Friday, January 20, 2012

Oath of Office by Michael Palmer

Oath of Office by Michael Palmer ISBN 978-0-312-58753-6 Being Published in February 2012! It will be available as hardcover, Kindle and as an audio book on CD.

I was thrilled to get a chance to review this book before publication as I am a huge Michael Palmer fan! My first comment on getting to read this advanced reading copy of this great book is how wonderful it was to read an ARC without a bazillion spelling and other type errors. The book read well so I had nothing to distract me from reading and thoroughly enjoying this book.

As usual with most of Michael Palmer’s books, this book revolves around medical and political issues. In this book, it deals with genetic modification of food to increase yield and productivity, although it takes awhile in the book to figure this out. There are two main characters in the book. One is the President’s wife, Dr. Darlene Mallory, who is a pediatrician and has taken up the reigns of working to solve hunger and nutrition problems in the USA. The other being a part time ER doctor, Dr. Lou Welcome, that also works as a counselor for a Physician Wellness Organization that helps medical doctors overcome substance abuse. Dr. Welcome himself has an addiction to alcohol and had been sober for years and is now counseling other doctors. The book starts out with one of Dr. Welcome’s counselees going ‘postal’ after seeing a patient, and shoots all the patients and staff in his office and then shoots himself in the head.

Dr. Welcome rushes to the hospital where his friend has been taken to find that the staff treating him is doing so in a lackadaisical and unprofessional manner, including the neurosurgeon trying to remove the bullet in the patient’s brain in the ICU instead of the operating room. Also, an infiltrated IV lines, a respiratory technician that wasn’t careful monitoring his breathing or the respirator. Even with Dr. Welcome’s help, his friend dies. He is baffled as to why the staff had used such poor medical procedures in caring for his friend. Was it because it was a small town and they wanted him to die for what he had done or was it something deeper and stranger?

As the book continues, Dr. Welcome, keeps finding weird things going on with the people in the town where the shooting had happened including seeing a young man get his thumb chopped off while the chef was chopping carrot coins. Then discovers the young man keeps mutant termites that eat live mice for pets.

Meanwhile, the President of the United States’ wife is being contacted covertly for reason she doesn’t understand, but finds that talking to her husband about it only makes him angry, especially when speaking about the former head of the Department of Agriculture. In their trying to figure out what is going on Lou and Darlene meet and compare notes so to speak. They find that a grower has been growing and is about to export a huge amount of genetically mutated corn which the characters start to call Frankencorn as it is so different from normal corn growth both in the number of kernels in the ears and the amount of ears to a stalk of corn.

This is a thoroughly well written book about many issues that confront us today, especially the genetic work being done to increase crop yields without truly knowing how it will affect the people or animals that ingest the food. It also touches on the needs for physicians to have proper help in combating addictive behavior.  Also how politics have moved far beyond what our founding fathers would have planned for politicians to have uncontrolled power over others in our country. This was a very interesting and well-written book and I enjoyed reading it. I will be looking forward to his next book.


  1. Michael juggles all these subjects superbly, and keeps the reader turning pages--at least, that's what I did. The action is rapid, the scenario chillingly believable, and the end was unexpected but satisfying. The book occasionally makes use of a few words you didn't hear in Sunday school, but the plotting is excellent and the message of the book makes worthwhile reading.

  2. Thanks for your comment. I was so excited to get the book in the mail and I too couldn't put it down! I never can with his books.


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