The First Patient, by Michael Palmer

Cover ImageFinished 3-10-08, rating 3/5, fiction, pub. 2008

“An exciting thriller…full of surprises; captures the intense atmosphere of the White House.”—President Bill Clinton

This is the sticker affixed to the cover of my book and the President should know about the intensity of the White House.  This book is first and foremost a page-turner, but it is also a glimpse into the Washington political scene and to a lesser and more scary degree, nanotechnology.

I picked up the book because of its premise.  What would happen if the President of the United States was going insane (some would argue this has happened to more than one President already, but we won’t get into that here)?  Who would decide and could they hide it from the public?  Well, Dr. Gabe Singleton is called by his old college roommate and asked to serve as the President’s personal doctor.  Once in DC Gabe is confronted by the startling possibility that the President is not going mad, but being drugged. 

The book provides a look at the inner-workings of the White House medical team and those who have access to the President.  The 25th Amendment, or the succession amendment, also plays a big role in the book.   I feel I know a little more about the White House and that’s a good thing.

On the scientific front there is the cutting edge technology of nanoscience.  Much of the detail was lost on me, but the horrifying image of two functioning brains in jars being probed and studied was disturbing. 

I liked the book.  There was an interesting plot, lots of suspects, a few surprises, and a love connection.  That said, it might have been better.  The past history between the President and Gabe seemed a bit contrived.  A successful Doctor nearing 50 should have more of his demons under control, but, hey, maybe I’m just an optimist 🙂