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The First Patient
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Product Description

Gabe Singleton and Andrew Stoddard were once Naval Academy roommates. Today, Gabe is a country doctor and his friend Andrew has gone from war hero to governor to President of the United States. One day, while the United States is embroiled in a bitter presidential election campaign, Marine One lands on Gabe¡¯s Wyoming ranch, and President Stoddard announces that his personal physician has suddenly and mysteriously disappeared¡ªand he desperately needs Gabe to take the man¡¯s place.

Now ensconced in the White House medical office, Gabe comes to a disturbing realization: The President is not fit to run the country. Worse, Gabe uncovers evidence that his friend¡¯s illness may not be due to natural causes. Who could have administered such a blow? And why? The President¡¯s life is at stake, the safety of the world is in jeopardy, and it¡¯s up to Gabe to find the answers while time is running out¡­


Customer Reviews:

  • Excellent audio book.
    This is the best book I've listened to so far of Michael Palmer's! His work is like Robin Cook but I think I like his characters better! This book is about the Physician to the President or "First Patient"! A can't put it down, and want more book!...more info
    Stupid and absurd. Clearly should be a candidate for "The Worst" of the year.

    I can only imagine that the brain on the lab bench must have been taken from Michael Palmer himself.

    I think this is a case where Dr. Palmer should be sued for malpractice.

    Don't waste your time. ...more info
  • The first casualty is credibility
    When the premise of a novel is 'what if the President were mentally incompetent?' you have to wonder where the author has been for the last 7 years.

    Michael Palmer's latest tale is a blend of medical mystery and political thriller. The story is a throwback to the outlandish plots of James Bond and The Man from Uncle, but without the tongue-in-cheek humor. In fact, Palmer's attempts at humor are a weak point. When the President says his dog is "strong as a tiger, wise as an owl..." etc, the hero says, "Maybe you should have named him Simile" which causes the President to laugh out loud. And that's about as funny as the jokes get, I'm afraid. But the book does have action and suspense (plus a dash of pedophilia and the torture of a woman, which some readers would be more comfortable without).

    Readers of genre fiction like plenty of authenticity, as it gives them the excuse that their escapist reading is educational, and Palmer obliges with regular doses of medical facts. These do not always flow with the narrative and can be intrusive. But the writing is good enough and the story has pace and flair. This is not great literature and does not pretend to be. So if you are looking for a light read, are not perturbed by the above-mentioned torture, etc, and are prepared to believe the unbelievable, you might give this a try.
    ...more info
  • The First Patient
    First off, I would like to say that I found this a very compelling read. I know nothing of nanotechnology, but as a fiction work it seemed believable. The work seemed solid except for the "asthma attack" when giving the speech. The protocol was SO outdated it made me laugh. I mentioned this to a friend who had previously spoken to Dr. Palmer on one of the social networks. This friend dropped a note about my comments on the outdated meds to Dr. Palmer. Dr. Palmer basically said he wanted no further comments about errors and was very abrupt with my friend. This response seriously makes me consider buying another Palmer book. I did, however, finish this book and enjoyed it, but the holier than thou attitude has turned me off towards Mr. Palmer. ...more info
  • Excellent read
    I thoroughly enjoyed this book! I thought it gave enough details to make you understand the concepts - i.e. nanotechnology without getting bogged down. The story line was "scarily" believable. As a nurse and avid reader I found this book accurate in its medical technology and description and exciting enough to not let me put it down during my days off. Definatly worth the read and a good example of a medical mystery/thriller....more info
  • Another Dr. Palmer Hit
    This was an I couldn't put it down 2 session read. If you enjoy medical mystery/thrillers this is a must read. If you just read for escape and entertainment value (like I do), this is still a must read. Well developed characters, insight into presidential security, and of course nanotechnology. The story was in the end believable, with all the twists and turns that make for a great read. Well done Dr. Palmer. Looking forward to next year and a new 1st edition to add to my personal library.

    ...more info
  • Recommended by Bill Clinton?
    I purchased this book in the airport to read while traveling and wish I had had a chance to look at some reviews first. Where to begin?

    The writing seems unedited. The clues to the "mystery" are consistently over emphasized from chapter to chapter leaving very little thrill to the conclusion. The characters are difficult to get behind because they are written as shallow, unintelligent, self-important people with no apparent competence in their given fields. The final blow for me was the plot devices that continued the story. It's difficult to imagine that a person brought in to be the President's physician would not be given training in protocol (beyond a hackneyed threat to "memorize" the 25th Amendment) and be thoroughly investigated related to their past. It was also unbelievable that any doctor, much less the President's wouldn't think to have complete control over any medications their patient was taking when bizarre symptoms and reactions begin to occur.

