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The Second Opinion
by Michael Palmer
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Dr. Thea Sperelakis, who has been working outside the country after seeking a change, returns to the Boston area when her father (also a physician) is involved in a hit-and-run and is hospitalized and in a coma. Though the rest of her siblings (a twin brother and sister, also doctors, and another brother who mostly stays at home as a genius recluse) feel there is not much hope, Thea is not quite ready to give up hope, especially when she believes her father is communicating with her from his hospital bed via eye blinks. Soon Thea is convinced that something evil underlies his accident, that it was indeed no accident, and she seeks to discover who and why someone would want to see her father dead.
It has been a while since I've read a medical thriller. This was an abridged audio and as abridgments go, it was fair, though somewhat choppy at times with abrupt transitions, etc. But the meat of the story was there. I enjoyed it well enough, though found that it stretched the edges of realism a few times, which thrillers tend to do. Thea was characterized as having Asperger Syndrome, which seemed mostly realistic, although I felt that the audiobook reader roboticized the voicing of her character a bit too much. Overall, a decent read, though not one that's particularly likely to stick with me for very long.
Wow. After reading this, you KNOW you need to get a second opinion whenever something serious is going on health-wise. I appreciated how characters with ASD or ASD-like tendencies were written. Michael Palmer's insight was refreshing. The romance was good and the end was not what I expected.
I will miss Dr. Michael Palmer's novels. He was a remarkable man.
A medical thriller. Dr. Thea Sperelakis, an idealist, rushes back to Boston after learning her physician father, an intimidating figure known as the Lion, is close to death, the victim of a hit-and-run.
Palmer does a credible job here of building a whodunnit beginning with a hit-and-run attack on a prominent physician, which leads to the discovery of a network of deceit, greed, and murder within the structure of a huge medical center.
He chooses to have the story carried by a character with Asperger Syndrome, and puts both the weaknesses and strengths of her personality to good use. (In an afterward, Palmer shares the fact that his son also has Asperger.)
The cautionary tale -- because it wouldn't be a Michael Palmer novel without at least one of the villains being modern medicine itself -- takes aim at the increased utilization of sophisticated computerization of medical practice and record-keeping with the subsequent loss of doctor-to-patient interactions.
Dr. Thea Sperelakis has always been an outsider. She has a brilliant medical mind and a remarkable ability to recall details, but her difficulty in dealing with hidden agendas and interpersonal conflicts has led her to leave the complex, money-driven dynamics of a hospital and to embrace working with the poor. Her father, Petros, is one of the most celebrated internal medicine specialists in the world and the founder of the cutting-edge Sperelakis Center for Diagnostic Medicine at Boston's sprawling, powerful Beaumont Clinic. When Petros is severely injured by a hit-and-run driver, no one thinks he will survive. Two of Petros's other children, both physicians, battle Thea and their eccentric brother, Dimitri, by demanding that treatment for their father be withheld. Meanwhile, Petros lingers in the Beaumont Clinic's intensive care unit, where Thea is his only advocate. As Thea uncovers the facts surrounding the disaster, it seems more and more to be no accident. Petros himself is the only witness. Who would want him dead? The answers are trapped in his brain...until he looks at Thea and begins to slowly blink a terrifying message. In The Second Opinion, Michael Palmer has created a cat-and-mouse game where one woman must confront a conspiracy of doctors to uncover an evil practice that touches every single person who ever has a medical test. With unforgettable characters and twists and betrayals that come from the most unlikely places, The Second Opinion will keep you guessing...and looking over your shoulder.
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Melvil Decimal System (DDC)813.54 — Literature English (North America) American fiction 20th Century 1945-1999
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I enjoy reading books with a medical aspect as the theme. I have always enjoyed Michael Palmer’s book. He is a great writer, organized, and describes well develop characters. This book is based on Asperger Syndrome information and how it affects different people in various ways.
Dr. Thea Sperilakis who has asperger’s couldn’t handle the suburban hospital that her father supervises so she left to practice in Africa. Her father is severely hurt in an accident she must go home and talk over the situation with her siblings. Thea finds out her father is in a coma and after a while her siblings argue with her to let him pass. Thea is convinced her father is showing signs of communicating with her but her father hides it from everyone else. However, know one believes her accept there is someone else who knows it is possible she is telling the truth.
Was the accident premeditated, did someone want him dead, and was there someone giving her father a sedative to keep him from communicating with his daughter? I enjoyed the book but just a little disappointed with the ending. ( )