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Mercy

 

By: Michael Palmer, Daniel Palmer 

ISBN: 9781250030849

Publisher: St Martin's Press 

Publication Date: 5/17/2016

Format: Hardcover

My Rating: 5 Stars +
 

Top Books of 2016

Dr. Julie Devereux is an outspoken advocate for the right to die - until a motorcycle accident leaves her fiancé, Sam Talbot, a quadriplegic. He begs to die, but Julie sees hope in a life together.

 

With the help of an organization that opposes physician-assisted suicide, Julie has Sam coming around to her point of view when he suddenly dies from an unexpected heart attack.

 

An autopsy reveals that Sam died of an unusual heart defect, one seen only in those under extreme stress - in fact, it appears that Sam had been literally scared to death. As Julie investigates similar cases, threats begin to confront her. The more cases Julie discovers, the more the threats escalate until she finds herself accused of a mercy killing of her own. To clear her name and save her career, she must track down who is behind these mysterious deaths... but someone has decided that killing Julie is the only way to stop her.

 

 

 

  

My Review

 

A special thank you to St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. 

MERCY is an edge-of-your seat spine-tingling medical suspense thriller, by talented Daniel and Michael Palmer, tackling controversial topics of "end of life" decisions, with moral consequences. 

When lines are crossed. Mysterious deaths. Conspiracy. Mystery. An evil killer in the hospital. Who is safe? Danger. What is the motive? Money or Mercy? Good or evil. Someone has access to the patients. A doctor and her future husband are caught in the crossfire. 

Palmers' (2015) Trauma and Constant Fear both landing on my Top Books of 2015. Once again . . . 


Highly Impressive! The author has produced two more "out of the park" hits, landing again on my Top Books of 2016: Mercy Coming May 17, and Forgive Me, Coming May 31. Palmer must have superman qualities to crank out two extraordinary bestsellers in the same month, for two consecutive years. 

 

Your dad would be proud!  Daniel, thank you from all readers for continuing your father’s groundbreaking work of medical thrillers. 

There was no normal to Dr. Julie Devereux’s workday. A divorced woman in her forties, life as a critical care doc at White Memorial, a five-hundred bed hospital in the heart of Boston, was suited to people who could roll with it when emergency department interrupted morning rounds for an immediate consultation or when a patient who had been stable only moments earlier, was suddenly teetering on the edge of death.

Trevor, is her twelve-year-old son her only child. Divorced from Paul, Trevor’s dad, she is engaged to be married to Sam Talbot. Six months to their wedding. They were in love.

Julie was an advocate for death with dignity. She wrote papers and frequently spoke at conferences with the goal of bringing about policy change. Self-determination was a fundamental right, and the courts were beginning to agree. It was coming to health care whether the providers liked it, or not. Death with dignity laws did not, as some critics say, kill people who did not wish to die. Her activism, of course was controversial among her colleagues. 

They thought it violated the Hippocratic oath to do no harm. Demeaning the value of human life, leading to abuse or reduce palliative care options. Good arguments; however, Julie believed that those most vocal in their opposition had at some point wrestled with the doubt. Is sometimes death, better? 

Soon, events lead to "testing the limits" of this statement. Julie and Sam are involved in a motorcycle accident. Sam is left a permanent quadriplegic and is so hopeless and distraught, he begs Julie to allow him to die. To help him die. She disagrees. She continues to refuse. This is personal. The man show loves. She cannot help him die. 

Julie had made a career out of keeping people alive who were on the edge of death. Should he have this right? 

Finally, she brings in someone from an organization, Very Much Alive. To convince him that there is a good quality of life for quadriplegics. To help give him back his desire to live. In the past, Julie was probably on their list of least favorite doctors. In disability rights circles, Very Much Alive was considered one of the most formidable. They oppose physician-assisted suicide. It is viewed as a lethal form of discrimination against disabled people. 

Suffering was considered to be part of the human condition, as groups opposed to mercy killing often argued. Was it fair to force people to exist, often in agony, just for the sake of existing? A society that values physical ability. 

Sam was being robbed of his mobility, and his dignity. 

Michelle, the spokesperson for the organization, had an ethereal quality and her own personal experience with a similar situation, with deadly consequences to innocent parties. It wasn’t just about her husband and his freedom of choice, it was about all the lives connected to him. This is when she turned her focus to preserving life at all cost. 

She and Julie encourage Sam to become involved in a support group and reintegration into the community. Julie finally persuades him to try. Sam agreed, and was open to the work -- taking it all in, with positive signs. 

Suddenly, everything changes. Code blue. Sam’s heart and lungs had been functioning fine. What caused him to suffer a sudden cardiac arrest? He was gone. What caused the turnaround? 

