The New York Times bestselling author and master of medical suspense delivers another shocker of a thriller filled with insider details and a terrifying psychopath
THE LAST SURGEON
Michael Palmer's latest novel 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 Gillian 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 Gillian a subtle clue that connects her with Nick Garrity.
Together, Nick and Gillian 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 Gillian Coates and Garrity, the last surgeon, are dead.
|Publisher:||St. Martin's Press|
|File size:||789 KB|
About the Author
Michael Palmer (1942-2013) wrote internationally bestselling novels of medical suspense, including The First Patient, The Second Opinion, The Last Surgeon, A Heartbeat Away, Oath of Office and Political Suicide. His book Extreme Measures was adapted into a movie starring Hugh Grant and Gene Hackman. His books have been translated into thirty-five languages. Palmer earned his bachelor's degree at Wesleyan University, and he attended medical school at Case Western Reserve University. He trained in internal medicine at Boston City and Massachusetts General Hospitals. He spent twenty years as a full-time practitioner of internal and emergency medicine. In addition to his writing, Palmer was an associate director of the Massachusetts Medical Society Physician Health Services, devoted to helping physicians troubled by mental illness, physical illness, behavioral issues, and chemical dependency. He lived in eastern Massachusetts.
Read an Excerpt
PROLOGUE“I know you can’t believe this is happening, Ms. Coates, but I assure you it is. I have been paid, and paid very well, to kill you.”
Belle Coates looked up at the intruder through a glaze of tears. “Please. Just tell me what you want,” she said. “Just tell me what you want and you can have it. Anything. Anything at all.”
The man sighed.
“You’re not paying attention, Ms. Coates,” he said with the accentuated patience of a third-grade teacher. “I am not here to bargain. I told you that. I’m here because this is what I get paid to do.”
“But why? Why me?”
Belle made yet another futile attempt to stand. Her wrists and ankles were lashed to her kitchen chair by the sort of Velcro restraints she and other hospital nurses used so often on diffi cult patients.
“Those restraints look amazingly simple,” the intruder said, “but I tell you they are a marvel of engineering and ergonomics. No pain, no marks. None at all. That’s why I have a dozen or so sets of them in the drawer at home.”
The man, six feet tall and wiry, had been hiding inside Belle’s apartment, probably behind the couch in the living room, when she arrived home at nearly midnight. Her nursing shift—3 to 11 p.m. in the cardiac surgery ICU at the Central Charlotte Medical Center—had been a tough one, and she had relished every stair of the trudge that brought her closer to her apartment, a cup of tea, and a steamy shower.
She was just choosing a tea when he appeared in the doorway of her kitchen, an apparition in sky blue surgical hair and feet covers, latex gloves, black jeans, and a black long- sleeved tee. She was so fixated on his appearance that it was several seconds before she noticed the huge, gleaming knife dangling at his side. Her hesitation was more than enough. In two quick strides he was beside her, seizing a handful of her hair, snapping her head back, and pressing the blade against her throat. With just enough restraint to keep from drawing blood, he forced her down onto one of the oak chairs she had recently refinished, and in moments the restraints were on her. It had happened that fast.
A dozen or so sets in my drawer.
The statement was as terrifying as the knife.
Was he a serial rapist? A psychotic killer? Desperately, searching for even the smallest inroad to understanding the intruder, Belle tried to remain calm and remember if she had read about such a man in the papers, or heard about him on the news.
“What do you want?” she said. “My fiancé will be home any minute.”
He fixed her with pale, translucent blue eyes that were devoid of even the slightest spark of humanity.
“I don’t think so. We both know about your failed engagement. ‘Celebrate Belle and Doug’s love.’ I’m very sorry about that.”
Belle froze at the words, quoted from her wedding invitation.
“Who are you?” she managed again. “What do you want from me?”
“Now we’re getting someplace.” The man produced a vial from his pocket and set it on the table. “I want you to swallow these sleeping pills I found in your medicine cabinet the last time I was here. I have augmented what was there with some that I brought with me tonight, so there will be more than enough to achieve our goal. But before you take these pills, I want you to copy and sign a brief note I have composed explaining your despondency and your desire not to live anymore. And finally, I want you to undress, step into your tub, and go to sleep. See? Simple and absolutely painless.”
