“[...] I have killed surgeons before – a couple of times, in fact. But I don’t know if I’m ever going to be hired to kill another surgeon again,” Koller continued. “Think about it, that would mean you would be the last surgeon I ever kill.” The assassin paused a moment, clearly deep in thought. “I have to really, really embrace this moment. You can’t record these feelings, the smell of your apartment, your fear. But if you believe it might be the very last time you do something, it’s best to approach it with deserved reverence. You might not be the last surgeon, but then again, you might.” – from The Last Surgeon, page 170 of the ARC –
A nurse, a gifted surgeon, an anesthesiologist – all professionals in the medical field – begin to turn up dead. Murders made to appear as something else – a suicide, an accident, a drowning. When psych nurse Jillian Coates is told her younger sister’s death is a suicide, Jillian begins to seek some answers. Her stubborn effort to find those answers leads her to an unlikely man – Dr. Nick Garrity, a trauma surgeon suffering from PTSD after serving time in Afghanistan. Together they begin to piece together the mystery of the disappearance of Nick’s friend Umberto Vasquez and how it relates to the death of Jillian’s sister. What they find is a cold blooded killer with pale blue eyes, and a conspiracy which reaches to the very top of the United States government.
Michael Palmer’s latest suspense-thriller has all the elements which make it a page turner – intrigue, an evil serial murderer, a growing love between the two main characters who find themselves in constant peril, and a mystery which must be unraveled to save their very lives.
If I have any complaints with the book it would be a plot which seemed somewhat improbable at times (and somewhat predictable), and an evil character who seemed just a little too evil to believe. Despite these criticisms of The Last Surgeon, I did find myself racing through the pages. Fast-paced and creepy, the novel embodies what readers generally look for in this genre – sweaty palms, a little bit of romance (to unite the main characters), and the requisite gruesome murders. Palmer does not shy away from gory descriptions…and since his killer is a sexual sadist, Palmer doesn’t spare the reader when it comes to revealing a graphic, twisted sex scene. This novel is definitely not for the faint of heart.
Readers looking for an edge of your seat thriller will find it in The Last Surgeon. As the book ramps up toward the end, most readers will want to continue to its conclusion, even if it means burning the midnight oil as I did.
Readers who enjoy genre fiction – specifically suspense-thrillers which delve into the medical and political – will most likely enjoy The Last Surgeon. Recommended for readers who like their reading gritty and fast-paced.
The Last Surgeon is due for release on February 16th through St. Martin’s Press.
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FTC Disclosure: I received this book for review from the author, courtesy of St. Martin’s Press.