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Publisher's Summary

From The Sisterhood, Michael Palmer's first New York Times best seller, to The Patient, his ninth, reviewers have proclaimed him a master of medical suspense. Recognized around the world for original, topical, nail-biting suspense, emergency physician Palmer's work has been translated into more than 35 languages. Now he reaches controversial and startling new heights in a terrifying tale of cutting-edge microbiology, unbridled greed, and murder, where either knowing too little or trusting too much can be FATAL.

In Chicago, a pregnant cafeteria worker suffering nothing more malevolent than flu-like symptoms begins hemorrhaging from every part of her body. In Boston, a brilliant musician, her face disfigured by an unknown disease, rapidly descends into a lethal paranoia. In Belinda, West Virginia, a miner suddenly goes berserk, causing a cave-in that kills two of his co-workers. Finding the link between these events could prove FATAL. 

Five years ago, internist and emergency specialist Matt Rutledge returned to his West Virginia home to marry his high-school sweetheart and open a practice. He also had a score to settle. His father died while working for the Belinda Coal and Coke Company, and Matt swore to expose the mine’s health and safety violations. When his beloved Ginny succumbed to an unusual cancer, his campaign became even more bitterly personal. Now Matt has identified two bizarre cases of what he has dubbed the Belinda Syndrome - caused, he is certain, by the mine’s careless disposal of toxic chemicals. All he needs is proof. 

Meanwhile, two women, unknown to one another, are drawn inexorably to Belinda, into Matt’s life - and into mortal danger. Massachusetts coroner Nikki Solari comes to attend the funeral of her roommate, killed violently on a Boston street. Ellen Kroft, a retired schoolteacher from Maryland, seeks the remorseless killer who has threatened to destroy her and her family. 

Three strangers - Rutledge, Solari, and Kroft - each hold one piece of a puzzle they must solve, and solve quickly. If they don’t, it will be far more than just their own lives that are at risk. 

Michael Palmer has crafted a novel of breathtaking speed and medical intricacy where nothing is as it seems and one false step could be FATAL. 

©2002 Michael Palmer (P)2002 Books on Tape, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"[Palmer's] most riveting book yet, leaving hardly enough time to take a breath." (Denver Post)

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What listeners say about Fatal

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

A great audiobook by my favortie medical author!

Palmer has long been my favorite author in the medical thriller genre. "Fatal" was one of the few books I had not yet read. I was happy to find the unabridged version on Audible (I hate abridged audiobooks).
"Fatal" did not disappoint. The interplay between the characters, the medical and political corruption, and the seemingly insurmountable challenge faced by the hero... this is classic Palmer. I've read most of his other books (paperbacks), and this is my first audiobook by Palmer I've listened to. The narrator did a very good job, I have no complaints. He carried the story along very nicely.
It's a great story, about a corrupt coal mine and a killer vaccine. Sort of two sub-plots that play along side by side. The author keeps both stories moving nicely till they intersect at the end.
I loved this audiobook, but I'm disappointed that his other audiobooks available are all abridged versions.
The "Extreme Measures" audiobook is only 3 hours? Give me a break!
Please audible, release more unabridged Palmer books!

11 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Fast-Paced, Believable

This was a great book! I always listen to these books on the way back and forth to work. There were a number of times I sat in the van listening for just a couple more minutes before I could stand to turn it off. If this was a "regular" book, I'd say it was a real "page-turner"!

8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Excellant

I enjoyed this book by Michael Palmer,and give it a 10+ rating. It kept my interest with plenty of twists and turns in the plot. Anyone whom enjoys Medical related mysteries will enjoy this novel.

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Far-fetched, but just try to put it down

Doctors, coroners, miners, moonshiners, bikers, a statistician, pharmaceutical companies, a grandmother involved in vaccination issues, and the president's wife -- these lives are bound to come together at some point, don't you think? And what in the world can toxic chemicals from a mining operation have to do with vaccinations and yet another virus with African origins? Michael Palmer does his usual masterful job of weaving all these threads into a fasicinating action thriller. So it's totally unrealistic: it's a great read/listen.

And, for the record, the arguments for and against mandatory immunizations are thought-provoking and reasonably balanced.

As for the recording, Palmer does a very nice job on the reading.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Great Narrator

This was my first Michael Palmer book and I really enjoyed it a lot. I Liked the different stories that all come together in the end. The plot was great and the narrator did a fabulous job. I really enjoyed his narration. I've listened to books were the book was great but the narrator ruins it all. It was not the case with this one. A great book plus great narration.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

I wish I could UN-read this book

Book: I bought this because of the good reviews. BIG mistake. I have no idea what the others saw in this novel, but I think reading it caused me to lose brain cells. I wish I could UN-read this book.

Our hero, Dr. Matt Rutledge (Harvard), is as about bright as a box of coal. He spends much time not paying a lick of attention to his newfound girlfriend Dr I forget her name, (Yale) who IS very bright, but, I suppose, because she is a mere female, does not warrant his serious attention (other than THAT attention).

He thus does one dumb thing after the other until the reader wants to just grab him and slap him silly.

The author attempts to weave multiple sub-plots which all come together toward the end... in a cave... where we find all these stray ends (characters) miraculously alive and waiting for the book to end. Umm... Not. They did not work as sub-plots and the way the author weaves them together at the end requires the reader to just set aside ALL logic and just "believe" that this could happen. If you just have to read this, at least turn off one hemisphere of your brain to make it more enjoyable. Contrived and believable only if you have never read a real medical thriller. Grade 1 STAR - only because ZERO was not available.

READER: Average at best... couple of good characterizations... Makes no difference anyway as this book could not be made good regardless of reader. GRADE C

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6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Took awhile to warm up to voice

Where does Fatal rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

It was good but almost quit at beginning because of reader's voice

What was one of the most memorable moments of Fatal?

As I tried to figure out who the "main evil boss" was I thought I was right and was sort of surprised and saddened that I was!

Did Michael Palmer do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?

I really was grateful that his descriptions helped me to totally keep the characters straight.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

Unknown

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

amazing read

loved it too pieces and didn't want to stop listening! a knock-out. I will listen 🎶 to another.



  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Awesome Fast Paced Storyline

I really enjoyed the storyline, it could have been a movie!
Dr. Matt Rutledge is a doctor in Belinda, West Virginia and he has been investigating chemical treatment site.
Dr. Nikki Solari is a Boston doctor of Pathology and her friend is from W. Virginia. After awhile her friends behavior and physical appearance changes horribly.
This book have three strangers who unknowingly have something in common.
Such a suspenseful, mystery, and action filled book!
I love medical thrillers and this was such a great listen! 🎧

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Big Government at It's Most Greedy

In true Clancy style, multiple story lines keeping the reader totally enthralled. A must read.