On February 13 of last year, I did a blog of B-Listers. These were (and are) authors that I enjoy reading. I read all of their books, but I'm not counting the days until they come out with their next one. I like 'em. They're solid reads. I had Michael Palmer on that list. After reading his latest, Oath of Office, nothing has changed my mind. It's a good read, a solid read. I enjoyed it and was interested in it throughout. There are a couple of things about this book that are different than most of his others.
1. It isn't published yet. It's coming out in February. On his website, he asked if bloggers wanted to read the new one beforehand. He's even got a contest going, which is pretty cool considering this is his 17th book. The winning blogger will be able to have a signed copy sent to anyone he or she wants. Since I don't intend to gush, my chances of winning are slim. That's okay because I want to make sure that every one of my readers knows what's coming.
2. Until has last book, A Heartbeat Away, every one of his novels took place in the Boston area. The last two are now coming from Washington D.C. A Heartbeat Away is his best one to date. If that had been the only one that I had read, I would probably have put him higher on my list (maybe not an A-Lister, but probably not a B-Lister either).
3. This is also his second consecutive book that strays from the first 15, which were all about the medical profession. This one deals with the effects of insect mutation and bio-engineered crops. This is definitely a current issue and only touches on the medical profession tangentially.
On to the plot: The protagonist, Dr. Lou Welcome, has overcome substance abuse and has become a mentor for other doctors who have gone through what he went through. One of his jobs (his other is ER doctor) is to help these doctors get healthy and, oftentimes, reinstated in the medical profession. He's a conscientious guy with a proven track record.
Problems begin (of course there have to be problems) when a doctor from a small town outside of D.C. goes crazy. He screams at a patient who leaves in a huff and threatens to turn him in to the medical authorities. Fearing for his license, again, he kills all of the people in his office - medical and office staff as well as patients - and then shoots himself. It turns out that this doc (Meacham) is the first of a number of people from this town who exhibit behavior that is extremely erratic. That's all I will tell you now. Just remember that bio-engineering is the theme here.
This book is a solid 2.5 (out of 4). Would I recommend it? Yes. Is it going to be in my top 5 or 6 at the end of the year? No. You won't be disappointed if you read any of Michael Palmer's books, including this one. They're all 2.5's (except for his last one, which was a 3.0). If you read a lot, then I would say read this one (or any of his others). If you only read a little, then there are others that are better. If you want to give him a try, start with A Heartbeat Away.