Dr Harry Corbett is on his way to visit his estranged wife, Evie, who is scheduled for surgery the next day, for what he hopes will be a quiet evening of reconciliation. In recent weeks Evie, never quick to share her feelings, has been more closed and distant than ever.
But, without warning, he arrives to find her dead in her hospital bed. The police suspect murder, and Corbett is their only suspect...
Harry is unprepared for the stunning revelations that follow. Leading a double life, his beautiful wife had uncovered a deadly secret, and when the killer strikes again, Harry is once more the sole suspect.
Medically sophisticated, coolly arrogant, moving undetected through a busy urban hospital, it is clear to Harry that the killer, can only be a doctor. But can he stop the killer in his tracks before any more patients receive his lethal silent treatment?
A timely topic (health care) and a scary idea (a health care insurance cartel killing clients for ``cost containment'') give Palmer's new medical thriller (after Natural Causes) a big boost-but poor writing, including a series of unlikely plot twists, ultimately sinks it. Dr. Harry Corbett, two weeks short of 50, is trying to save his marriage to beautiful, ambitious journalist Evie, 11 years his junior, who's facing surgery for an aneurysm in Harry's hospital. When Evie dies in hospital, and her lover, about whom Harry knew nothing, accuses Harry of killing her, a boorish NYPD detective vows to nail the distraught doctor. Further murders follow, committed by one Anton Percheck, a physician who used to torture for drug dealers and repressive governments and now works for the cartel. Meanwhile, Harry is beaten, abducted, drugged, chased by villains and the law and nearly killed more than once. As in his earlier novels, Palmer's medical expertise (he's a practicing physician), as well as his ability to write a suspenseful scene, rival those of Robin Cook; unfortunately, so do his pedestrian prose, shallow characterizations, reliance on forced coincidences and maddeningly dim hero (grilled by the vicious cop, Harry doesn't call his lawyer because ``he had done nothing wrong''). Major ad/promo; audio rights to BDD.