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MICHAEL PALMER, April Featured Author

[ Edited ]

Please welcome New York Times Best Selling author MICHAEL PALMER, who will be visiting with us during the first half of April.

 


 

Michael's website is here: http://www.michaelpalmerbooks.com/

 

You can find him on Facebook here: http://www.facebook.com/michaelpalmerthrillers

 

And on Twitter: http://twitter.com/Michael_Palmer

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[ Edited ]

The Last Surgeon

The Last Surgeon

On February 16th, New York Times bestselling author Michael Palmer delivered another shocker of a thriller filled with insider details and a terrifying psychopath.

 

 

Four murders.

Three accidents.

Two suicides.

One left…

THE LAST SURGEON

 

 

Michael Palmer’s latest novel pits a flawed doctor against a ruthless psychopath, who has made murder his art form. Dr. Nick Garrity, a vet suffering from PTSD—post traumatic stress disorder—spends his days and nights dispensing medical treatment from a mobile clinic to the homeless and disenfranchised in D.C. and Baltimore. In addition, he is constantly on the lookout for his war buddy Umberto Vasquez, who was plucked from the streets by the military four years ago for a secret mission and has not been seen since.

Psych nurse Gillian Coates wants to find her sister’s killer. She does not believe that Belle Coates, an ICU nurse, took her own life, even though every bit of evidence indicates that she did—every bit save one. Belle has left Gillian a subtle clue that connects her with Nick Garrity.

Together, Nick and Gillian determine that one-by-one, each of those in the operating room for a fatally botched case is dying. Their discoveries pit them against genius Franz Koller—the highly-paid master of the “non-kill”—the art of murder that does not look like murder. As Doctor and nurse move closer to finding the terrifying secret behind these killings, Koller has been given a new directive: his mission will not be complete until Gillian Coates and Garrity, the last surgeon, are dead.

Publishers Weekly

In this anemic medical thriller from bestseller Palmer (The Second Opinion), former trauma surgeon Dr. Nick Garrity, who suffers from PTSD as the result of a suicide attack on his field hospital in Afghanistan, is now in charge of the Helping Hands RV, a mobile clinic that plies the streets of Baltimore offering medical aid to the homeless. Meanwhile, a high-priced hit man starts to commit a series of murders, his first victim being Belle Coates, a nurse in Charlotte, N.C. When Belle's sister, Jillian, who lives in Virginia, searches for her sister's killer, she finds a connection to Nick. Several missing homeless men lead everyone to a massive plot involving high-level politicians and a secret CIA program. The action is all fairly predictable, the characters off-the-shelf, and the writing, if not exactly purple, at least mauve: “A guttural, primal scream exploded from Nick's throat as he crouched by the body.” 250,000 first printing. (Feb.)

More Reviews and Recommendations

Biography

MICHAEL PALMER is the author of fourteen previous novels of medical suspense, all international bestsellers. In addition to his writing, Palmer is an associate director of the Massachusetts Medical Society Physician Health Services, devoted to helping physicians troubled by mental illness, physical illness, behavioral issues, and chemical dependency. He lives in eastern Massachusetts.

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Read an Excerpt

 

PROLOGUE

 

“I know you can’t believe this is happening, Ms. Coates, but I assure you it is. I have been paid, and paid very well, to kill you.” 

Belle Coates looked up at the intruder through a glaze of tears. “Please. Just tell me what you want,” she said. “Just tell me what you want and you can have it. Anything. Anything at all.” 

The man sighed. 

“You’re not paying attention, Ms. Coates,” he said with the accen tuated patience of a third-grade teacher. “I am not here to bargain. I told you that. I’m here because this is what I get paid to do.” 

“But why? Why me?” 

Belle made yet another futile attempt to stand. Her wrists and ankles were lashed to her kitchen chair by the sort of Velcro restraints she and other hospital nurses used so often on diffi cult patients. 

“Those restraints look amazingly simple,” the intruder said, “but I tell you they are a marvel of engineering and ergonomics. No pain, no marks. None at all. That’s why I have a dozen or so sets of them in the drawer at home.” 

The man, six feet tall and wiry, had been hiding inside Belle’s apart ment, probably behind the couch in the living room, when she arrived home at nearly midnight. Her nursing shift—3 to 11 p.m. in the car diac surgery ICU at the Central Charlotte Medical Center—had been a tough one, and she had relished every stair of the trudge that brought her closer to her apartment, a cup of tea, and a steamy shower.

