Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Oath of Office, by Michael Palmer

I'm a reader, no doubt. I'm trying to help my children become readers, but my son still struggles with the idea that reading is something that you do because you enjoy it. I have let him know that I enjoy reading a good book and love reading a great book. I told him that I hope that one day that he will read a book that will change is his mind and make him want to keep reading. When he gets older, I hope to introduce him to many of my favorite authors, but he's just not ready for some of them. Take for example, the works of Michael Palmer. He has an amazing collection of books, but the psychological thriller nature of his medical thrillers would probably be more than scary for a child, I know that many of them scare me. In fact, once that fear or questioning starts, it just draws me in, there is no turning back. I don't want to put down the book, I want to know do the good guys 'win' out, are the bad guys found out (or as if often the case, first I need to confirm, who are the good guys that the 'hero' can rely on and who are the bad guys) and are they able to stop the 'force' at play.

It was no different for me when I was reading Oath of Office, the latest medical suspense novel by Michael Palmer. Dr. Lou Welcome, a local ER physician and former alcoholic is one of the central characters in this novel that explores not only medical issues, but also corruption in government and the associated risks to the nation's health. When Dr. Meacham, a doctor that Dr. Welcome has been working with for years suddenly goes on a shooting rampage, Dr. Welcome is not satisfied with it being simply that he was 'unfit' or 'crazy'. From the moment that he shows up at the hospital where they are treating the Dr. Meacham, who turned the gun on himself, he just senses that something isn't right. The staff seemed to be fixated on things and not following standard medical protocol. Then, when he rides home with Dr. Meacham's wife, she exhibits strange behavior. A series of other events, leads him to reach out to local law enforcement to help. When he learns he is being followed, him and his friends turn the tables and 'follow' his pursuers. When the catch up, they are attacked in a corn field - corn that exhibits some unusual characteristics and is well past the knee-high by the 4th of July 'standard'. As Dr. Welcome gets deeper into the issues at hand, he gains an unexpected ally in the First Lady, a former pediatrician. Someone has been sharing information with the First Lady, trying to use her as a positive influence against her husband, but who? Together, they try to put everything together and stop what is going on.

Of course, I can't tell you much more, because then there would be no fun in reading the story. I really enjoyed reading this novel. Surprisingly, I started to feel like I knew the 'source' if not the cause of the issues that were being experienced, much in advance of Dr. Welcome. Normally, I find myself second guessing and changing direction many times throughout the novel. Perhaps I am getting smarter, or perhaps the technical details of the story were less, but it was definitely a new perspective trying to help Dr. Welcome make the connection. I'm used to trying to convince them not to go into an area that is likely dangerous, but trying to help them find the source so that they can narrow in on the cause is not something that I get to do often when reading thrillers.

Oath of Office was released on February 14th and you can pick up a copy at your favorite local bookstore or online. It is also available as an audio book and in digital format. You can hear an excerpt here:

Want to learn more about Michael Palmer? You can find more about him by checking out his website - Michael Palmer Books. You can connect on Twitter and Facebook.

No compensation was received for this post. A complimentary review copy of the novel was provided for my enjoyment and to allow me to share a review.