    Please don't waste your money on this book. If you just can't walk away, borrow it from the library and save 6$....more info
  • Doctor in the (White) House
    Mildly diverting and agreeably fast-paced thriller with a smart premise is done in by seriously pedestrian writing. And as soon as one of the big plot points is introduced in the opening pages you know exactly what the truth behind it is. ...more info
  • Michael Palmer's First Patient Is A Page Turner
    Several years ago, I stumbled across some very enjoyable books by Michael Palmer. By "several," I mean over ten years ago. If I remember correctly, the books were Flashback, Silent Treatment, Extreme Measures, The Sisterhood, and Natural Causes. It has been several years since I've ventured into the pages of a Michael Palmer book, and I have recently discovered just what I have been missing during that time.

    In The First Patient, Palmer weaves an incredibly insightful tale that combines his unique medical suspense thrillers with the political thrillers that have become so popular. From the cover:
    Gabe Singleton and Andrew Stoddard were roommates at the Naval Academy in Annapolis years ago. Today, Gabe is a country doctor and his friend Andrew has gone from war hero to governor to President of the United States.

    One day, while the United States is embroiled in a bitter presidential election campaign, Marine One lands on Gabe's Wyoming ranch, and President Stoddard delivers a disturbing revelation and a startling request. His personal physician has suddenly and mysteriously disappeared, and he desperately needs Gabe to take the man's place. Despite serious misgivings, Gabe agrees to come to Washington.

    It is not until he is ensconced in the White House medical office that Gabe realizes there is strong evidence that the President is going insane. Facing a crisis of conscience --- as President Stoddard's physician, he has the power to invoke the Twenty-fifth Amendment to transfer presidential power to the Vice President --- Gabe uncovers increasing evidence that his friend's condition may not be due to natural causes.

    Who? Why? And how? The President's life is at stake. A small-town doctor suddenly finds himself in the most powerful position on earth, and the safety of the world is in jeopardy. Gabe Singleton must find the answers, and the clock is ticking. . . .
    Michael Palmer tells a tale that could so easily be true that it's frightening. In a world where the next great threat could be lurking around any corner, it would be no surprise to see a terrorist mastermind target the President directly. But Palmer takes the story to the next level, throwing one shocker after another at the reader. This story never gets dull. This story never gets predictable.

    Needless to say, it won't be another ten years before I pick up my next Michael Palmer book.

    Jeff Cole is an author, blogger, and podcaster. info
  • I'm Probably Going to be Reading More Palmer

    Michael Palmer investigates and develops a horrifying and electrifying plot in The First Patient.

    Though this is my first Michael Palmer novel, and though I am not a huge fan of political fiction, I found myself turning pages like mad and losing sleep. I developed the "one more chapter" syndrome a hundred or so pages into the 350+ page plus novel.

    The strengths in this story are the intriguing plot and the behind the scenes "sneak" into the most powerful office in the United States. Palmer's medical knowledge made it more interesting to me, however, I tend to love medical thrillers since my day job is in a clinic.

    The weaknesses within The First Patient were in the too quick romantic interest for Gabe, a slower beginning, and a slightly rushed conclusion. I did guess the most evil of all evil characters and I'm not usually great at uncovering clues, so there may have been a red herring issue that didn't ring true for me. If you usually guess correctly, you may find that true for you also.

    If you love thrillers with a bit of romance and a lot of peril, you might want to look further into The First Patient. Sensitive souls may want to opt out because there is a horror element and a seriously nasty secret life for one of the characters. If you are a Palmer fan, I'm sure you won't be disappointed. ...more info
  • Easy Read
    If you like an easy read for pure entertainment this is it. of course, i'm a michael palmer fan. i like uncomplicated thrillers for bedtime reading--not a story to make one ZZZZZZ, but light enough to ease into dreamland. i thought this was a clever story and i love the cowboy character. after i read this i went on-line and picked up the other m.palmer novels i had not read over the years. sadly none has yet been quite as good a read as "First Patient"....more info
  • Type of book you'll ignore the airplane movie to read.
    I confess I'm a sucker for unique thriller concepts, particularly when they involve the white house and president. This one - someone is trying to hurt the president - and he brings in his old friend to be his personal Doctor to protect him - was just that. And Michael Palmer executes upon it wonderfully. Tying in clever dialogue, nano-technology (something those Chrichton fans will remember from a more thorough look in his novelPrey) a few secrets, plenty of twist and of course plenty of potential enemies - this is a thoroughly enjoyable, thriller.