Belle felt her breathing stop. This couldn’t be happening. She wouldn’t do it. He wouldn’t be able to pry her jaws apart with a crowbar. She began to hyperventilate and shake, grabbing and releasing the arms of her chair.
“I won’t do it.”
“I won’t!” she began screaming. “I won’t! I won’t! Help! Someone help m—”
Her words were cut off by exquisite pressure around her throat. A hard rubber ball was forced expertly between her teeth and into her mouth. The killer remained absolutely calm during the insertion.
“That was stupid, Ms. Coates. Do anything stupid again, and you will be responsible for causing both yourself and your sister a great deal of pain.”
Belle stared up at him, wide-eyed. The mention of her sister was a dagger. Hyperventilating through her nose, she still could not seem to get in enough air.
“That’s right,” the man said. “I know all about Jillian. Just like I know all about you. Now, refuse to do exactly as I say, try anything stupid again, and I promise, both you and Jillian will die prolonged and painful deaths. Understand? I said, do you understand?” Belle nodded vigorously. “I’m still not certain you do. Now listen, Ms. Coates, and for your sister’s sake, believe me, I have no contract to kill Jillian—only you. With very rare exceptions, those I am not paid to kill, I don’t kill.”
He took out his mobile phone, made a gentle tap on the screen’s touch display, and held it up for Belle to see.
“I assume you recognize your sister’s condo in Virginia— Arlington, to be exact, 489 Bristol Court to be even more exact. Nod if you agree that is the case. Good. I know how close you two are. You see, I read your journal, or diary, including entries from the trip to Nassau that Jillian took you on after you learned about Doug’s . . . how shall I say . . . dalliance with your friend Margo. Surgeons. They are just so full of themselves, aren’t they? I see you are having a little trouble breathing. Okay, here’s the deal: I’ll remove that ball if I get your assurance you will stay quiet and still.”
Belle grunted her agreement and again nodded. The man pulled the ball out, keeping his fingers clear of her teeth, and dropped it into his pocket.
“Now,” he said, “what you are about to watch is a live video feed— live as in ‘it’s happening at 489 Bristol Court right this very instant.’ ”
Belle stared in disbelief at the full-color projection. The footage was unquestionably taken from her sister’s tastefully and lovingly decorated condominium. She was certain that the woman sleeping alone in the queen- size bed was Jillian, also a nurse, and one of the main reasons Belle herself had chosen the profession. Following the automobile- accident deaths of their parents, Jillian had stepped in to raise her fourteen-year-old sister, often making major sacrifices in her personal life. Belle considered her to be the kindest, brightest, most centered person she had ever known. The camera had been placed above the valance in the bedroom. At the sight of Jillian, rolling languidly from her left side to her back, Belle began to hyperventilate again.
“Easy,” the man warned. “Slow down. That’s it. . . . That’s it.”
“Please. Please don’t hurt her.”
The apparition holding the phone leaned forward. Belle cringed as his empty eyes came level with her own. His pale white skin was tinted blue, a ghoulish illusion cast by her ecologically friendly halogen lights.
“You must calm down your breathing and listen, Ms. Coates. To save your sister’s life, and yourself from a great deal of pain, it is essential that you believe I will do as I say.”
“I believe. I believe. Turn it off. Turn that camera off and leave her alone.”
“I’m going to make you a promise, Ms. Coates,” he whispered, his lips brushing her ear. “I promise that if you fail to follow my instructions, Jillian will die, and die quite horribly. Do as I say and she lives. Want proof? Look here.”
He held the phone at eye level.
“Enough,” Belle pleaded. “Don’t hurt her.”
“I’ve placed small canisters of a potent nerve gas above the door frame inside the closet. Action almost instant. From this phone, I can control how much of the gas is released simply by tapping my finger. Incredible, yes? I am a virtuoso operating this setup. I put another camera in Jillian’s bathroom because I want you to see what happens when just a smidge of this gas is inhaled.”
“No, please. Please stop this. I believe you.”
The intruder paid no attention. It was as if he had planned this demonstration all along. Belle’s brain was spinning. How could she believe him? How could she not? What choice did she have? Would he really spare Jillian as he promised? Why would he? Why wouldn’t he? The unanswerable questions roiled on and on.
