Palmer's 11th medical thriller (Fatal ; etc.) takes careful and bloody aim at the managed care industry, beginning with the murder of several loathsome CEOs of HMOs in Massachusetts. Dr. Will Grant is a talented and caring physician in the Boston area who works long hours and hates the unfair and obstructive practices of the big insurance companies. Patty Moriarity is a rookie state cop whose first big case is investigating the deaths of the health care vultures. After some early research, Patty suspects Will, but soon enough that's all straightened out and they're smooching on the couch. After Will is drugged and collapses during a delicate operation, things get rough: he's kicked out of his hospital for drug abuse and sued. Next he's being tortured, while Patty, shot after attempting to save the boorish chauvinist detective who has taken over her case, lies in a coma. The action is a bit preachy in the beginning, but once Palmer gets all his characters in place, the suspense builds. He wraps it all up with a slam-bang battle between our love-smitten duo and some extremely nasty health insurer executives and their loyal, gun-toting minions. Agent, Jane Berkey at the Jane Rotrosen Agency. (Aug.)
Forecast: Anyone who's ever had a run-in with an insurance company—and that's pretty much everyone—is going to love this book's premise. Look for Palmer's usual solid numbers.