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A Heartbeat Away    by Michael Palmer order for
Heartbeat Away
by Michael Palmer
Order:  USA  Can
St. Martin's, 2011 (2011)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Michael Palmer, author of A Heartbeat Away, has written over fifteen novels of medical suspense which have been translated into thirty-five languages. He is also heavily involved in giving support to physicians troubled by various problems.

I give you this info so that you will understand that this man knows of what he writes. A Heartbeat Away will still your own heart at times and keep it racing at others. While fiction, this scenario could conceivably happen.

A group calling itself Genesis has made an attack on the President of the United States while he had 700 senators and congressmen gathered to hear his State of the Union address. A deadly viral gas was released into the chamber when the President had just begun speaking.

As people became violently ill, the President realized he needed help and released Griffin Rhodes from a secret federal prison where he had been incarcerated for nine months (without a trial or being told why he was being held). The President believed Griff was a traitor and a terrorist.

Griff is a virologist who had been working on an antidote for a highly contagious virus. He is believed to have stolen the virus from his own laboratory. Not so. The President is still convinced that Griff is a terrorist but relies on him to come up with an antidote and save the country from contamination.

If you weren't already intrigued by this thrilling plot, here's where you start holding your breath and realizing this is not so far from what could conceivably happen. A terrifying thought.

A Heartbeat Away is excellent reading even if it does keep you awake at night. Meet Griff and his (once again) heart-flutter on their own ground and see the situation from two sides. The third side in this pyramid remains unknown to heighten the suspense. This is a book well written by a masterful storyteller.

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