Michael Palmer's final work his most ambitious
The final medical thriller by Michael Palmer is about homegrown bioterrorism in the United States. Of all the novels he wrote before his death in 2013, this one has the most ambitious plot and a fascinating array of characters.
The villains in “Resistant” aren't your typical terrorists. They seek to abolish Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, which they believe are driving the nation to bankruptcy. Members of their group, the Society of One Hundred Neighbors, include scientists and a U.S. senator.
When one of them discovers a species of antibiotic-resistant bacteria and its antidote, the Society deliberately infects innocent people with it, hoping to blackmail the government into eliminating the entitlement programs. Unexpectedly, though, the germ mutates, rendering the Society's antidote useless. And the germ begins to spread on its own. The nation now faces an unstoppable pandemic.
The protagonist is Dr. Lou Welcome, an emergency-room physician who appeared in previous Palmer novels. He gets involved in the national health crisis because he wants to save his best friend from this “doomsday bacteria.”
Welcome doesn't get to do much in battling the bacteria until later in the novel, but no matter. There are plenty of other memorable characters, including a hidden genius in microbiology, a Muslim scientist who heads the U.S. government task force to eradicate the bacteria and an FBI agent who tries to bring down a rogue colleague.
The interactions among these characters build suspense until it explodes in one of the best action scenes to ever appear in a medical thriller.
Waka Tsunoda is a staff writer for the Associated Press.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.