A Heartbeat Away

A Heartbeat Away

Book - 2011 | 1st ed.
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The New York Times bestselling author and master of suspense delivers another novel at the crossroads of politics and medicine in this shocker of a thriller On the night of the State of the Union address, President James Allaire expects to give the speech of his career. But no one anticipates the terrifying turn of events that forces him to quarantine everyone in the Capitol building. A terrorist group calling itself "Genesis" has unleashed WRX3883, a deadly, highly contagious virus, into the building. No one fully knows the deadly effect of the germ except for the team responsible for its development--a team headed byAllaire, himself. The only one who might be able to help is virologist Griffin Rhodes, currently in solitary confinement in a maximum security federal prison for alleged terrorist acts, including the attempted theft of WRX3883 from the lab where he worked. Rhodes has no idea why he has been arrested, but when Allaire offers to free him in exchange for his help combating the virus, he reluctantly agrees to do what he can to support the government that has imprisoned him without apparent cause.Meanwhile, every single person in line for presidential succession is trapped inside the Capitol--every person except one: the Director of Homeland Security, who is safely at home in Minnesota, having been selected as the "Designated Survivor" for this event. With enemies both named and unnamed closing in, and the security of the nation at stake, Griff must unravel the mysteries of WRX3883 without violating his pledge as a scientist to use no animal testing in his experiments...and time is running out.Tense, thrilling, and entirely plausible, A Heartbeat Away will make you reflect, wonder, and be truly afraid.
Publisher: New York : St. Martin's Press, c2011.
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 9780312587529
Characteristics: vii, 404 p. ; 25 cm.


From Library Staff

Politics and medicine intersect in this page-turning thriller when a terrorist group releases a contagious virus.

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Feb 04, 2013

A good story with well thought plots. 9 of 10 stars

Aug 09, 2012

Not as good as The First Patient but still an absorbing read.

Nov 10, 2011

Beautiful. Absorbing. Compelling. Dramatic. A triumph of both medical and political thrillers with black-and-grey morality that forces the heroes to make difficult decisions under difficult circumstances with sometimes questionable results. The novel feels somewhat removed from the typical pandemic scenario, specifically because the outbreak is so quickly and so efficiently contained, and instead focuses on the politics behind the struggle to obtain a cure when the cost is the lives of 700 people and, sadly more importantly in the eyes of the antagonist, the leadership of the free world *ahem* the United States. In this novel, power may lead you to deceive, but it is the desire for power that is truly corrupting.

My one criticism: the identities and motivations of the terrorist group behind it all, Genesis, are simply explained to us at the end by the omnipresent narrator. This takes all the fun out of having one of the protagonists figure it out piece by piece. And given that one of the main characters is a news reporter, it could have been a nice piece of journalistic investigation to complement the main plotline. As it stands, the reader has few clues to figure out the solution to this part of the puzzle themselves, and the solution. Also, the goal presented as the motivation for the terrorist attacks seems somewhat weak--while one should never underestimate human greed, I suppose, the setup just isn't there to make it believable to the reader.

The resolution of other elements in the plot, however, is mostly satisfying. I have another complaint about Ursalla Ellis, but to speak on that would be to ruin a major plot twist. And so, I will conclude by noting that the book succeeds much more often than it fails, and is accordingly all the things I said at the beginning: beautiful, absorbing, compelling, dramatic, and well worth the effort.

MerlinsMum Jun 19, 2011

Fast paced, somewhat incredulous, but fun nevertheless.

gwsuperfan Mar 06, 2011

Not up to the level of Palmer's previous novels. Vast bioterrorism conspiracies are clearly outside the realm of the author's expertise and it shows in this book, detracting from the ability to suspend disbelief.

debwalker Feb 09, 2011

A medical thriller in which terrorists release a virus in the Capitol during the State of the Union address.

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