“If I wanted to,” he said as if reading her thoughts, “I could kill your sister—I could kill anyone—any time, any place, and in any way I wish. But the point is I don’t have to. I don’t even want to. She seems like a nice woman. And as I said, there is nothing in her death for me.”
He made two gentle taps on the phone’s display, and Jillian’s quaint bathroom came into focus, illuminated by a night-light beside the sink and a small diamond-shaped window above the tub.
“There are four levels of gas I can administer. The first three will cause increasing pain and the symptoms you are about to see. The fourth will kill . . . slowly. This is level one.”
Within seconds, Jillian, wearing fl annel pajamas Belle had bought for her, burst into the frame, fell onto her knees, and began retching violently into the toilet. Between bouts, she lay clenched in a fetal position on the tiled fl oor, shivering uncontrollably.
“Can you believe that’s only level one?” the man asked. “I think I should patent this delivery system.”
“Stop it! Stop doing this to her,” Belle cried.
“Keep it down or I’ll cut your larynx out and set it on the table. I’m sensing you need a bit more motivation, Ms. Coates. Allow me to oblige by upping Jillian’s misery to level two. I’ll keep it on level two until you start copying this note. Audio is really a must to get the full eff ect.”
He tapped his phone’s display again and now Belle could hear Jillian’s grunting, labored breathing, interrupted by fits of gut-wrenching vomiting and sobs of pain.
“Please . . . stop . . . I believe you. I believe you.”
He loosened her left hand and pushed the note she was to copy in front of her.
“Start writing your farewell letter, Ms. Coates. When you do, I’ll stop killing your sister,” he said.
Belle’s face contorted in agony at the sound of Jillian’s unrelenting anguish.
“Please . . .”
“Do you need more volume? Write the damn note!” the monster barked, pounding the table with each word. “You’re dead regardless. But you can still save your sister’s life—that is if you have the courage to do the right thing.”
The man shut off the gas as soon as Belle began to write. In just a minute, Jillian’s moaning stopped. Belle managed to pen the first four words before she began to sob.
“Finish,” he said, “or I’ll fire it up again.”
“Why me? I haven’t done anything wrong. I don’t even know you. Why do you want me to die?”
“Not my call. Somebody in this great big world of ours has decided you have to go. And that somebody is paying me to make it happen. I can do it to you alone or to both of you.”
“This is insane,” she said, as much to herself as to the man who was about to murder her. “This is absolutely insane.”
“I guess you enjoy listening to your sister scream. Allow me to show you level three.”
The tormented retching Belle heard could scarcely be described as human. On the tiny video display, Jillian’s body convulsed more violently than before. As soon as Belle lifted up the pen again, the man pressed a button on his phone and her sister’s screaming stopped. Belle found the strength to finish copying the note.
“I’m a man of my word, Ms. Coates. I’m also very good with handwriting and I have a large sample of yours from your journal. Mess with this and I’ll dismember you joint by joint with that ball stuck back in your mouth. You’ll still be alive to watch when I fi nally jack up the gas in Jillian’s pad to level four.”
“I did as you asked. Let her go.”
“Sign it.” The man studied the note with great care. “Okay, now the pills.”
He shook the pills onto the table, motioning her to take one.
“Please,” Belle begged, still trying to make inroads into the utter helplessness she was feeling. “Who’s paying you? Why do they want to kill me?”
“I’m running out of time and patience.”
The man pressed a button on his phone like a puppet master pulling on invisible strings. Jillian’s body again twitched with violent spasms.
“No! You promised!” Belle cried.
“You have the power to make this easier on Jillian. Think of all your sister has done for you. You owe it to her, don’t you? Make me stop. I want you to stop me, Ms. Coates.”
She could not listen to her sister’s cries anymore. Her only thought was of the man’s chilling proclamation.
You’re dead regardless.
As though in a trance, her hand reached out shakily. Jillian’s moaning abated as soon as Belle swallowed the first pill.
“Please . . . don’t. No more.”
“Keep swallowing and that’s the last time you have to hear that nasty sound, Ms. Coates.”
Belle tightened her jaw and nodded that she understood.
“Promise?” Her voice sounded like a child’s. “I said, do you promise?”
“Ms. Coates, I might be a killer, but I’m a professional. You have my word. But I’m going to resume torturing your beloved sister unless all these pills are down the hatch.”
