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Oath of Office Hardcover – February 14, 2012

3.9 out of 5 stars 170 customer reviews
Book 1 of 3 in the Dr. Lou Welcome Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

A physician with a history of behavioral issues shoots and kills several people in his office before trying to take his own life. It falls to Dr. Lou Welcome, the assailants friend and former colleague, to determine why the man went on his murderous rampage, but Welcome doesn’t bargain for a conspiracy that could lead directly to the Oval Office. This is a weaker novel than Palmer’s Last Surgeon (2010), but it’s stronger than A Heartbeat Away (2011), leaving it in the midrange of Palmer’s up-and-down swing. Its characters are sturdy, but the story doesn’t have the spark that made his early work such a treat. Palmer doesn’t seem all that interested in his plot. He seems content to let it be another frequently predictable conspiracy story, although there are places where it could have veered off in a new and surprising direction. This is one of those cases where there’s nothing especially wrong with the book, but it isn’t especially memorable, either. Not a complete misfire but, from an author with undeniable talent, a disappointment. --David Pitt


Praise for the audiobook edition of Oath of Office:

“Robert Petkoff’s narration adds drama and tension to this chilling story based on ‘advances’ in agricultural science…Listeners, especially those who enjoy conspiracy thrillers, will be thoroughly engaged.” – AudioFile Magazine


“Robert Petkoff delivers solid narration…Petkoff’s pacing is spot on and his reading often chilling. He infuses his performance with just enough melodrama to maintain suspense while keeping the novel grounded in reality…The result is an enjoyable listen.” – Publishers Weekly


“A tense, driven story from the beginning to end, Oath of Office is an excellent choice for mystery lovers and is sure to be a popular pick in public library audiobook collections.” – The Midwest Book Review


Previous Praise for Michael Palmer:


“Robert Petkoff delivers a tense, exciting performance. He’s especially proficient as the crafty female Speaker of the House. Petkoff's virtuosity makes this thriller intense and as close to reality as one dares to think about.” –Audiofile on A Heartbeat Away

“Robert Petkoff proves to be the perfect choice to narrate Palmer's latest medical thriller…Petkoff never misses a beat in his reading of this high-octane medical thriller, fully realizing each scene and character with ease. His energetic and skillful performance will keep listeners on the edge of their seats.” –Publisher’s Weekly on A Heartbeat Away

“Actor Robert Petkoff does an exceptional job of narrating Palmer’s follow-up to The Last Surgeon (2010), perfectly capturing each character’s unique accent, quirks, and personality and rendering Griffin’s best friend and colleague Melvin especially well. Sure to keep listeners on the edge of their seats; highly recommended for mystery/thriller fans.” –Library Journal on A Heartbeat Away

"The twists fly in A Heartbeat Away and the results create a terrifying scenario...Palmer has a mastery of the medical science involved in such an elaborate conspiracy, plus the intricacies of presidential succession."--Associated Press on A Heartbeat Away

“When it comes to inventive plots for medical thrillers nobody does it better than Michael Palmer…  This premise is explosive and compelling and grabs the readers from the very first page.”--The Huffington Post on A Heartbeat Away

"Fans of Michael Palmer will love the Boston-based doctor/crime writer's latest thriller...Prepare to burn some serious midnight oil."--The Boston Herald on The Last Surgeon

"The novel is not merely a thriller but also an exploration of its central character's unique gifts and her determination to communicate with hercomatose father despite overwhelming odds. Another winner from a consistently fine writer."--Booklist on The Second Opinion

"The First Patient is an exciting thriller that is full of surprises and captures the intense atmosphere of the White House, how the medical system works, and how the 25th Amendment could be brought into play. I thoroughly enjoyed it."--Bill Clinton on The First Patient

"This latest should please Palmer's fans and all those who enjoy their suspense mixed with medical characters and settings."--Library Journal on The Last Surgeon

"A heart-pounding medical thriller."--The Boston Globe on The Second Opinion


--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

The latest book club pick from Oprah
"The Underground Railroad" by Colson Whitehead is a magnificent novel chronicling a young slave's adventures as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South. See more

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press; First Edition edition (February 14, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312587538
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312587536
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.3 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (170 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,170,765 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition
Thank goodness I read this on a relative's Kindle, otherwise I would have been angry about paying 12.99 for this thing.

There are only two problems with the book that prevented me from rating this higher: plot and characters. If you don't mind a lame political consipiracy and barely drawn characters with silly names (Lou "Welcome" and Anthony Brite, nicknamed "Notso"...get it?), and you don't care how much you spend for "bestsellers", then you'll be fine with this book.