    Fast-paced, twists and turns and a big-over-the-top ending (some may find way over the top - I did, but it didn't make the novel any less enjoyable to me.) wrap the whole thing up.

    For those that like deep complex character development and tragedy - this isn't the book for you. For those that usually enjoy Robin Cook or are a previous fan of Michael Palmer - you won't be dissappointed....more info
  • Oh Please
    This was my first time reading this author and it may be my last. I thought the book was one of fiction but it was more like science fiction and not even a little believable. The main character was grating in his guilt, his girlfriend endures more than any human being could and turns out to be just fine, and on and on. Please.....This is just silly stuff and I don't think little things can enter our brain, or that of the President and we can be controlled by others in this way....just not believable. Save your money....more info
  • Political dirty tricks
    This is one of those novels that starts out making vague references to past events. Perhaps a well written prelude would have been in order (something with the man in prison). As it is, you are fed information about the past in a somewhat piecemeal manner as the story progresses. It is an interesting story. Other reviews cover the details. The plot does have some surprises.

    A presidential election is at stake, and various people have their own agendas. The plot is a stretch at a few points. How do you kidnap someone from the white house? Don't they have log-in and log-out books. Except for a few unanswered questions, the overall plot is interesting enough as a thriller. There is an intriguing method for carrying out murders by remote control. So, four stars....more info
  • A great spin to take you away!
    We read for many reasons. Those who have left rather stinging remarks in their reviews have valid comments. They are perhaps reading for information or enlightenment. Yet, there are other readers who read to escape the routine of their life. They want to fall in love, have an adventure and solve a case, all within the cover of a book. Yes, the plot is rather far fetched but so is Harry Potter and look how many copies it sold! I tend to bristle at technical readers who do not stick to technical media. The categories is NON-FICTION! Dan Brown has received similar comments about his writing. This comments are unfortunate as they may influence an uniformed reader to not purchase Books that are entertaining and escapist. A book that is realistic is called a textbook. They cost ten times what these wonderful little novels do and sell far fewer copies.

    All this being said, I feel First Patient has many merits. It has a clever plot. The reader is taken through several twists and is given the surprise ending that thrills us all.

    Michael Palmer created some likable characters which are important for our transference into the plot. I think one of the biggest problems a writer faces is creating characters and scenes that are transferring while staying within the confines of what a publisher feels is a marketable length.

    I most most impressed by who the villain was. Often, I am ready to put a book aside within the first 50 pages because the writer has given me too much information and I am not inclined to read any further. This was not the case in First Patient.

    Anyone wishing to take a small weekend adventure that doesn't use any gasoline or create a motel bill will be satisfied by their First Patient experience....more info
  • An Entertaining Novel
    'The First Patient' is a political/medical thriller this is sure to entertain.

    It features Andrew Stoddard, as the president of the United States. His personal physician has disappeared. In the aftermath, Stoddard pays a visit to his old Naval Academy classmate, Dr. Gabe Singleton. Stoddard wants Singleton to go to Washington and replace the missing doctor. After he arrives, he finds out that the president has had several episodes of very bizarre behavior and wonders if he is 'losing it'. It appears that someone close to the president may be harming him.

    The basic plot has tons of potential. It is a fascinating and frightening scenario - that the person in control of the American nuclear arsenal among other things may be mentally unstable. Although Michael Palmer made it an exciting tale, he did it while including some highly implausible parts. Granted, that happens often in fiction, but some of these episodes are a bit too far over the top.

    Also, the author seems to have some misunderstanding of the way the 25th amendment works. He makes it sound like the chief executive's doctor is the one who determines whether a president should be removed from power. Although the physician would undoubtedly be consulted, that power is clearly not in his hands.

