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3.97  ·  Rating Details ·  3,860 Ratings  ·  157 Reviews
From The Sisterhood, Michael Palmer's first New York Times bestseller, to The Patient, his ninth, reviewers have proclaimed him a master of medical suspense. Recognized around the world for original, topical, nail-biting suspense, emergency physician Palmer'swork has been translated into more than thirty-five languages. Now he reaches controversial and startling new height ...more
Audiobook, 0 pages
Published March 27th 2002 by Random House Audio
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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So, my job is medical coding. I work with ICD-10 and do outpatient charts at a hospital and I sincerely love my job. And since starting my job, I love medical dramas. My sister started me on Grey's Anatomy and I have plans to watch House soon and I know there are more "medical" shows to binge on. So I figured if there are medical shows, there's gotta be medical books right?!

Fatal by Michael Palmer is a fascinating and well written medical thriller (the author is a doctor himself!). The United St
Well what can I say? I had heard a lot about Michael Palmer’s books over the years, so when I found this one in my stacks I picked it up. I was extremely disappointed in this book.

The story starts out with a good premise, the possibility that toxic waste in a mine is causing serious illness in a number of people. Dr. Matt Ruttledge has an axe to grind with the mine owner’s and is bound and determined to prove his theory. When a doctor from Boston comes to town for a friend’s funeral an attempt i
Rai Chu
Apr 09, 2012 Rai Chu rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Rob Dinsmoor
Jan 23, 2011 Rob Dinsmoor rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this books as I love all of Michael Palmer's books that I read. As Palmer trained as an ER physician and I'm a medical writer, I ate up all the medical detail, including his hero's performing dicey surgical procedures on the fly. This book follows the adventures of ER doctor Matt Rutledge, who returned to his hometown of Belinda, West Virginia, to marry his high school sweetheart and open a practice. After his wife Ginny dies from an unusual cancer, he starts to suspect that some unusual ...more
Nurse Lisa in Ohio (PRN Book Reviews)
4.5/5 stars.

I truly adored this book overall!

As a very seasoned & experienced RN (20+ yrs already!), I tend to really pick apart any story written in or about any type of healthcare situation. Obviously, the fact that Michael Palmer is a physician himself lends a whole entire level of credibility and "realness" to his writings; there isn't a bunch of silly or exaggerated medical situations that are glaringly unbelievable or just not accurate (which makes me CRAZY! Lol). Instead, the things
Lauren Stoolfire
It took me quite a while to really get into this novel - probably somewhere around the 100 page mark. There is a possibility that what kind of through me off in the prologue was the bit about "explosive diarrhea"... I had dinner shortly before I began the story. Anyways, of the three lead characters I particularly enjoyed reading Matt and Nikki; I found that I wasn't really all that interested in Ellen; she did grow on me to some extent near the end. However, one thing that irked me about Matt a ...more
Aug 20, 2013 Suzie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Only half way thru & it is very tough to keep reading... bought this book as it got so many good reviews, however, I find it boring... there are too many stories going on at the same time & he goes into detail with all the medical & scientific terms... hoping it gets better soon, but doubt I will be reading any other books by him
Joyce McKune
Feb 13, 2014 Joyce McKune rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Two mysteries in one. A coal mine dumping toxic waste and a vaccine that hasn't been properly tested and could kill like a time bomb. Great book.
David Alkek
Jun 11, 2013 David Alkek rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries
As a physician myself, I really enjoyed this fast-paced story of conspiracy, action, and murder. Palmer painted a realistic picture of the scene and characters.
Harry Thompson
Jun 17, 2017 Harry Thompson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked the book. It had several stories going on at the same time. This made it a bit distracting at times but, in the end everything meshed together. Didn't see the villain until the end, so it was not predictable story. It had some action, thrill, and suspense but nothing that made me stay up all night reading it to see what happens next.

