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His name is ARTIE, a miracle of bio-engineering that is about to transform the field of neurosurgery. Dr. Jessie Copeland knows him better than anyone else at Eastern Mass Medical Center- and knows it's too soon to be using the tiny robot on a living patient's brain. But, Jessie's department chief is too busy to worry about such ethics. And neither of them has any idea that ARTIE will attract a patient from their worst nightmares.
Claude Malloche is a master assassin, more rumor than man, for whom murder is an art. No one can identity his face. Now Malloche has a deadly brain tumor, and he intends to have the best neurosurgeon in the world operate on it.
To ensure Jessie's cooperation, Malloche has devised a plan of intimidation that puts at risk her life and the lives of hundreds of innocent people. Neurosurgery requires nerves of steel, but in coming up with a scheme to fulfill her oath as a doctor while thwarting a diabolical killer, Jessie will be performing the most complex surgery of her career- on a knife-edge of terror.
Palmer's ninth medical thriller (after Miracle Cure) probably isn't the book to be reading when you've got a slight headache. Early on, a star Olympic gymnast feels a small pain in her skull, and soon she's having a brain tumor zapped by a flashy new surgical robot. The author, who was a full-time practitioner of internal and emergency medicine for 20 years, tells readers so much about the actual work of brain surgery that some might decide to skip over a few of the more agonizing moments, such as the frenzied operation on a young boy with a bullet wound. Yet these bloody and painful details put readers firmly inside the skin of Dr. Jessie Copeland, a neurosurgeon in her 40s with a combined undergraduate degree in biology and mechanical engineering. Now working under egomaniacal chief surgeon Carl Gilbride at a top Boston hospital, Jessie gets to try out ARTIE (Assisted Robotic Tissue Incision and Extraction) on cadavers, while Gilbride coaxes foundations to cough up millions for the revolutionary new procedure. Attracted by the media attention generated by ARTIE's use (too early, Jessie thinks) on the gymnast, shadowy terrorist Claude Malloche, known as "the Mist," who also has a brain tumor, comes to the hospital for treatment--and winds up holding patients and staff hostage in case the operation fails. It's finally up to Jessie and a rogue CIA agent to keep everyone healthy. This graft between medical and terrorist thriller has some rough edges, but the operation is a success.