    In spite of the unrealistic parts and the misstatement of the way the Constitution works, this is a highly entertaining novel. It is a page turner from start to finish. I recommend it....more info
  • Doctor in the (White) House
    The President's physician disappears. He recruits an old friend who is tormented by demons from his past as the replacement. Our hero, the replacement MD, discovers that the President is suffering from inexplicable, debilitating seizures that are hidden from the public. With the help of a female Secret Service Agent (romantic interest), the replacement MD gets to the bottom of a terrifying conspiracy involving nano-technology. There are many plot twists and turns including some very nice misdirection. The villains are hateful. The MD's heroics against highly trained killers are entertaining, if implausible. The final plot twist is as surprising as the identity of the chief plotter. Entertaining. A good airport book....more info
  • Outstanding!
    As a student of presidential history, I've read many novels, fact and fiction. This book by Palmer is simply the best! There have been two books in ten years that I simply couldn't put down and had to read from start to finish. First Patient is one of them. While it will no doubt be made into a movie soon, it will not do the book justice. What a treat!...more info
  • Could have been better
    The idea of a story of a doctor to a president is a superior story line with lots of promise. Unfortunately, this book doesn't live up to the ultimate promises of the story line possibilities.

    Having said that, I enjoyed the book. While not an avid fiction reader, this was rather exciting in a unique way. But, as another reviewer says, it gets a bit too "weird" and I am turned off by that. Some readers may not be.

    -Susanna K. Hutcheson...more info
  • I'm glad to I bought it
    This is the first book I've read of this author. I actually found this book to be enjoyable. I look forward for more of his work....more info
  • The First Patient
    This was a page-turner for me. I identified with the writer from the first page to the last, and the twists and turns in the book kept me
    interested throughout, inspiring me to look back to the beginning often....more info
  • High concept, medium intelligence, low originality
    In the early days of American history, the relative weakness of the presidency limited the possibility of harm coming from a physically or mentally impaired executive. As the office became more powerful, it was more essential to have the means to replace a president who was not capable of holding the office, leading to the eventual existence of the 25th Amendment to the Constitution. In practice, this Amendment has never been used, even in a case like Ronald Reagan, who was likely in the early stages of Alzheimer's in his late presidency; there are big risks in even attempting it, as it could appear to be a thinly cloaked coup.

    This Amendment is at the heart of Michael Palmer's political thriller The First Patient. Gabe Singleton is a middle-aged rural doctor who also happens to be a good friend to President Andrew Stoddard. When Stoddard's personal physician disappears, Gabe is recruited to take his place. It doesn't take long for Gabe to learn that Stoddard is having incidents of hallucinations that have no apparent explanation.

    Gabe is in an awkward position: he can unseat Stoddard if he signs off on the president's mental problems. Complicating matters is that it is an election year, and even rumors of troubles can spell defeat. Furthermore, there are indications that Stoddard's illness may not be natural but rather induced. Gabe has other problems too: he is something of a pain killer addict and is still haunted by an accident that occurred in his college years; what's worse, someone is trying to kill him, making it likely that his predecessor's disappearance is no accident.

    What you get out of The First Patient will depend a lot on what you bring into it. If you don't read many thrillers, you'll probably find this to be a nicely entertaining novel. On the other hand, if you are a big fan of the genre (like myself), you'll probably find this book only passable. Most of the characters is pretty standard (which is to say neither good nor bad), the villain is not all that interesting, the plot is riddled with implausibilities (when was the last time that the president's doctor ever became a mini-celebrity?) and any veteran suspense reader will pick up on the big plot twist (which most of these books have) long before it is revealed. So if you find my plot summary intriguing and you fit in my first category, go ahead and give this book a shot; otherwise, you're probably better looking elsewhere....more info
  • where are the really good medical thrillers now?
    OK first off I am a nurse. Also I have been an editor for a publishing company that produces medical and allied health materials.
    I LOVE medical stuff.
    This book fell so short -- it was like they gave you a cool premise and then spend 100 pages with background junk and a little paragraph or two about nanotechnology and how heroic and manly the guy from Wyoming was and then Pfffft!
    The book just never got off the ground. And once they figure out what the problem is, how did they solve it? Didn't say how they took the nano bots out of the president. Anyway, I love MP but I am so disappointed. It is so hard to find a good medical thriller these days. Guess I will have to write one myself. This was overall, a very lame effort. Sorry....more info
  • I've read worse
    Yet another ripoff, though I admit it isn't the worst book I've read. Shallow characters, a laughable plot, clunky writing. Did I say this isn't a good book?...more info
  • Best Ever
    This book keeps you on the edge of your seat all the way through. It is entertaining, exciting, and informative. This book is Dr. Palmer's best yet. Don't miss it. I have added First Patient to my permanent library!...more info
  • Not up to Michael Palmer standards
    Not up to Palmer's typical standard. Seemed like the author wanted to impress with how much he knows about new topics (e.g. nanotechnology, castles, horses, lassos, manicures, the White House, et. al.) and really stretched to work it all into a really far-fetched story. Very suspenseful, despite the fact that the writing was pretty average. Have to admit I stayed up really late to see how it came out (but was disappointed in the ending)....more info
  • The First Patient by Michael Palmer
    An excellent medical thriller. Michael Palmer is, without doubt, the John Grisham of the medical world.

