Resistant by Michael Palmer



Pros: intriguing medical thriller

Cons: too long, too political

It’s been a long time since a book completely captured me.  But Michael Palmer’s Resistant did it.  A medical/political thriller that I could definitely see being made into a movie.  Yes, it was that interesting.  Was it perfect?  No.  But it definitely renewed my faith that a medical drama can be somewhat “different” and still excite me.

We get the story from two completely different points of view.  We get inside the minds of a group of fanatics.  They call themselves the 100 Neighbors and they have a mission.  Threaten/blackmail the U.S. government.  The group wants change and they want it now.  And they’re willing to sacrifice plenty of innocents for the greater good (or at least the greater good as they see it).  Their weapon of choice – a super bacteria.  So infectious, it completely decimates the host’s body.  And the cure – the group has it, and they’ll give it up, once the government gives in to their demands.  But something’s gone wrong… very wrong… the cure doesn’t work.

The we have the story from Dr. Lou Welcome’s point of view.  Dr. Lou is a recurring character in many of Palmer’s books.  He’s a recovering addict, a teacher, and an E.R. doctor.  He gets dragged into this mess in the worst way possible – his friend has contracted the bacteria.

That’s the short description.  There is more.  So much more.  But suffice it to say, the story was fascinating.  We meet a lot of characters who are well-developed, likeable, and bring their own point of view to the story.  There’s tons of action, and plenty of suspense.

So why do I say it’s not perfect?  It’s too long, with drawn-out passages that tried my patience.  Further, there’s a political bent to the story that’s hardly gentle.  Palmer used the “hit ’em over the head” mentality to let us know just how he feels.  His preaching was extreme, and I would have preferred subtlety.

Still, overall, give Resistant a try, if you enjoy medical thrillers.  It’s “different” and delivers quite a fascinating ride.

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