Top positive review
42 people found this helpful
on February 16, 2010
In "Last Surgeon," Michael Palmer tells the story of Nick Garrity, a trauma surgeon suffering from post traumatic stress disorder, otherwise known as PTSD. Following the horrific events of 9/11, Garrity volunteers to serve in Afghanistan, only to nearly lose his life in the process--when a trusted local running a medical clinic orchestrates an explosion that takes the life of many Americans, including Garrity's fiancée Sarah.
The only ones to survive this tragedy are Nick Garrity and staff sergeant Umberto Vasquez, who miraculously saves Nick's life. Fast forward years later and life is never the same. Garrity quits his private practice, teams up with a cheerful nurse called Junie, and starts running a mobile charity clinic called Helping Hands, giving medical treatments to the poor and the homeless in the Baltimore and Washington D.C. areas, while trying to help other vets suffering from PTSD gain benefits.
His peaceful life is disrupted with the arrival of nurse Jillian Coates, whose sister Belle, also a practicing nurse, dies in suspicious circumstances. Her death is made to look like suicide--a simple overdose of sleeping pills, but Jillian believes otherwise. She sees a suspicious stack of comic books hidden in Belle's apartment, all focused on the character Nick Fury. Jillian locates Dr. Nick Garrity, when she finds out that Nick Fury was his military nickname and suspects Belle's death is somehow related to him.
Meanwhile, Nick is growing concerned with the disappearance of Umberto Vasquez, who, after returning from Afghanistan, turns into an alcoholic and mysteriously disappears after agreeing to take on a special military mission. Nick learns of a man called Manny Ferris, who also disappeared after agreeing to participate in a similar mission--only to re-appear, looking horribly disfigured and mentally brainwashed--unable to provide Nick with any useful information about Umberto or the mission itself.
While this is taking place, Franz Koller, a hired killer who works a substitute teacher in his spare time, continues to kill various doctors who work in the same hospital as Belle. Master of the non-kill, as well as of disguises, he makes his grizzly murders look like natural deaths, while receiving handsome payments from his employer who boasts ties all the way to the White House.
Trying to connect the dots between all of the above events, Nick and Jillian begin running out of time and ultimately turn into Koller's targets.
Overall, I really enjoyed the plot. This is my first Palmer book, so I wasn't sure what to expect. For starters, this book is as much a mystery as a thriller. Readers are not merely led into various action sequences, but are left to piece everything together for a shocking final revelation. I also enjoyed the characters, especially Franz Koller, who is an impressive villain.
The writing itself, while full of medical terminology--not surprising given Palmer's expertise in the area--adds a lot of realism to the story. Given the dishonesty of politics, I was left wondering if something like this could actually happen in real life. Recommended for not only mystery-lovers, but any reader looking for an entertaining read.