Jan 24, 2011

Book Review: A Heartbeat Away by Michael Palmer

Title: A Heartbeat Away
Author: Michael Palmer
Hardcover: 416 pages
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication date: First Edition edition (Feb. 15, 2011)
Genre: Political/medical thriller
Source: ARC from author

Plot: This is a medical and political thriller, involving a bio terrorist attack right in the Capitol building. A lethal virus is set off by a terrorist group, Genesis, in several parts of the chamber in which Congressional members, their staff, and the press are gathered for the President's State of the Union address.

There has to be a lock down and quarantine of the entire building, with the President, the Vice-President, and Speaker of the House included - the three in the top leadership position. President Allaire makes a desperate decision to find an antidote for the virus - he orders the freedom of a convicted terrorist, Griffin Rhodes, a virologist who had been jailed for stealing this same virus. Rhodes claims to have been set up, but agrees to work tirelessly against Genesis to perfect the antidote, his research at the time of his incarceration.

Who is Genesis and who are the masterminds behind the plot to destroy the government?

Comments: The plot may seem far-fetched but it serves as a great vehicle for a thrilling read. Rhodes races against time to save people about to die a horrible death inside the Capitol. At every turn, he is thwarted by Genesis. I found the action and plot very good reading and enjoyed the medical aspect of the thriller up to the end, where I found a disappointing wrap up of the story in the final blame for the terrorism plot. It seemed too easy an answer to give, like the ending of a James Bond movie, to be taken with a big grain of salt. The thrill of getting to the end of the book was all fun, however.

Objective rating: 4 out of 5.


  1. I like Michael Palmer, this sounds like a good read even if a bit far fetched.

  2. Palmer's novels set in DC are usually fun. Thos one looks like the ones I've read before from him, but I bet I'll love it anyway :)


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