Thursday, February 14, 2013

Audiobook Review and GIVEAWAY!: Political Suicide by Michael Palmer

Title: Political Suicide
Author: Michael Palmer
Publisher: Macmillan Audio
Publication Date: December 11, 2012
Source: copy received from the publisher for an honest review

Plot Summary from Goodreads

In Political Suicide, Michael Palmer delivers another gripping thriller at the crossroads of politics and medicine.  Dr. Lou Welcome, from Palmer's New York Times bestselling Oath of Office, is back in this heart stopping medical thriller. A desperate phone call embroils Lou in scandal and murder involving Dr. Gary McHugh, known around the Capital as the “society doc.” Lou has been supervising McHugh, formerly a black-out drinker, through his work with the Physician Wellness Office.  McHugh has been very cavalier about his recovery, barely attending AA and refusing a sponsor. But Lou sees progress, and the two men are becoming friends. Now, McHugh has been found unconscious in his wrecked car after visiting a patient of his, the powerful Congressman Elias Colston, Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee. Soon after McHugh awakens in the hospital ER, Colston's wife returns home to find her husband shot dead in their garage. She then admits to the police that she had just broken off a long-standing affair with McHugh.

Something about McHugh's story has Lou believing he is telling the truth, that the Congressman was dead when he arrived and before he blacked out. Lou agrees to look into matters, but when he encounters motive, method and opportunity he is hard pressed to believe in his friend—that is until a deadly high-level conspiracy begins to unravel, and Lou acquires information that makes him the next target.

My Review:

I feel split about this audiobook; there were some elements that I really enjoyed, and others that left me feeling a bit "meh".  As with most thrillers, the best part was just trying to untangle the mystery that was at the heart of the novel.  If McHugh didn't kill Colston, then who did?  What was their motive?  And what does the ambiguous prologue (set in the Middle East) have to do with the seemingly-unrelated events happening in Washington?

Palmer does a great job unfolding this maze bit by bit, and I found the final answers to be both intriguing and highly relevant (given modern-day relations between the US and Afghanistan).  The suspense was excellent (especially for an audiobook--made my commutes go by quickly!), and I liked the last twist that was tacked on regarding Colston's true murderer.  Definitely didn't see that coming.  Plus, the ending leaves the door open for future adventures with Dr. Welcome and company.

However, as I said before, there were a few things about this book that left me a tad unsatisfied.  First is the method of Dr. Welcome's involvement.  I found myself highly skeptical of the way that he, as a person completely unaffiliated with the law or the military, was able to jump into the investigation just because he was McHugh's friend.  Related to that, he was oddly able to get himself out of an awful lot of dangerous mishaps, without any real combat training (days at the local gym notwithstanding).  The first few incidents like this got a pass, but after a while, it became a bit much.  I am unfamiliar with Welcome's appearance in Palmer's previous novel (Oath of Office), so maybe readers of that book could give him more credence, but...I just had a hard time with the plausibility of many of his escapades.

The other issue I had was the relationship between Lou and Sarah.  Their budding romance felt unnecessary to the plot, perhaps a bit forced.  Not to mention that their dialogue was incredibly high in the cheese-factor.  Was this connection a detail meant to bring in the female readers?  Tough to say, but as a female reader, I know I could have done without it.

Overall though, I'd say if you're a fan of thrillers, this one is worth a shot.  It's more political/conspiracy thriller than medical thriller, but there are some interesting scientific elements to it as well.  And the audiobook narrator (Robert Petkoff) is fantastic--the perfect voice for a suspenseful tale!  His tone heightens the excitement with every new twist that's unveiled.

Want to see for yourself?  I have 2 audiobook CD copies of Political Suicide to give away!  (Consider this your Happy Valentine's Day, my lovely readers!)

One copy is very lightly used (by me, for this reading), and the other is brand new (still in the wrapper).  Much thanks to Macmillan Audio for providing them!

To enter, just fill out the Rafflecopter below.  Giveaway ends February 20, US entrants only please.  Good luck!!
a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. I listed to Poison Princess....WOW...that was intense and dark!!
    gfc Insane About Books

  2. Thanks Michele, I'll have to check that one out!


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