First, the plot: mysterious events start occurring in the small Virginia town of Knight's Ridge characterized by people behaving in an irrational and completely crazy manner. Dr. Welcome is the first genius to start putting together that there might be a common pattern stemming from the potential distribution of genetically altered corn. Apparently, this is a test run for the bigger plan to sell the food to the Chinese and Lou must work with the White House' First Lady, an insider within the evil company, and locals to stop the bad produce from leaving the country. Therer are a couple of issues here -- if everyone is ingesting the corn, why hasn't the whole town gone nuts and started behanving irrationally? Apparently it only affects the key characters of this book, as if the food was genetically altered to only occur to specifically selected characters within Palmer's book . The description of the process for creating the corn is poor science fiction at best and involves some silly combination of termite DNA and the corn. The plot would have been a whole lot better if the government had deliberately let China get the produce then watch the events unfold from there!

Second, characters. Lou Welcome. Really.
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Format: Hardcover
If ever there was a cautionary tale against genetic food modification, Oath of Office is it. The author combines medical mystery with political corruption in a suspenseful, fast-paced thriller that is a real page turner. I was stepping outside my usual genres by picking up this book, and I'm ever so glad that I did. I particularly enjoy books that take me outside of my realm of knowledge and experience and teach me something new while entertaining me. I found that Oath of Office did that very well. I also liked the main characters a great deal and appreciated that they had baggage. Palmer was able to make doctors and politicians into people to whom the reader could relate. This book had high speed car chases, shootouts, medical traumas, radiated termites, murder, and romance. It came together in a plot that was frighteningly believable yet surprising and nearly seamless. I enjoyed it immensely and highly recommend it for a quick read with a bonus adrenaline rush.
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Format: Hardcover
When stressed out Dr. John Meacham goes on a shooting spree, killing a number of his patients and fellow employees, Dr. Lou Welcome is blamed.

Lou had been overseeing his friend, Dr. Meacham's progress at Physicians Wellness. This organization counsels and attempts to help doctors with psychological problems, resulting in their loss of anger. They also counsel doctors who over medicate themselves with drugs and alcohol.

As the story progresses, we observe Lou's compassionate nature while a number of other characters exhibit unexplained anger that seems to take control of their body for a time, and then, if they survive their aggression, the anger seems to go away. Afterward the person seems almost unaware of what happened. We witness a number of tragic events due to this anger. Lou tries to find the cause. He goes to the Chief of Police in King's Ridge but the chief tells Lou that he doesn't have any real evidence to back his claims.

He meets Dr. Darlene Mallory, the First Lady of the United States. They form a bond together, attempting to find answers to this mystery.

The characters are realistically portrayed. Lou's thirteen-year-old daughter, Emily, is a charmer. The author brings Lou and Emily to life at moments such as when they are playing monopoly. In reality, Lou is using the game to keep Emily occupied while he questions her about herself and her life with her mother and step-father.

How many parents don't know how to communicate with teenagers and this method of keeping a teenager active with something while asking questions is a very good lesson.

The plot is laid out nicely with some interesting surprises. I found the book entertaining and recommend it to readers who enjoy medical thrillers and good suspense.

Note: I received a copy of this novel for an honest review.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Oath of Office by Michael Palmer is a thrill ride from start to finish. It is a hybrid medical/political thriller. Usually I don't like reading novels that feature as a leading character a fictitious US president. But in this case I was able to suspend reality and become absorbed in the work.
The plot concerns the genetic engineering of our food supply and its possible effects on the consumer. In this case a corporate grower is radiating a species of African termite that is especially fecund. This increases the size of the termite and increases its reproduction cycles and most horrifically they morph into flesh eaters. The food grower extracts DNA from the termites and combines it with the DNA of the corn that they are producing thereby increasing the size of the corn and the number of ears per stalk producing " Frankencorn".

Dr. Lou Welcome notices an outbreak of erratic and sometimes criminal behavior by people who are normally rational and law abiding who live in the area where the corn is being produced. His investigation reveals that the corn is being tested and consumed in a local restaurant which explains how the toxicity is being introduced into the food supply.

There has been no investigation or approval by the FDA, and the government has brokered a deal with the company to provide a large shipment of the corn to the Chinese government along with the technology to produce it. Dr. Welcome's investigation takes him to the highest levels of the government including the Martin Mallory White House and he forms an alliance with the first lady, Darlene Mallory, who helps him stop the illegal production of the corn.
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