Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Oath of Office : A Review

        It did not take me long to read Michael Palmer's latest medical thriller, OATH OF OFFICE, which will be released February 14, 2012. In this story that borders on the environmental thriller genre (read Karen Dionne's Freezing Point and Boiling Point), Dr. Lou Welcome is challenged with proving that the shooting spree his favorite patient, Dr. John Meacham, went on could not have been predicted. To the police and Lou's co-workers it appears he could have prevented the massacre if he were competent in his judgement of Meacham's shortcomings. These suspicions also cast a dark light on Welcome's recovery from alcoholism.

          Like Meacham, Lou has had his own substance abuse issues that led to losing his medical license, a divorce he did not want and a separation from his 11-year-old daughter, Emily, that tears at his heart every day. Recovered for five years now, Lou works part-time at the PWO (Physicians Wellness Office). His client's rampage, however, puts that position in serious jeopardy.

          Meanwhile the reader is quickly ushered from Lou's problems to those of the First Lady of the United States, Darlene Mallory. She is trying desperately to revive her marriage, which seems destined to collapse almost as quickly as her husband's re-election hopes. Darlene and President Mallory's secretary, Kim Hajjar, meet for cocktails after a particularly stressful day and run into the former Secretary of Agriculture, Russell Evans. He and Darlene grew up together but the friendship could not prevent Evan's resignation over a fabricated rendezvous with a teenage prostitute.

           A series of other bizarre and often gruesome incidents lead Lou to question the practices of a local corporate farm that specializes in genetically modified corn while Darlene's attempt to restore Russell Evans' reputation leads her to the same enterprise which, she learns, contributed heavily to her husband's campaign.

            While Lou's life is threatened and several of his cohorts are either murdered or beaten, Darlene becomes fairly certain her husband is involved in some serious ethics violations.  When both these trails merge, Lou and Darlene find not only clues to the crimes they are investigating but also a friendship that seems to fill voids in both their personal lives.

              OATH OF OFFICE is written primarily from two points of view--that of Dr. Lou Welcome and Dr. Darlene Mallory. It carries a crisp, fast-paced style by an author who clearly knows both the medical world and that of Washington DC. This is Michael Palmer's 17th thriller. Several have been on the New York Times bestseller list and have been translated into 35 languages. His website bio says, "He trained in internal medicine at Boston City and Massachusetts General Hospitals, spent twenty years as a full-time practitioner of internal and emergency medicine, and is now an associate director of the Massachusetts Medical Society’s physician health program."

I have no doubt persons who read this novel will be encouraged to read Palmer's other works as well.

If you would like the opportunity to win an autographed copy of OATH OF OFFICE, simply leave a comment at the end of this post and you will be automatically entered in a drawing  held February 14, 2012. This contest is only open to residents of the continental U.S.

OATH OF OFFICE will be available in hardcover as well as on audiobook. For a clip from the audiobook, click on the image below.


skkorman said...

I love Michael Palmer's books—please enter me to win!

skkorman AT bellsouth DOT net

Jacqueline Carney said...

Consider yourself entered! Good luck.

dlhaley said...

This book sounds like a great read. I enjoy Mr. Palmer's books. Thanks for the chance to win this.

Brasil said...

I have read most of Michael Palmer’s books wondering how he could add more excitement and deeper involvement than in his preceding books. “Oath Of Office” is no exception as I thoroughly enjoyed the entire book wondering while advancing through the book how the author can be so knowledgeable as he delves into so many subjects in various fields and subjects? The story begins as Dr. John Meacham has a huge verbal fight with a patient, certainly not the type of thing he would normally do. As that patient stormed out of his office he started thinking beyond the normal box that all those in the office would give him trouble reporting the incident to the hospital and other boards.