The Fifth Vial Author:Michael Palmer In Boston, a disgraced medical student is sent to deliver a research paper that could save her career. In a hospital four thousand miles away, a reclusive scientist, dying from an incurable disease that threatens to make each tortured breath his last, is on the verge of perfecting a serum that could save millions of lives -- and bring others ine... more »stimable wealth. In Chicago, a disillusioned detective is hired to determine the identity of a John Doe, killed on a Florida highway, with mysterious marks on his body.
Three seemingly disconnected lives, surging unrelentingly toward one another -- and linked forever by THE FIFTH VIAL.« less
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Incredibly chilling because the scenario is entirely possible in today's world. An excellent example of Palmer's best writing and intimate knowledge of the medical thriller as relate to the every day life of each of us.
The Fifth Vial had such promise when I first started reading it, but soon (after about 10 chapters) I found myself wanting to edit it rather than enjoy reading it. Michael Palmer (author) may have the title of M.D. going for him helping him write (for the most part) believable medical scenarios, but that's about it.
The dialogue is just laughable. Here is an example - a very serious sentimental talk two people are having - "Hey thanks. Thanks for believing in me man." "No problem." "You going to finish your food...?" Or better yet - a stressful situation where one character is threatening to kill - "I will kill innocent people if you don't help me." "But-" "Seriously I will even hurt someone you like." "What are you?" "A serious man. Are you in?" "Whatever."
There are multiple redundant phrases- "He gave a look, that everyone knew was confusing, because he was confused."
Or if two women got together to talk - "They soon got to talking about life, love, and their futures."
Palmer would keep the book moving relatively quickly but every once in a while he would have to stop and describe something. In vivid and annoying detail. By the end of the book it was like watching multiple trains colliding. You just keep thinking to yourself - "How is it possible to make this book any more terrible?" And he does something else. That makes it more terrible - two of the main characters are in love, but their futures look bleak :( But oh wait! I can solve this! I shall kill the smartest character I have to help one of them!! It's genius!!!
Better yet, at the end of the book in his Author's Note he writes "My goal in writing suspense is first and foremost to entertain my readers and transport them, however transiently, from the stresses and cares of their lives to highly stylized world of the novel." So let me get this straight, you're taking me away from my stressful world, to put me in your much more stressful world of death and medical horror. Gee thanks Doc! "My secondary goals are to inform and present, without resolution, issues of social and ethical importance." Yeah, he FAILED on the part of "without resolution." The whole book was about "unethical organ trade" where multiple characters incessantly whined about how wrong it was. Not to mention there was actual resolution of the stopping of the organ trade.
Read this book, if you want a good laugh. But seriously, don't for once think that because it has "THE SENSATIONAL NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER" on it that it will be, even remotely, thought provoking.
I borrowed this book from a friend and thoroughly enjoyed it. Being a nurse, I felt the medical parts were accurate enough while not overwhelming. The plot was a little over the top, but isn't that what makes a thriller so enthralling?