I am not in the medical field, so the over the top medical focus of the book was a bit boring to me. It's hard to explain but after reading it you will know
If I don't get back to do a full review, let me warn you that the major hero (a doctor) faces near-death from stupid the whole book long (517 pages). He finds a feisty lady doctor who is as hell-bent on courting death as he is. If there's a life-threatening decision to be made, this pair will make the wrong one. ... There's a secondary story about a potent vaccine that is really the main story that drives the plot. I was wondering what it was doing plumb dab smack in the middle of the medical th ...more
May 09, 2017 Cindy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting and well narrated- recommended. Read long ago, forgot to rate.
Charice Lind mehring
A very involving story with numerous twists and turns and hidden agendas among the characters. A gripping read that was difficult to put down until the last page. Well worth reading.
Feb 23, 2017 Pam rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
3+. Engaging audiobook
Aug 09, 2015 Karen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoy medical dramas, so when I saw the title and the review that it was about a West Virginia coal mine, I quickly grabbed it off the large print shelf at the library for an escapist beach read. I was mistaken.


Author Michael Palmer is not on par with Michael Crichton or Robin Cook, he doesn't have the skill or creativity. However, he does have something to say about the bias and corruption that is inevitable in corporate-political associations, and about the medical issues con
Laronica Conway
Overall, it was a good 'story'...trying to link what everyone thought were three random medical issues, despite the fact that these three cases were located in different parts of the country. It started out really can a case of paranoid patients with neurofibromas (one in W. Virginia and the other in Boston) be linked to a pregnant woman in Chicago who thought she had the flu, but ended up with a fever and diarrhea that caused bleeding from every part of her body? What I like a ...more
Gerald Kinro
Jul 08, 2012 Gerald Kinro rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Five years ago, emergency physician Matt Rutledge returned to Belinda, West Virginia to Marry Ginny and to open his practice. Things were not all that rosy, however. Ginny succumbed to an unusual cancer. Furthermore, Matt’s father died in Belinda’s coal mines. Thus Matt has made it a mission to expose the Belinda Coal and Coke Company’s health and safety conditions.

Matt has identified two bizarre cases of what he has dubbed the Belinda Syndrome--caused, he is certain, by the mine’s careless dis
Mar 15, 2015 Bev rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-mystery, novel
I decided to take a break from medical thrillers by Tess Gerritsen, so what do I read? A medical thriller by Michael Palmer, a new author to me. This was perhaps not the best book to be read by a new grandmother whose grandchild is in the process of going through all those baby vaccinations.

The country is about to release an "omnivirus," which will protect everyone against some 30 diseases. Ellen Kroft, a grandmother whose granddaughter suddenly because autistic after receiving one of the baby v
Tim Titolo
Jan 21, 2011 Tim Titolo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
Michael Palmer is a medical doctor with vast experience in Emergency medicine and currently practicing in addiction. He is also the gifted writer.
This novel focuses on lead character Matt Rutledge M.D. Dr. R has been suspicious of mining practices causing fatal disease outbreaks for years.
Another story is that of a new vaccine that is fast tracked through studies to get to market. With the help of the first lady and police chiefs on the take, the drug Omnivax will be administered to thousands a
Rue Silver
May 08, 2014 Rue Silver rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
This book took me a week to read unlike most of Palmer's books I go through in a couple hours -- because of interruptions, not because I wanted to put the book down. if I believed in guilty pleasures, Palmer would be mine, but since I don't, it's just a favorite form of escapism. Fatal didn't disappoint, but to be fair I haven't been picking up the ones that sound like they will. (Obviously, these are social networking notes far more than real 'book reviews.' I'm sure people are glad to not have ...more
Jun 24, 2012 Pete rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I listened to 'Fatal' as an audiobook and loved it. Compared to Palmer's other books, this had only a fraction of the medical thriller genre used in its composition, replaced instead by more all-out action-thriller genre instead. It was a "I want to find out what happens next" type of book, but wasn't quite a "I can't stand to set it down" read, if that makes sense. Some parts of the book were well written and fit the story line perfectly, but had serious "is it believable" issues. Overall I lov ...more
Abby Johnson
Aug 28, 2008 Abby Johnson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dr. Matt Rutledge suspects that the local coal mine is behind a series of strange illnesses in his West Virginia town. Grandmother Ellen Kroft fights against a super-vaccine that's about to be implemented as the standard of care. Dr. Nikki Solari mourns the loss of her best friend and travels to West Virginia for her funeral... All of their stories come together as they are thrust into a deadly adventure to find the truth behind the disfiguring disease that's popping up in Belinda, WV. An action ...more
Mar 12, 2012 Terrie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A medical thriller in coal mining country, bringing together a pathologist, an bereaved widower who is the local er/primary care doctor and an anti-vaccine activist. Seemingly unconnected victims suddenly develop a fevers, facial tumors and a raging paranoia and an illness similar to mad cow. The local doc thinks it's related to toxic chemicals hidden by the mining company and poisoning the victims. A quick, page turning read (except for a few sections where descriptions of bureaucratic process ...more
Feb 03, 2013 Kim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was very impressed with how Palmer weaved such great and interesting stories into one big plot. I couldn't put down the book because I wanted to uncover how these different characters from different parts of the U.S. were connected. I also appreciated Palmer including some of his medical knowledge into the book. It was interesting to read about Lewis's chest tube insertion with a condom (not sure if it's 100% true, but I was entertained nonetheless.) I would definitely be reading more Michael ...more
Feb 07, 2016 Becky rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not Michael Palmer's best, but still a fast, capturing read.

