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The Patient by Michael Palmer - Book Review


The Patient
Michael Palmer

Fiction-Net Rating 4 Star Rated Book

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Cover Story

Dr. Jessie Copeland is the best. Dedicated to saving lives, gifted and highly respected, she has taken her surgical skills to the highest degree. Now, along with a miraculous bio-engineering invention, she is about to revolutionise the whole field of neurosurgery.

Claude Malloche is suffering from a brain tumour that only Jessie and the new technique can cure but Malloche stands for everything that Jessie is against. A mysterious and ruthless killer, he is holding the Boston hospital where Jessie works and the city to ransom - if Jessie fails to cure Malloche, hundreds of innocent people will die. If she succeeds, Malloche may disappear once more to continue his deadly work. The dilemma facing Jessie is brutally simple - what do you do to save the life of a ruthless man who, if cured, will go on to kill and kill again?

We Say

The Patient is a extraordinary medical thriller. Michael Palmer's novel not only examines the ethical as well as political choices doctors are faced with daily as they practice their craft but biological terrorism as well. As technology advances, questions about just what is 'too much' technology are often raised. We now live in an age when advances in medicine can also be use to kill.

Michael Palmer's main character, Dr. Jessie Copeland is at the forefront in the research for more effective treatments in the field of neurology. Jessie is not only dedicated to her career but she is gifted with compassion and integrity. She is not out to climb the ladder of success but due to her talents and dedication, she is pushed into the forefront of a drama that could cost the lives of thousands.

Jessie is the type of doctor that people respect - not because she demands it but because she is good at her job and she honestly cares about those she treats. Jessie has been able to succeed, despite the ego of her boss, Dr. Gilbride. Employed in a predominantly male field, Jessie must be better than her superiors and that causes additional problems for her. Throughout this book, her compassion and dedication often force her to make unimaginable choices. In Jessie, Michael Palmer creates a very real character who is not perfect but realistic enough to be likable. Jessie's moments of doubt and indecision make her seem more approachable. She is not an overachieving ice princess, she is just a likable woman with extraordinary talents.

Claude Malloche on the other hand epitomises everything that is evil in people. In sharp contrast to Jessie, who values life, Malloche does not value any life other than his own. In order to preserve his own existence, Malloche is prepared to destroy the lives of countless others without any remorse. His selfish pursuit for a cure for his brain tumour places Jessie in the position where she must choose between saving an evil man's life so he can kill again or risk the death of hundreds, maybe thousands, of innocent people.

Alex Bishop, the CIA operative that has spent the past five years searching for Claude Malloche, is a man driven by his need for revenge. Also a sharp contrast to Jessie's compassion, Alex becomes a key figure in Jessie's life. While Michael Palmer does create an underlying romantic link between the two, nothing immediately develops between them. They don't jump into bed with each other after their first date. Life and their responsibilities get in the way of a relationship. Instead, the story is allowed to progress without gratuitous sex scenes and this made me like the novel that much more.

The Patient brings together terrorism and ethical choices into a fast paced novel that made me want to finish the reading book as soon as possible. Well written and well thought out, I found myself engaged in the story and interested in the information that the author has obviously researched. I was not able to predict what was going to happen, although I did have an idea of who Malloche was early on in the novel. What was unclear to me was how Malloche was going to effectively use terrorism to obtain a cure for himself. I was impressed with Michael Palmer's ability to present a story that was not so unbelievable, even though the technology described does not exist yet.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book - The Patient is well worth reading. Get yourself a copy.

Review by: Yumi Nagasaki-Taylor

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