The Fifth Vial


The Fifth VialSo this novel is a medical thriller, which doesn’t necessarily mean that all the action takes place in an ER or an ambulance.  Are doctors involved?  Usually.  They can be the culprits or the victims, and there are usually details of gory stuff—it is medical, after all!  For most men, this is not a big deal, but I thought I might get squeamish when I read the synopsis of this book.  After I read Palmer’s work for the first time, however, I had to admit it was quite thrilling indeed.  What could be more scary than waking up in a hospital, realizing that you have given one of your organs involuntarily?  Yup.  This story is about organ trafficking and how people are kidnapped for their organs against their will.  Things get tense real fast and the suspense keeps building as we are led to the maniac who has plotted the whole crime.  In the end, we wonder whether his extreme measures might be understandable, yet completely wrong.  There is an eeriness to it all, but it sure gets your heart pacing.  You feel so much dread as you read about the helpess patients who succumb to the surgical knife.  It sure would make for a good movie.  As in most movies, the bad guy does get stopped in the novel by the end, but at what cost?  Read it and find out!

HisLit title read-alikes:
If you want to read other books just like this one, here are some titles that are similar.
Seizure by Robin Cook
The Select by F. Paul Wilson
Of Flesh and Blood by Daniel Kalla

HisLit author read-alikes:
If you are a fan of Micahel Palmer’s writing style or you like medical thrillers in general, here are Novelist’s recommendations of authors that write like him:
-Joshua Spanogle (He writes complex, suspenseful, and intelligent medical thrillers in which the characters are well drawn. He often adds commentary on the state of the medical profession, as well.  Start with Isolation Ward.)
-Robin Cook (If you like fast-paced and suspenseful Medical stories and Suspense stories for adults featuring Physicians, you might like Cook.  He is the next well known male medical thriller writer.  Start with Coma.)
-David Carnoy (He writes fast-paced, suspenseful, and compelling books of Medical suspense stories and Suspense stories for adults in which Murder is a main topic. Read Knife Music.)

Read any of these medical suspense books and you might even learn some terms and get to know more about the laws of certain practices.  Just don’t go thinking you’re ready to be a doctor—unless you are, of course  🙂

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