An autopsy reveals that Sam died of an unusual heart defect, one seen only in those under extreme stress –Sam had been literally scared to death. Severe emotional or physical stress—or intense fear. Takotsubo Cardiomyopathy. His arteries were not blocked. His heart was healthy. 

Did it mean Julie no longer believed in death with dignity laws? Or did it mean she believed in them as long as she was not personally affected? Either way, she could no longer serve on any of the committees, and canceled her speaking engagements.

There are more mysterious deaths and Julie is determined to keep digging to find a pattern, putting herself in danger. Now she is accused of mercy killing. In order to clear her own name and save her career, she has to find the real killer. She has to do some major investigating to find the doctor or person responsible for administering the fatal dosages. Is someone controlling hospital costs and trying to get rid of expensive patients for the bottom line, or is it something even more evil and sinister? 

Compelling, and terrifying at the same time. From well-developed characters, to complex multi-layered edge-of-your-seat thrilling suspense, with twists, and turns you do not see coming. Loved Julie, a strong heroine--nothing will stand in her way. Palmer always features strong and tenacious female leads. 

MERCY will have fans page-turning into the night, for a mix of crime thriller, science, psychological suspense, and a true medical top-notch mystery thriller, keeping Michael Palmer’s legacy alive at the top of the genre. 

 

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Advance Praise 

 

Publisher's Weekly  

Mercy  Boston doctor Julie Devereux, a divorced mother and the heroine of this outstanding second posthumous collaboration (after 2015’s Trauma) between Daniel Palmer and his father, Michael (1942–2013), is on the verge of marrying the love of her life, Sam Talbot. But everything changes when Sam is left a quadriplegic after a motorcycle accident. Sam’s requests that Julie let him die place her in an especially difficult spot, as she has been a passionate advocate of death with dignity.

 

Tragically, just as Sam begins to be receptive to a support group for the paralyzed, he dies from a heart attack. Baffled by this turn of events, Julie turns sleuth, only to find that something disturbing is going on at her hospital, something the reader has known since the prologue, which depicts an unnamed doctor administering a fatal dose of medication to a patient he considers to have “no business living.” Ample, plausible twists combined with well-developed characters add up to a superior thriller that grapples with the ethics of euthanasia.Agent: Meg Ruley, Jane Rotrosen Agency. (May) Read More 

 

 

 

About the Authors

 

 

Michael Palmer, M.D., 1942-2013, was the author of  Political Suicide, Oath of Office, A Heartbeat Away, The Last Surgeon, The Second Opinion, The First Patient, The Fifth Vial, The Society, Fatal, The Patient, Miracle Cure, Critical Judgment, Silent Treatment, Natural Causes, Extreme Measures, Flashback, Side Effects, and The Sisterhood. His books have been translated into thirty-five languages. He trained in internal medicine at Boston City and Massachusetts General Hospitals, spent twenty years as a full-time practitioner of internal and emergency medicine, and served as an associate director of the Massachusetts Medical Society’s physician health program. Michael died unexpectedly on Wednesday, October 30, 2013 in New York. He was 71. Read More 

 

 

 

 

DANIEL PALMER is the author of four critically-acclaimed suspense novels. He is also an occasional short story writer, with THE DEAD CLUB in the ITW anthology, First Thrills, and DISFIGURED, found in Thriller: Stories to Keep You Up At Night.

 

Though he always had a passion for storytelling, writing wasn’t Daniel Palmer’s first foray into the entertainment industry. In fact, Daniel considers himself an accidental novelist who first began his career as a musician. He spent several years performing in the Boston club scene and released two CDs. Music allowed an outlet for storytelling that has translated into his writing.

 

Another successful endeavor of Daniel’s has been technology and e-commerce, which coincided with the dot-com boom and led to Daniel helping pioneer the first generation of web sites, most notably Barnes & Noble. The impact of the internet and social media on ordinary lives gave Daniel the basis for his writing, first with DELIRIOUS and most recently, with STOLEN. With tech-centric themes, Daniel’s novels focus on ordinary men pitted against extraordinary circumstances.

 

Daniel is actively involved with the Red Sox Home Base program, helping to raise money for veterans suffering from PTSD. Daniel holds a Master’s degree from Boston University and currently lives in New Hampshire with his wife and two children. Read More

 

 

TRAUMA 

By:  Michael Palmer  Daniel Palmer
ISBN:  9781250030894
Publisher:  St Martin's Press 
Publication Date:  5/12/2015 
Format: Hardcover
My Rating: 5 Stars +  
 

Top Books of 2015 
 
Dr. Carrie Bryant's four years as a neurosurgical resident at White Memorial Hospital have earned her the respect and admiration from peers and staff alike. When given the chance of performing her first unsupervised brain surgery, Carrie jumps at the opportunity.  Read Review 

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