A Heartbeat Away by Michael Palmer

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Michael Palmer takes us on a suspenseful roller coaster ride that will keep you wondering what is going to happen next with each page turn. The characters are people that you can relate too.


The New York Times bestselling author and master of suspense delivers another novel at the crossroads of politics and medicine in this shocker of a thriller

On the night of the State of the Union address, President James Allaire expects to give the speech of his career. But no one anticipates the terrifying turn of events that forces him to quarantine everyone in the Capitol building. A terrorist group calling itself "Genesis" has unleashed WRX3883, a deadly, highly contagious virus, into the building. No one fully knows the deadly effect of the germ except for the team responsible for its development—a team headed by Allaire, himself. The only one who might be able to help is virologist Griffin Rhodes, currently in solitary confinement in a maximum security federal prison for alleged terrorist acts, including the attempted theft of WRX3883 from the lab where he worked. Rhodes has no idea why he has been arrested, but when Allaire offers to free him in exchange for his help combating the virus, he reluctantly agrees to do what he can to support the government that has imprisoned him without apparent cause.

Meanwhile, every single person in line for presidential succession is trapped inside the Capitol—every person except one: the Director of Homeland Security, who is safely at home in Minnesota, having been selected as the "Designated Survivor" for this event. With enemies both named and unnamed closing in, and the security of the nation at stake, Griff must unravel the mysteries of WRX3883 without violating his pledge as a scientist to use no animal testing in his experiments…and time is running out.

Tense, thrilling, and entirely plausible, A Heartbeat Away will make you reflect, wonder, and be truly afraid.


About Michael Palmer

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Michael Palmer, M.D., is the author of eleven novels of medical suspense, all international bestsellers. In addition to his writing, Palmer is 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, including alcoholism. In what spare time he has, Palmer is a weight lifter and avid tournament bridge player. He lives in eastern Massachusetts, where he is best known for his two eccentric cats and three terrific sons. Visit and write him at www.michaelpalmerbooks.com.
Published February 15, 2011 by St. Martin's Press. 415 pages
Genres: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction, Political & Social Sciences. Fiction
Bestseller Status:
Peak Rank on Mar 06 2011
Weeks as Bestseller
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Critic reviews for A Heartbeat Away
All: 5 | Positive: 4 | Negative: 1

Book Reporter

on Mar 28 2011

This is an intense thrill ride of a novel that firmly places Michael Palmer with the best thriller writers working today and will keep readers guessing right up until the final pages.

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RT Book Reviews

Reviewed by Pat Cooper on Feb 07 2011

Palmer never fails to thrill when he presents a tautly constructed puzzle, with characters that will make readers whiz through the pages until late at night. The tale follows the evolution of a devastating virus whose cure may never be discovered...

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Nights and Weekends


Politics and medicine collide in A Heartbeat Away—a shocking thriller that’s pulsating with suspense as a macabre virus eats away at the nation’s leaders.

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on Nov 19 2011

Michael Palmer takes us on a suspenseful roller coaster ride that will keep you wondering what is going to happen next with each page turn. The characters are people that you can relate too.

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Reviewing the Evidence

Above average

This is a standard political thriller and employs all the techniques that thriller writers use. It is predictable and fairly obvious. A discerning reader will know what is going to happen very quickly. The suspense is not very great...

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