She was just choosing a tea when he appeared in the doorway of her kitchen, an apparition in sky blue surgical hair andfeet covers, latex gloves, black jeans, and a black long- sleeved tee. She was so fix ated on his appearance that it was several seconds before she noticed the huge, gleaming knife dangling at his side. Her hesitation was more than enough. In two quick strides he was beside her, seizing a handful of her hair, snapping her head back, and pressing the blade against her throat. With just enough restraint to keep from drawing blood, he forced her down onto one of the oak chairs she had recently refinished, and in moments the restraints were on her. It had hap pened that fast. 

A dozen or so sets in my drawer. 

The statement was as terrifying as the knife. 

Was he a serial rapist? A psychotic killer? Desperately, searching for even the smallest inroad to understanding the intruder,

Belle tried to remain calm and remember if she had read about such a man in the papers, or heard about him on the news. 

“What do you want?” she said. “My fiancé will be home any min ute.” 

He fixed her with pale, translucent blue eyes that were devoid of even the slightest spark of humanity. 

“I don’t think so. We both know about your failed engagement. ‘Celebrate Belle and Doug’s love.’ I’m very sorry about that.” 

Belle froze at the words, quoted from her wedding invitation. 

“Who are you?” she managed again. “What do you want from me?” 

“Now we’re getting someplace.” The man produced a vial from his pocket and set it on the table. “I want you to swallow these sleeping pills I found in your medicine cabinet the last time I was here. I have augmented what was there with some that I brought with me to night, so there will be more than enough to achieve our goal. But before you take these pills, I want you to copy and sign a brief note I have composed explaining your despondency and your desire not to live anymore. And finally, I want you to undress, step into your tub, and go to sleep. See? Simple and absolutely painless.” 

Belle felt her breathing stop. This couldn’t be happening. She wouldn’t do it. He wouldn’t be able to pry her jaws apart with a crowbar. She began to hyperventilate and shake, grabbing and releas ing the arms of her chair. 

“I won’t do it.” 

“You will.” 

“I won’t!” she began screaming. “I won’t! I won’t! Help! Someone help m—” 

Her words were cut off by exquisite pressure around her throat. A hard rubber ball was forced expertly between her teeth and into her mouth. The killer remained absolutely calm during the insertion. 

“That was stupid, Ms. Coates. Do anything stupid again, and you will be responsible for causing both yourself and your sister a great deal of pain.” 

Belle stared up at him, wide-eyed. The mention of her sister was a dagger. Hyperventilating through her nose, she still could not seem to get in enough air. 

“That’s right,” the man said. “I know all about Jillian. Just like I know all about you. Now, refuse to do exactly as I say, try anything stupid again, and I promise, both you and Jillian will die prolonged and pain ful deaths. Understand? I said, do you understand?” Belle nodded vigor ously. “I’m still not certain you do. Now listen, Ms. Coates, and for your sister’s sake, believe me, I have no contract to kill Jillian—only you. With very rare exceptions, those I am not paid to kill, I don’t kill.” 

He took out his mobile phone, made a gentle tap on the screen’s touch display, and held it up for Belle to see. 

“I assume you recognize your sister’s condo in Virginia— Arlington, to be exact, 489 Bristol Court to be even more exact. Nod if you agree that is the case. Good. I know how close you two are. You see, I read your journal, or diary, including entries from the trip to Nassau that Jillian took you on after you learned about Doug’s . . . how shall I say . . . dalliance with your friend Margo. Surgeons. They are just so full of themselves, aren’t they? I see you are having a little trouble breathing. Okay, here’s the deal: I’ll re move that ball if I get your assurance you will stay quiet and still.” 

Belle grunted her agreement and again nodded. The man pulled the ball out, keeping his fingers clear of her teeth, and dropped it into his pocket. 

“Now,” he said, “what you are about to watch is a live video feed— live as in ‘it’s happening at 489 Bristol Court right this very instant.’ ” 

Belle stared in disbelief at the full-color projection. The footage was unquestionably taken from her sister’s tastefully and lovingly decorated condominium. She was certain that the woman sleeping alone in the queen- size bed was Jillian, also a nurse, and one of the main reasons Belle herself had chosen the profession. Following the automobile- accident deaths of their parents, Jillian had stepped in to raise her fourteen-year-old sister, often making major sacrifices in her personal life.