    Peter Marshall...more info
  • Entertaining despite the occasional stretching of your credulity
    Gabe Singleton is living the good life of the rural doctor, enjoying the wide-open spaces of Wyoming and the joys of riding a horse. Unfortunately, he has a past and is stunned when his roommate at the Naval Academy arrives unexpectedly via helicopter and almost pleads for his help. The roommate is Andrew Stoddard and he is now the President of the United States. Stoddard has been a good president and Gabe backs his policies. However, Stoddard is in the midst of a very difficult re-election fight and his personal physician has mysteriously disappeared. After bringing back old times, both good and bad, Stoddard manages to convince Gabe to fly back to Washington and take on the difficult task of serving the President.
    Decades earlier, Gabe had gotten mindlessly drunk and while driving had caused an accident that led to the deaths of others. Although he has no memory of the incident, he has spent his life trying to atone for the mistake. It still haunts him, and he fears that it will resurface once he is in the destructive grinder that is Washington politics.
    However, shortly after he is installed in the White House, an incident occurs that leads him to believe that Stoddard is going insane. That is not the case; the plot is much deeper and more diabolical than a simple case of insanity. The plot takes many twists and turns and the primary driver of the conspiracy against the President is a person that you would not place near the top of your suspect list.
    The action is energetic and entertaining, although at the end it becomes a bit bizarre. In order to protect the President, Gabe feels it necessary to kidnap him and the existence of their hideout stretches your credulity.
    ...more info
  • the First Patient
    Without a doubt Michael Palmer is one of the greatest medical mystery writers of out time and this is the best and most suspenseful novel of his to date. It keeps you reading page after page to get to the end to learn who the main villain is. Was it the First Lady, the Vice-President, the head of security, the Chief of Staff, the head of the White House medical team or any staff member at the White House? The ending is very surprising and unexpected. The twists and turns keeps one definitely guessing thru out. It also gets one to thinking just what is really happening today in the field of nanotechnology. The First patient is definitely a must for lovers of medical mysteries. He should definitely be awarded a Pulitzer prise for this one. Once you start to read it, it's hard to put the book down until you've reached the end....more info
  • just as ordered
    very happy with book - it's condition was exactly as described, and delivery time was reasonable....more info
  • great plot fell short
    I have read most of Palmer's books and found them to be much more exciting than the 'First Patient'. The story line and the characters were appropriate but they were never developed to the point you thought you knew them. Palmer kept endlessly repeating and referring to the tragedy the First Doctor suffered while at the Naval Academy, but never really expanded on it. When there was good action, it started suddenly and ended too quickly.
    I wanted to know more about the 'farm' and the missing doctor, the hit squad and other scenes.
    Most of all who could believe the secret location of the final scene. Don't you think that would be visible and out of place to normal observation.

    I wanted more....more info
  • The First Patient
    Now, this is the best novel that I've had a chance to read in a long time. The "First Patient" happens to be the President of the US, and the tale is about his medical doctor's work with him and a series of very interesting events that take place concerning POTUS and his MD. (They were roommates in Annapolis.) The book goes fairly deep into a newly-emerging scientific field of "Nanotechnology." This explores microscopic--no, even much, much smaller than microscopic--technology, whereby the villans work it out so that they use a rather innoculous inhaler to "inject" certain nano-particles into a person. These are specifically formulated to attach themselves onto certain parts of the body--brain in this case. The baddies have popped this stuff into POTUS, and then, when they wish, can make him go into various types of spasms and worse. They can kill POTUS on a whim. Our good doctor discovers all this of course, and defeats all. In the process he picks up with a delightful special agent, and they all happily ride off into the sunset. It's a terrific page-turner, and one hard to put down. Highly recommended, as Palmer devises numerous tags to lead you quickly and anticipatingly into the next chapter. Charles A. Reap, Jr., author of "Devil's Game," and "My Friend Sam."...more info