Two parallel stories of a toxic mine dump and a controversial vaccine, this novel just had too much going on that made it seem disjointed and sloppy. I kept reading the book to figure out how the two stories intersect, which they eventually do, but I think the book could have stood on it's own with just one of these issues addressed. Well researched as always, but many plot points unnecessary and just tedious to wade through it all.
John Bastin
Jun 02, 2013 John Bastin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When you or your children get a vaccination, do you ever wonder about the safety of the medicine that is given, or how much testing it has really been subjected to, or how much money a pharmaceutical manufacturer has paid to get that medicine on the market?

This is an engrossing story centered on that question, a tale that you won't want to put down until it's finished. The twists and turns along the way and the characters you meet make this a very interesting book that holds you until the very e
Teresa Riordan
I was actually disappointed with this book. I usually count on Palmer for a quality medical mystery. This book had plots that seemed to go in different directions, that is usually a plus, however in this book they were all predictable.
When I let a "mystery" book sit for days without reading it and often feel I am plodding through it the book is not a great read.
I gave it 3 stars because it was ok, but I would not recommend it for mystery lovers
Athul Raj
Dec 29, 2014 Athul Raj rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Having read a couple of medical thrillers by Robin Cook, I searched for other similar authors and came across Michael Palmer. The first difference between their books is that Palmer's are expensive. Also, his has in depth descriptions about surgical procedures. Apart from that, both are action packed, scientifically strong thrillers with doctors as protagonists. Informative and enjoyable for even a 'layman', this is a typical, but good medical thriller.
May 23, 2008 Jaime rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For most of the book, you had two storylines that didn’t really seem related. They both had to do with medical issues, but there was no visible link. I really enjoyed how the two paths were joined together. It was unexpected, and I like being surprised when I read a book. This was the first Michael Palmer book I’ve read, and I’d definitely read more. I think a lot of them are medical thrillers, which I’m a sucker for anyway!
Lisa Rapple
This was an entertaining read, nothing earth-shattering or unique about the story line or the writing, but it certainly kept my interest. I liked the characters, particularly the recluse mountain people in West Virginia, particularly the Slocum brothers who had better moral fiber than the more sophisticated mainstream criminal characters. That was fun. I could picture a young Mel Gibson as the pony-tailed main character who was an emergency room doctor and rode a harley.
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Michael Palmer, M.D., 1942-2013, was the author of Political Suicide, Oath of Office, A Heartbeat Away, The Last Surgeon, The Second Opinion, The First Patient, The 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.

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