Belle considered her to be the kindest, brightest, most centered person she had ever known. The camera had been placed above the valance in the bedroom. At the sight of Jillian, roll ing languidly from her left side to her back, Belle began to hyperven tilate again. 

“Easy,” the man warned. “Slow down. That’s it. . . . That’s it.” 

“Please. Please don’t hurt her.” 

The apparition holding the phone leaned forward. Belle cringed as his empty eyes came level with her own. His pale white skin was tinted blue, a ghoulish illusion cast by her ecologically friendly halo gen lights. 

“You must calm down your breathing and listen, Ms. Coates. To save your sister’s life, and yourself from a great deal of pain, it is essential that you believe I will do as I say.” 

“I believe. I believe. Turn it off.

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[ Edited ]
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BRIEF BIO:

 

Michael Palmer, M.D., is the author of the forthcoming The Last Surgeon (2010), The Second Opinion, The First PatientThe 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 is now an associate director of the Massachusetts Medical Society’s physician health program.

 

How I started writing . . .

 

To begin with, I guess I should say that I never wanted to be a writer, and in truth never showed much flair for it. I did, however, always believe that I had some sort of a creative streak hidden inside me. But then again, I always thought I could win a gold medal in the Olympics if they would just invent the sport that I was the best at.

 

I went to Wesleyan University in Connecticut where I was a pre-med major with sort of a Russian minor. On my first English paper as a freshman I got a “G” as in A . . . B . . . C . . . etc.

 

My professor, as I recall, drew a line halfway through the paper and wrote, STOPPED READING HERE in the margin. Not exactly the start one might expect from someone whose first nine novels were going to make The New York Times Best-Seller List, but stopped reading here it was. In one of those books, I decided to name the villain after that freshman English professor.

 

Although I never won any writing awards at Wesleyan, I did take wonderful courses such as eastern literature, humanities, a seminar on war, and a seminar on Edgar Allen Poe with the Pulitzer Prize winning poet, Richard Wilbur. When I finally did start writing my novels, I found myself pulling up many things I learned in those classes.

 

For med school, I chose Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, largely because they had developed a curriculum that centered on producing caring, involved physicians. No grades. No class rank. No intimidation. Humanistic approach from day one. I loved it there. After Case, I came to Boston to train in internal medicine at Boston City and Massachusetts General Hospitals. My patients and experiences in both places left indelible impressions on my soul.

 

During a two-year break, I did my military obligation in Cincinnati doing research for the National Air Pollution Control Administration. Eventually, I settled into a private internal medicine practice on Cape Cod. After my first book was sold, I switched to the ER to have more time to write.

 

In what spare time I had, I loved to read escapist fiction. Robert Ludlum, Alistair McLean, Eric Ambler, John D. MacDonald, Agatha Christie . . . a book or two a week. In 1978, I read Robin Cook’s classic thriller, Coma. Robin was two years ahead of me at Wesleyan and trained at Mass General when I was there.

 

“If Robin can write a book and has the same education as I do,” I asked my younger sister one autumn day, “why can’t I write a book?”

 

“Because you’re dull,” was her knee-jerk, sisterly response.

 

We spent a while talking about what we enjoyed in thrillers, and I decided to have a go at it.

 

The story I chose to write was based on a true event in my life where a dying patient gave me a mysterious key and begged me never to let it out of my possession. I still don’t know what the key was really for, but a page a night I made up a novel surrounding it. In a year I had completed The Corey Prescription! After it was typed, I sent it to a childhood friend who worked at a New York publishing house. He felt my writing was God-awful, but my story telling held surprising promise. “We can teach people how to write,” he told me. “But we can’t give them a sense of what’s dramatic.”

 

My friend referred me to literary agent Jane Rotrosen who decided that while The Corey Prescription had its moments, even the greatest editing job in the world wouldn’t make it strong enough to vault onto the best-seller lists. She would work with me and represent me only if I agreed to start over with a new idea. That idea (a secret society of nurses dedicated to mercy killing) became The Sisterhood, which was published in 1982 and is now in its 35th printing or so and has been translated into 34 or 35 languages. A good start!

 

So now I’m a novelist. The Fifth Vial will be my twelfth book-thirteenth if you count The Corey Prescription, which has, in fact been published in several foreign languages, though never in English. I’m hard at work on my next story, THE FIRST PATIENT–a thriller about the president’s physician.

