The Fifth Vial by Michael Palmer

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From the blockbuster, eleven-time New York Times bestselling author comes a novel of medical suspense that begins with these chilling questions: Who ends up with the blood samples you routinely give for tests? What else are they being used for? Why don't you know? 
Take a Deep Breath. . . .
In Boston, a disgraced medical student is sent to deliver a research paper that could save her career. . . . Four thousand miles away, in a jungle hospital in Cameroon, a brilliant, reclusive scientist, dying from an incurable disease that threatens to make each tortured breath his last, is on the verge of perfecting a serum that could save millions of lives, and bring others inestimable wealth. . . . In Chicago, a disillusioned private detective, on the way to his third career, is hired to determine the identify of a John Doe, killed on a Florida highway, with mysterious marks on his body.
            Three seemingly disconnected lives, surging unrelentingly toward one another. Three lives becoming irrevocably intertwined. Three lives in mounting peril, moving ever closer to the ultimate confrontation against a deadly secret society with godlike aspirations and roots in antiquity.
            Medical student. Scientist. Private eye. Three people who will learn the deeper meanings of brilliance and madness, truth and deception, trust and betrayal.
            Three lives linked forever by a single vial of blood--the fifth vial.

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
Published February 20, 2007 by St. Martin's Press. 544 pages
Genres: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction, Business & Economics, Religion & Spirituality, Action & Adventure, Horror, Crime. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Fifth Vial

Kirkus Reviews

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Back in the U.S., private investigator Ben Callahan, a sweet former schoolteacher, starts on a track that will eventually hook him up with Natalie when he is hired by Organ Guard International, an under-funded association of physicians doing combat against organ trafficking.

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Entertainment Weekly

meanwhile, Chicago private detective Ben Callahan tracks a medical conglomerate kidnapping people to harvest their organs for recipients who ''best serve mankind.'' The dual story lines meander a bit before the final showdown, but Palmer's black-market bogeymen offer a terrifying vision of th...

Feb 16 2007 | Read Full Review of The Fifth Vial

Reviewing the Evidence

Ben had been beaten up by one of the people who had "treated" Lonnie, as the reader discovers, but Ben is determined to learn exactly what is going on, as well as to notify Lonnie's parents of their son's death.

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Reviewing the Evidence

Ben and Natalie are facing death, and only luck – and the help of some friends – can save them from a grisly fate.

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Large Print Reviews

In addition, The Fifth Vial is a thought-provoking book, one that will make you really ponder the ethics of organ donations - and the dangers posed by organ traffickers, both in terms of where (and from whom) they get the organ, and the dangers posed by those who receive them.

Mar 23 2007 | Read Full Review of The Fifth Vial

The Bookbag

Summary: Human organ trafficking is the target of this medical thriller, which has some awkward features but on the whole is a recommended read that uses its subject well and is strongly plotted.

Dec 03 2012 | Read Full Review of The Fifth Vial

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