It was too much to take. Belle raced to swallow the pills.
What else can I do? her mind kept asking. What else can I do? . . . What else can I do?
The action, in a way, was liberating. Her heart rate slowed and her tears stopped. In minutes, she no longer felt agitated or even fright
ened. The man’s eyes, once haunting, now made her feel nothing at all. “Good girl. You are simply going to close your eyes and go to sleep.” Her tongue already felt heavy. “You promised,” Belle managed. “You have my word.” After a while, he filled the tub, then undid her restraints. “Clothes,” he said. Feeling the wooziness from the drug take further hold, Belle
stepped out of her scrubs and dropped her bra and panties onto the
floor. Then she stepped into the tub. “I love you, Jillian,” she murmured. “I love you.” Excerpted from The Last Surgeon by Michael Palmer.
Copyright © 2010 by Michael Palmer.
Published in February 2010 by St. Martin’s Press.
All rights reserved. This work is protected under copyright laws and reproduction is strictly prohibited. Permission to reproduce the material in any manner or medium must be secured from the Publisher.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
A killer that is contracted for non-kill killing? Sounds strange, but that is what someone is doing to seemingly unrelated people in different locations. Belle Coates is a beautiful top nurse and can't believe or realize that someone that has kept her mind working but refusing to allow her body to react has placed her in a dazed condition. "This can't be happening to me" goes through Belle's mind. The story is recreated in several more that also thought it couldn't be occurring to them; but it was. On the surface there seemed to be no connection to any of these deaths. The authorities didn't even connect any of them and the cause of death generally was termed to be suicide. Nick Gerrity is one of many veterans that came home with P.T.S.D. (Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome) from war and was battling the bodily and mental disturbances it caused, usually when stress is involved but sometimes just on its own. Nick was an excellent surgeon but his life was not fulfilled just working in a hospital and, besides, his P.T.S.D. was telling him he needed to find a way to help others medically and other veterans attempt to regain a near normal life. Nick joined with a top nurse, Junie, who had been raised in the projects of Baltimore and wished to also help those less fortunate than she had been. They started a traveling RV when the foundation that Junie had worked for went under. She formed a corporation with Nick as CEO and Junie as Chair of the Board. She also arranged to purchase the RV for $1.00 so they could help unfortunates that needed medical attention. When Nick's best friend disappeared, his mind wondered and Junie did all she could to help Nick search for Umberto and still keep his mind on the traveling hospital. The first person that we know of that was killed, Belle Coates, had an older sister, Jillian, who was devastated by the death of her sister and questioned how Belle could ever commit suicide. Nick and Jillian eventually get together and fell for each other. They also work together trying to solve the increasing murders that now seem to be connected by a few threads. Thus lays the groundwork for Michael Palmer's "The Last Surgeon" that is a very riveting suspense story containing many facets of medical conditions, care, research, and all working on finding those affected with P.T.S. D. and helping them, along with the poor and still keep the traveling hospital above ground financially. If the minute description of this book above doesn't make you want to read this excellent story, nothing will move you to do much of anything! I have read several of Michael Palmer's books and enjoyed them very much but this one tops them all. He has put together so many subjects while keeping the reader informed so they do not get lost. Thank you Michael Palmer.
"The Last Surgeon" by Michael Palmer is one fast-paced, action-packed thriller that had me not wanting to put the book down. Dr. Nick Garrity has been searching for a long lost war buddy when he meets Gillian Coates, whose sister Belle seemingly committed suicide, but Gillian thinks otherwise. A comic book clue "Nick Fury", led Gillian to Nick and together they find clues of a much bigger conspiracy. Soon they are on the hit-list and must not only find out who is behind it all, but keep themselves and others around them alive. Mr. Palmer has written a novel that kept me up into the middle of the night because it was that entertaining.