 

In addition to the writing, I work part time (20 hours a week or so) for the Massachusetts Medical Society as an Associate Director of their physician health program, helping doctors with physical illness, mental illness, or substance abuse put their lives together. It’s tremendously rewarding work and offers great balance to the isolation of writing. But doing that job, plus the writing, plus daddying puts a high premium on discipline. Fortunately, if I have nothing else, I have that.

 

—Michael Palmer

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The Last Surgeon is Top 10 Kindle Bestseller

March 27th, 2010

According to Relaxnews: “Michael Palmer’s medical thriller The Last Surgeon was released as an e-book and in hardcover on February 16. All 15 novels by the prolific writer have made best-seller lists; this newest title tells the story of Nick Garrity, an American trauma surgeon who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder after having worked in a field hospital in Afghanistan following 9/11.”

Kindle weekly bestsellers*:
1. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo — Stieg Larsson (3=position last week)
2. The Last Song — Nicholas Sparks (4)
3. The Help — Kathryn Stockett (2)
4. Shutter Island — Dennis Lehane (1)
5. Split Image — Robert B. Parker (10)
6. The Girl Who Played With Fire — Stieg Larsson (5)
7. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks — Rebecca Skloot (9)
8. The Last Surgeon — Michael Palmer (new)
9. Fantasy in Death — J.D. Robb (4 for week ending March 6)
10. The Silent Sea — Clive Cussler (new)

*Source: Publishers’ Marketplace

AFP – RELAXNEWS

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From Michael's newsletter, shortly after the release of THE LAST SURGEON:

THE LAST SURGEON has made the NEW YORK TIMES Hardcover Fiction Best Seller list!!! YEAA!!!

I just got word yesterday that on 3/7/10, the book will be #15 on the TIMES and Publishers Weekly, and is #9 on Neilsen's Bookscan! The book had only been on sale for six days when the lists were put together and is still up against some pretty tough competition such as Patterson, Jackie Collins, Dan Brown, Kristen Hannah, and of course The Help. I was trying to act blasé about the whole thing, but I finally caved in to the truth and decided to write and tell you all, and of course beg those of you who haven't gotten THE LAST SURGEON or at least checked it out, to do so.

As for those who have bought it already: thank you so much. After all the hard work writing, then promoting the book, it is incredibly rewarding to have it be appreciated in this way.

Michael

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There is an audio clip here:http://audio.weei.com/m/28973557/michael-palmer-author.htm

 

And there is a very interesting article here:

 

Swampscott author, doctor find writing, helping are his best medicine

 

By Kristen Schoenebeck / Correspondent

 

Posted Mar 06, 2009 @ 12:41 PM

 

 

 

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Writers Retreat Workshop 
Your novel. Your workshop. Your memories.

 

 

39th WRW
June 10 - 19, 2010

We're thrilled to welcome to WRW 2010: 

NYT bestselling thriller author Michael Palmer, (The Last Surgeon, Miracle Cure, Extreme Measures), WRW Grad and NYT bestselling romance novelist Janet Chapman (Wedding the Highlander, Moonlight Warrior), debut novelist Daniel Palmer, and Tor/Forge editor Kristin Sevick. 

Also, our amazing and talented WRW co-founder Gail Provost Stockwell. Top NYC agents/editors announced soon.
 All prepared to work with you during an incredible challenging and inspiring week at the Writers Retreat Workshop.

And our fabulous WRW Core staff, Jason SitzesLorin Oberweger, and Roman White.

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Happy April Fool's Day, everyone! It's no joke, though - I'm thrilled to have MICHAEL PALMER visiting with us during the first part of April.

 

I'll apologize in advance to our regulars here, because I know your to-be-read piles have gotten huge in recent months. They are about to get bigger.

 

 

 

The Last Surgeon 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Michael's new release, THE LAST SURGEON, is already a best-seller and it's easy to see why: once you read the first few pages, you won't be able to put it down. And if this is the first of Michael's books you've read? Well, therein lies the problem of the towering TBR pile. This is his 15th book, and I'm betting you'll want to go back and read them all.

 

Michael - or should I say Dr. Palmer? (It feels a little flip to skip your title, but we tend to be pretty informal here. Please let me know which you prefer.)I'm curious if it makes you at all nervous having such scary villains living in your head. I can't forget that opening scene, and the whole concept of the "non-kill." How did you come up with that idea?