cover image The First Patient

The First Patient

Michael Palmer, . . St. Martin?s, $25.95 (371pp) ISBN 978-0-312-34353-8

This over-the-top yet endlessly entertaining thriller from bestseller Palmer (The Fifth Vial ) pits a country doctor against a conspiracy to kill the president. Dr. Gabe Singleton, an old friend of President Andrew Stoddard, is brought to Washington, D.C., from Wyoming when Jim Ferendelli, Stoddard’s former doctor, goes missing. Almost immediately, things fall apart as Stoddard suffers from a random episode of incoherence, and Singleton is shot at while driving in early morning D.C. traffic. Complicating matters is Alison Cromartie, a sexy nurse who captures Singleton’s heart. Singleton must figure out who’s behind the president’s mysterious illness, investigating everyone from the Secret Service agents to the vice president. Citing specific medical and technological processes, Palmer convinces readers that his novel is logical and reasonable, even as he mixes the unlikely with the insanely hyperbolic. The roller-coaster ride of a plot builds to an undeniably shocking conclusion. Author tour. (Feb.)