is estimated that there have been more books written about Lincoln than any other individual (save possibly Jesus and Napoleon). And still, writers and researchers are uncovering new information and reformatting the old into numerous intriguing titles about Lincoln. Check out some of these new tomes about our legendary 16th President:
In Lincoln’s Hand: his Original Manuscripts
1864: Lincoln at the Gates of History by Charles Flood
“They Have Killed Papa Dead”: the Road to Ford’s Theater, Abraham Lincoln’s Murder and the Rage for Vengeance by Anthony Pitch
Giants: the Parallel Lives of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln by John Stauffer
Looking for Lincoln: the Making of an American Icon by Philip Kunhardt
Tried by War: Abraham Lincoln as Commander in Chief by James McPherson