This past October, Lora (principal at Scratch) and I met Michael Palmer, NYT best-selling thriller author at Chili’s in Burlington. When we walked into the restaurant Michael was already seated at a table, sipping a coke, waiting for us. We exchanged hugs and joined him in cowering over the book size, laminated menu. Then, Michael introduced us to Stephanie, our waitress. That’s is the kind of guy Michael Palmer is: a person who always takes the opportunity to learn your name.
We’ve been working with Michael for almost four years now, helping him to promote his medical/political suspense novels and connect him with new fans and readers. His latest, POLITICAL SUICIDE, came out in stores and online Tuesday December 11, 2012. This is Michael’s 18th novel, and the second to feature Lou Welcome, an ER doctor and associate at the Physician’s Wellness Office, where he helps physicians cope with mental illness and addiction. In the novel, Lou finds himself entangled in a high-level murder case involving one of his clients, Gary McHugh, known around Washington D.C. as the “society doc”. Gary is accused of killing Congressman Elias Colston, husband of the woman with whom Gary was having an affair.
If I heard that the guy formally sleeping with the congressman’s wife was found near the scene of the murder, I’d think he was guilty. But, this is a book of mystery and suspense, so not surprisingly—there’s another story lurking beneath the surface. Lou, being the nice guy that he is, offers to help prove Gary innocent, and inadvertently unravels a high-level government conspiracy involving the top dogs at the Department of Defense–a group that the late-congressman had worked hard to cut federal funding from.
Michael is very familiar with the world he writes about: the buzzing of the hospital waiting rooms, the fatigue that comes when working through the early morning hours. He is a practicing physician himself. After spending 20 years working in emergency and internal medicine, Michael now holds a similar position as his book’s hero at the Massachusetts Medical Society’s physician’s health program, helping doctors cope with the demands of medicine in healthy and balanced ways.
Michael got the idea for the book after reading an opinion piece that a friend sent him exploring the possibility that suicide bombers had something chemically altered in their brain that kept them from feeling and following through with the most basic human instinct: self preservation. In Political Suicide, Michael explores what could happen if we were able to rid ourselves of fear, and ethical implications surrounding it. In reading, we are reminded of what is core to our humanity, and how oftentimes those qualities are brushed aside as flaws. Political Suicide proves that bravery is not a blind willingness to give everything up, but the strength to make decisions, move forward, and draw conclusions in gray and uncertain circumstances.
Saying anymore would give away the story—so I’ll just let you go read it. Michael will make a few appearances in the Boston area in the coming weeks, including one at the Brookline Booksmith on Tuesday, January 8th with his son and thriller author, Daniel Palmer. There will be snacks, wine and musical instruments. Hope you can join us.