Publisher: St Martin's Press
Publication Date: 5/17/2016
My Rating: 5 Stars +
Top Books of 2016
A special thank you to St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
MERCY is an edge-of-your seat spine-tingling medical suspense thriller, by talented Daniel and Michael Palmer,tackling controversial topics of "end of life" decisions, with moral consequences.
When lines are crossed. Mysterious deaths. Conspiracy. Mystery. An evil killer in the hospital. Who is safe? Danger. What is the motive? Money or Mercy? Good or evil. Someone has access to the patients. A doctor and her future husband are caught in the crossfire.
Palmers' (2015) Constant Fear and Trauma both landing on my Top Books of 2015. Once again . .
Highly Impressive! The author has produced two more "out of the park" hits, landing again on my Top Books of 2016:Mercy Coming May 17, and Forgive Me, Coming May 31.
Palmer must have superman qualities to crank out two extraordinary bestsellers in the same month, for two consecutive years. Your dad would be proud. Daniel, thank you from all readers for continuing your father’s groundbreaking work of medical thrillers.
There was no normal to Dr. Julie Devereux’s workday. A divorced woman in her forties, life as a critical care doc at White Memorial, a five-hundred bed hospital in the heart of Boston, was suited to people who could roll with it when emergency department interrupted morning rounds for an immediate consultation or when a patient who had been stable only moments earlier, was suddenly teetering on the edge of death.
Trevor, is her twelve-year-old son her only child. Divorced from Paul, Trevor’s dad, she is engaged to be married to Sam Talbot. Six months to their wedding. They were in love.
Julie was an advocate for death with dignity. She wrote papers and frequently spoke at conferences with the goal of bringing about policy change. Self-determination was a fundamental right, and the courts were beginning to agree. It was coming to health care whether the providers liked it, or not. Death with dignity laws did not, as some critics say, kill people who did not wish to die. Her activism, of course was controversial among her colleagues.
They thought it violated the Hippocratic oath to do no harm. Demeaning the value of human life, leading to abuse or reduce palliative care options. Good arguments; however, Julie believed that those most vocal in their opposition had at some point wrestled with the doubt. Is sometimes death, better?
Soon, events lead to "testing the limits" of this statement.Julie and Sam are involved in a motorcycle accident. Sam is left a permanent quadriplegic and is so hopeless and distraught, he begs Julie to allow him to die. To help him die. She disagrees. She continues to refuse. This is personal. The man show loves. She cannot help him die.
Julie had made a career out of keeping people alive who were on the edge of death. Should he have this right?
Finally, she brings in someone from an organization, Very Much Alive. To convince him that there is a good quality of life for quadriplegics. To help give him back his desire to live. In the past, Julie was probably on their list of least favorite doctors. In disability rights circles, Very Much Alivewas considered one of the most formidable. They oppose physician-assisted suicide. It is viewed as a lethal form of discrimination against disabled people.
Suffering was considered to be part of the human condition, as groups opposed to mercy killing often argued. Was it fair to force people to exist, often in agony, just for the sake of existing? A society that values physical ability.
Sam was being robbed of his mobility, and his dignity.
Michelle, the spokesperson for the organization, had an ethereal quality and her own personal experience with a similar situation, with deadly consequences to innocent parties. It wasn’t just about her husband and his freedom of choice, it was about all the lives connected to him. This is when she turned her focus to preserving life at all cost.
She and Julie encourage Sam to become involved in a support group and reintegration into the community. Julie finally persuades him to try. Sam agreed, and was open to the work -- taking it all in, with positive signs.
Suddenly, everything changes. Code blue. Sam’s heart and lungs had been functioning fine. What caused him to suffer a sudden cardiac arrest? He was gone. What caused the turnaround?
An autopsy reveals that Sam died of an unusual heart defect, one seen only in those under extreme stress –Sam had been literally scared to death. Severe emotional or physical stress—or intense fear. Takotsubo Cardiomyopathy. His arteries were not blocked. His heart was healthy.
Did it mean Julie no longer believed in death with dignity laws? Or did it mean she believed in them as long as she was not personally affected? Either way, she could no longer serve on any of the committees, and canceled her speaking engagements.
There are more mysterious deaths and Julie is determined to keep digging to find a pattern, putting herself in danger. Now she is accused of mercy killing. In order to clear her own name and save her career, she has to find the real killer. She has to do some major investigating to find the doctor or person responsible for administering the fatal dosages. Is someone controlling hospital costs and trying to get rid of expensive patients for the bottom line, or is it something even more evil and sinister?
Compelling, and terrifying at the same time. From well-developed characters, to complex multi-layered edge-of-your-seat thrilling suspense, with twists, and turns you do not see coming. Loved Julie, a strong heroine--nothing will stand in her way. Palmer always features strong and tenacious female leads.
—MERCY will have fans page-turning into the night, for a mix of crime thriller, science, psychological suspense, and a true medical top-notch mystery thriller, keeping Michael Palmer’s legacy alive at the top of the genre.