"I know you can't believe this is happening, Ms. Coates, but I assure you it is. I have been paid, and paid very well, to kill you." - The Last Surgeon, Prologue, Page 1. From the very first sentence, New York Times Bestselling Author Michael Palmer captures the reader's attention with no intention of release. In fact, it is advisable to keep water and food nearby as it is tempting to read "one more chapter" rather than to prepare dinner. Palmer's latest medical thriller involves Dr. Nick Garrity, former trauma surgeon and victim of PTSD, searching for his missing friend, Lieutenant Umberto Vasquez, with whom he served in Afghanistan. Fate introduces him to psych nurse Jillian Coates, searching for the killer of her sister, Belle Coates, refusing to believe that Belle's death was a suicide. The combination of the two forces results in a story that stimulates the mind, challenges the emotions and satiates the imagination. Among other factors, Palmer makes us realize that it is not the government we should be concerned with - it is the people within. The reader also questions the value of human life - more importantly, who has the right to decide. A timely book destined to be embraced by book clubs, The Last Surgeon makes us question our loyalty - whether it be to our friends, to our patients or to our country. The ending is nothing less than explosive - an ending, that is, to a masterful performance.
Former battlefield trauma surgeon Dr. Nick Garrity suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder following a suicide attack on his field hospital in Afghanistan. Back home in Baltimore, Nick runs the Helping Hands RV mobile clinic that provides medical care to the homeless while struggling to contain his PTSD symptoms. At the same time Nick drives the streets of the city, someone kills Central Charlotte Medical Center Cardiac Surgery ICU nurse Belle Coates in Charlotte, North Carolina. Belle's sister Jillian leaves her home in Virginia to uncover the identity of the person who killed her sibling. She soon finds a tie to Nick and his homeless clients; several of whom have abruptly vanished from the streets as if swept away; neither realizes who is spying on them. The Last Surgeon is a fast-paced enthralling conspiracy medical thriller that grips the audience with a need to know why the homeless are vanishing and the professional hit man killed Belle. Nick is a fascinating protagonist who suffers from PTSD while Jill is a kick butt heroine. Fans will enjoy Michael Palmer's latest action-packed tale as the CIA secretly operates. Harriet Klausner
Micheal Palmer has always been one of my favorite authors! This book captures your attention through the whole story and keeps you wanting to know more. While some of the plot was unrealistic it was still a great read! I could not put this book down and I think that anyone else that likes this kind of story will LOVE it because I know I did.
A skilled surgeon experiences a traumatic experience while serving as a combat surgeon when his fiance is killed by a suicide bomber attack on their medical facility. The surgeon is left with PTSD and decides to use his medical skills to treat the downtroden in the Nation's capitol, while battling his own PTSD, rather than enter a lucritive practice in surgery. As he pursues his practice from a mobile home-type vehicle with is creative and supportive nurse, he also devotes consideable effort to assisting military veterans suffering from PTSD in obtaining medical benefits. Meanwhile, the fellow soldier (who also suffered from PTSD, who saved the surgeon's life during the suicide bombing attack, disappears. The surgeon, along with a couple of nurses, uncover a sinister plot while trying to determine what happened to the fellow soldier. The search endangers the key players while holding readers' interest in a series of sub-plots throughout the book. Readers who enjoy a mixture of drama and quick-paced action, will find this book an enjoyable diversion.
Enjoyable to read.
I enjoy this author so imagine my surprise when it took me over half the book to become captured by it. So not my favorite. Story of nurse investigating the alleged suicide of her sister. This leads her to Dr. Nick Garrity who, himself, has questions about the mysterious disappearance of a war buddy. And it goes from there. I don't know why it took so long to get into it...was it the writing or the story. I don't know. Will not give up on Palmer.
I'm a big fan of medical thrillers, and Michael Palmer did a great job of keeping the book moving along.Jillian, a nurse, and Nick Garrity, a doctor who spends his time helping out vets with PTSD, investigate the death of Jillian's sister--a death that also seems to be tied to the disappearance of Umberto, Nick's friend from the army.As the plot unfolds,we discover that all of the individuals involved in a surgery four years ago are dying off one by one. Although all of the deaths have been made to appear as accidents, things aren't quite adding up.The characters are well written and the pace keeps us moving easily through the story.Good read.
I really enjoyed this book. I was hooked from the very first paragraph. It was a real page-turner and I finished it in 2 and a half days. I have enjoyed other books by this author. He reminds me of Robin Cook without all of the medical technology information.
What a suspenseful, thrilling and action packed read this is! I loved it, and honestly I didn't think I would. For me it was as if Jason Bourne joined ER.I liked the characters in this story. I was really afraid of the killer in the book. His steeliness came through, and yet Nick Fury, the doctor, was the character that made it alright to endure the creepy guy. I really like Nick, and am secretly hoping the author writes more tales with him as the star.A must read for any thriller or suspense junkie. If you read Koontz or King, check this book out!
