The Fifth Vial by Michael Palmer, 2007, Published by St. Martin's Paperbacks, 544 Pages
Natalie Reyes has a chip on her shoulder. She’s had a tough life and worked hard to get herself, against all odds, to Harvard Medical School. But her efforts are thwarted when she is suspended from school. With time before her reinstatement, her mentor sends her to Rio de Janeiro Brazil to present a medical paper. There, Natalie is kidnapped, shot trying to escape, and left for dead in an alley. She survives, but loses a lung. And now, all her dreams are shattered.
Halfway around the world, medical genius Joe Anson is working on a serum that could save millions of lives…if only he can battle a fatal illness long enough to complete his research. Brilliant and paranoid, Anson is running out of time. And those watching from the shadows will stop at nothing to see him succeed.
In Chicago, detective Ben Callahan is hired to find the identity of a dead man with mysterious marks on his body. One lucky break could lead Ben into a conspiracy bigger than just a missing person and a mysterious accident.
Three people, with no apparent connection. Three people who don’t realize they hold the key to a secret society with God-like aspirations and roots in antiquity. Three people who will learn the meaning of trust and betrayal, power and genius, lies and truth, in a world where everything is give or take.
Another amazing book written by Michael Palmer. I am a huge fan and he did not disappoint in this fast paced medical thriller. One of the things I like most about Michael Palmer is his ability to really make you think and consider medical issues. It certainly made me want to check out the information regarding organ donation which he included at the end of the book. This provided a wealth of information and was very enlightening.
Unbeknownst to millions of patients, when they are having bloods drawn, there is a Fifth Vial being used for tissue typing. The “guardians” are basically acting as God and deciding who lives and who dies. There are important individuals who require various organs (some lungs, some heart, etc), then the group tries to find a 12 point match from the samples which were collected. The evil twist is that the donors are not willing participants and placed into a category depending on their importance and contribution to society. The group kidnaps the donors and most times kill them after the procedure has been completed and the transplant has been a success.
I loved the heroine in the story, Natalie Reyes, who is a medical student and whose lung is taken without permission. She is very spunky, a well-disciplined athlete and very intelligent doctor.
Ben Callahan, the PI hired by an organ trafficking watchdog group uncovers this deadly, macabre plot that is being conducted. He is a great hero and I love his determination.
I could not put this book down and really enjoyed it cover to cover. A must read!!!
Rating 4.5 out of 5