A nurse, a gifted surgeon, an anesthesiologist ¿ all professionals in the medical field ¿ begin to turn up dead. Murders made to appear as something else ¿ a suicide, an accident, a drowning. When psych nurse Jillian Coates is told her younger sister¿s death is a suicide, Jillian begins to seek some answers. Her stubborn effort to find those answers leads her to an unlikely man ¿ Dr. Nick Garrity, a trauma surgeon suffering from PTSD after serving time in Afghanistan. Together they begin to piece together the mystery of the disappearance of Nick¿s friend Umberto Vasquez and how it relates to the death of Jillian¿s sister. What they find is a cold blooded killer with pale blue eyes, and a conspiracy which reaches to the very top of the United States government.Michael Palmer¿s latest suspense-thriller has all the elements which make it a page turner ¿ intrigue, an evil serial murderer, a growing love between the two main characters who find themselves in constant peril, and a mystery which must be unraveled to save their very lives.If I have any complaints with the book it would be a plot which seemed somewhat improbable at times (and somewhat predictable), and an evil character who seemed just a little too evil to believe. Despite these criticisms of The Last Surgeon, I did find myself racing through the pages. Fast-paced and creepy, the novel embodies what readers generally look for in this genre ¿ sweaty palms, a little bit of romance (to unite the main characters), and the requisite gruesome murders. Palmer does not shy away from gory descriptions¿and since his killer is a sexual sadist, Palmer doesn¿t spare the reader when it comes to revealing a graphic, twisted sex scene. This novel is definitely not for the faint of heart.Readers looking for an edge of your seat thriller will find it in The Last Surgeon. As the book ramps up toward the end, most readers will want to continue to its conclusion, even if it means burning the midnight oil as I did.Readers who enjoy genre fiction ¿ specifically suspense-thrillers which delve into the medical and political ¿ will most likely enjoy The Last Surgeon. Recommended for readers who like their reading gritty and fast-paced.
I have not read many medical thrillers. As much as I enjoy a good thriller or suspense book, I discovered that some medically themed books become tedious with so many medical terms and jargon, turning a relaxing pastime into a chore. Not so with Michael Palmer¿s The Last Surgeon. I found Mr. Palmer¿s tale of a surgeon suffering from PTSD, intertwined with missing men, accidental deaths that may be murders and a character that has rightfully been compared with the ultimate literary sociopath, Hannibal Lecter, to be utterly engrossing and suspenseful. Nick Garrity was a wonderful central character - - traumatized, yes, but strong, determined and most definitely worth rooting for. So well written and rounded was the character of Nick that I could easily visualize him in my mind and hear his voice throughout the story. (In fact, I continued reflecting throughout the story what a fantastic movie The Last Surgeon would make.) Jillian Coates was a very good match for Nick, both in spirit and intelligence. In my reading experience I have found that some books that are primarily thrillers force feed the romance, causing it to feel overly scripted rather than a natural progression. Nick and Jillian, however, feel like a natural match and their relationship doesn¿t detract from the main story. I also loved the character of Junie and found her to be a wonderful compliment to Nick. She was descriptive and fleshed out and other than the character of Franz Koller, possibly my favorite supporting character. It may seem strange to feel that someone like Franz Koller would be a favorite character but Mr. Palmer has made such a vivid, frightening , fearful and fearless individual that surely deserves a place in literary infamy along with the aforementioned Hannibal Lector, Dracula and even Harry Potter¿s Voldemort, to name but a few. Franz is evil and he is completely free of conscious and yet he¿s a fascinating and complex character that steals the show from anyone else on the page. He brings to light our worst fears - - another human walking among us that is completely devoid of normal, human behaviors and makes certain scenes of The Last Surgeon a scary read. This was my first book by Mr. Palmer and my first exposure to his writing. Despite the medical aspects of the writing and the intense scenes of war and violence, the writing flowed as easily as good wine. And like good wine, I thought The Last Surgeon was worth savoring.I would highly recommend The Last Surgeon to anyone who enjoys a thriller or suspense novel and, most especially, an excellent read.
This book is none suspense. People are being murdered, but their deaths are made to look like accidents. Gillian Coats is a Phych nurse. Her sister Belle, an ICU nurse has died and her death was ruled a suicide. But Gillian believes she was really murdered. Dr. Nick Garrity is a vet suffering from PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder)dispenses medical treatment from a mobile clinic to the homeless in D.C. and Baltimore. He also looking into the disappearance of his friend, Umberto Vasquez who has reportedly disappeared four years before after joining a secret military mission. Gillian finds a clue that connects her sister with Nick, so she finds him and together they discover that patients are dying in the operating room and their is a connection between some of them. Franz Koller, a highly paid master of the "non-kill" art of murder that doesn't look like murder, has a new agenda. To see that Gillian and Nick are dead. It's fast paced, full of suspense and at times very gory, and I loved all of it. The only part that I wasn't crazy about were the sex scenes. They were too descriptive and strange, but I had no problem skipping those parts and going on to what I love most, the suspense of finding out how the story ends. Anyone who loves a fast paced suspense full book will surely love The Last Surgeon. If you're like me and don't like all the twisted sex scenes, just skip over them. This book was quite a ride!!!
I have never been approached by an author or publisher directly for any ARCs. So, when I received an e-mail from Michael Palmer, the author, asking if I were interested in a copy of his latest book for review, I knew I was not going to turn down the opportunity to do so. Since I like thrillers and medical mysteries, it was not a hardship for me. Having never read any of Mr. Palmer's previous work, I did not know what to expect. On the whole, I enjoyed my foray into his work. There was a lot to like about it; unfortunately, there was also a lot to dislike.For starters, I felt that the story itself was a tad too predictable. I had figured out the mystery behind Umberto Vazquez's disappearance well in advance of the disclosure of the answer. Remember, I am not one who actively tries to solve the mystery before the narrator reveals the answer, so any time I can predict the ending accurately does detract from my overall enjoyment.In addition, at times, the story line is a bit unbelievable, or at least stretches the reader's imagination more than normal. While this is okay with science fiction or fantasy, this is not an admirable trait in a medical thriller. For example, a nurse and a surgeon are able to take on a sociopathic mass murderer who is a master of disguise and who earns his living murdering people while making it look like an accident or suicide? A child infiltrates the government's secrets that its own employees cannot unravel? It is a bit too farfetched, in my opinion.Also, the characters are not well-established. Okay, that is not necessarily true. It is just that the minor characters are more entertaining, more likeable than the main two characters. Even Franz Koller, the sociopathic killer, is fascinating if only because one gets a glimpse into a mind that is most unusual. Junie and Reggie were far more enjoyable than Nick and Jillian, and I found myself more concerned about their well-being than I did for Nick and Jillian's plight.That being said, there was a lot to like about The Last Surgeon. As mentioned above, Junie was a fun character, and Reggie provided some much-needed comic relief throughout the story. Nick's post traumatic stress disorder, as well as his struggles helping vets receive their VA benefits, is truly heartbreaking because of the truth behind them. How many of our soldiers are coming home facing these same issues with no help whatsoever? Mr. Palmer writes a decent story. His physical descriptions of settings were detailed enough to help contribute to the action, and his descriptions of the characters were realistic enough that I could picture each one very clearly in my mind. Unfortunately, I felt he switched the narrator's point of view too often. Waffling between Franz, Nick, Jillian, and even Beth and Reggie as well as other minor characters made the story rather chaotic and interrupted the overall flow of the story. In fact, it helped prevent the reader from becoming too attached to any one character.It may seem as if I did not like the story, but honestly, I did enjoy it! I read the entire novel in a matter of two days because I could not put it down in order to unravel the mystery. As interesting a character as he was, I truly wanted Franz to receive his comeuppance. I may not have been on the edge of my seat with concern about their fates, but I did want Jillian to receive some desperately-needed closure of her sister's death. More importantly, I wanted Nick to find his happily-ever-after and recover from his PTSD. I wanted him to stop living with the guilt and live to enjoy life. In the end, that is what an author hopes the reader will glean from their writing - genuine feelings for his characters. Mr. Palmer achieved that.I will definitely be putting The Last Surgeon on my husband's TBR pile. In addition, I will be recommending it to all of my friends who enjoy thrillers. It is an enjoyable, fun, thrilling read with a very poignant understory that deserve
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