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Extended Audio Sample A Heartbeat Away: A Thriller Audiobook, by Michael Palmer Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (1,430 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Michael Palmer Narrator: Robert Petkoff Publisher: Macmillan Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: February 2011 ISBN: 9781427209948
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The New York Times bestselling author and master of suspense delivers another novel at the crossroads of politics and medicine in this shocker of a thriller On the night of the State of the Union address, President James Allaire expects to give the speech of his career. But no one anticipates the terrifying turn of events that forces him to quarantine everyone in the Capitol building. A terrorist group calling itself “Genesis” has unleashed WRX3883, a deadly, highly contagious virus, into the building. No one fully knows the deadly effect of the germ except for the team responsible for its development—a team headed by Allaire, himself. The only one who might be able to help is virologist Griffin Rhodes, currently in solitary confinement in a maximum security federal prison for alleged terrorist acts, including the attempted theft of WRX3883 from the lab where he worked. Rhodes has no idea why he has been arrested, but when Allaire offers to free him in exchange for his help combating the virus, he reluctantly agrees to do what he can to support the government that has imprisoned him without apparent cause. Meanwhile, every single person in line for presidential succession is trapped inside the Capitol—every person except one: the Director of Homeland Security, who is safely at home in Minnesota, having been selected as the “Designated Survivor” for this event. With enemies both named and unnamed closing in, and the security of the nation at stake, Griff must unravel the mysteries of WRX3883 without violating his pledge as a scientist to use no animal testing in his experiments…and time is running out. Tense, thrilling, and entirely plausible, A Heartbeat Away will make you reflect, wonder, and be truly afraid. Download and start listening now!

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Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jonathan | 2/18/2014

    " The depths of evil within the government are highlighted in this novel about mad science gone wrong and the terrorist sabotage of the State of the Union address. The finish was too easy... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Margaret | 2/18/2014

    " Enjoyed this book alot. Read it almost cover to cover. The President is giving his State of the Union address and over 700 high ranking government officials are present at the Capitol. A suspected terrorist attack makes it necessary to lock down the entire building to determine was is going on as officials in the building begin to develop flu-like symptoms. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Debra | 2/13/2014

    " As per usual, a twisty-turney page turner. Don't think you've got it figured out cuz you probably don't. I really like this author and have read almost everything he's ever written. Absolutely enjoyed it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lee | 2/9/2014

    " We listened to this audio on our recent car trip. It's a story about the insidious greed for political power and wealth and the extent to which the characters will go to get what they want. Disenchantment with politics seems to be a common theme these days, and unfortunately a justifiable one with the political climate we have been living in for the last decade. The premise was a bit far fetched as was the solution to the predicament. But leave your reality check at the door and it's an entertaining story, exciting and fast paced action. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jill | 2/7/2014

    " I thought this book was just okay. It wasn't as bad as some critics have said. But at the same time its one where I wouldn't rush to get it. The plotline was a little unrealistic. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Bob Mask | 2/3/2014

    " A little light on plot.... "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Frances | 1/19/2014

    " Michael Palmer does it again ,suspense the whole way , good guys & bad guys ... great audio book . "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 barry | 1/11/2014

    " great book...michael palmer..medical mysteries especially around politics...just as good as robin cook.... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Pam Van Winkle | 12/18/2013

    " This was hard to put down, and creepy. It's all about bio-terrorism which I probably would rather have stayed ignorant of. But if you like that sort of thing it's a great read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tina | 12/13/2013

    " Definitely a little out there, but if you enjoy conspiracy theories and action, you'll probably like this book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lab | 11/18/2013

    " an entertaining medical thriller with an appealing main character. there were times I needed to accept a few plot contrivances, but it still was an entertaining read. It didn't terrify like "Ebola" and "Hot Zone" did, but was still good. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Katherine Totten | 11/5/2013

    " Exciting page-turner focusing on the Presidential Succession. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Janet | 10/9/2013

    " Michael Palmer is one of our favorite authors! Whenever possible we listen to one of his books while we travel. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Autumn | 7/29/2013

    " Great political thriller wrapped in a medical thriller "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kathleele | 4/29/2013

    " Pretty good story. Nice twists and turns. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Dena | 3/5/2013

    " Next to Michael C , Palmer is a one of a kind. Robin Cook Fan will love this book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mike | 1/31/2013

    " An enjoyable political/medical thriller. I've never read this author before, but will look at some of his other books. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sara | 9/3/2012

    " Three stars for a mystery or suspense generally carries less weight in my ratings system than 3 stars for a literary work. Wish there was a star system with more nuance. Three stars for a suspense like this means it satisfied the need for an entertaining, quick read in a mostly believable way. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Katg | 10/14/2011

    " Michael Palmer always manages to freak me out with his stories of what evils lie within the medical field, and this book lives up to the reputation. An intriguing scenario and a satisfying conclusion. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Paula | 8/20/2011

    " Loved the premise but after the first couple of chapters it really dropped off for me. Just felt like this was not his best . "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tommy | 5/23/2011

    " This was an interesting storyline that a virus could be introduced into a session of congress. It took awhile for the story to get going but, then the last 100 or so pages became page-turners. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lynn Johnson | 5/5/2011

    " Best book I have read in years. Could not put it down. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Pam | 5/3/2011

    " This was hard to put down, and creepy. It's all about bio-terrorism which I probably would rather have stayed ignorant of. But if you like that sort of thing it's a great read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Katrin | 4/30/2011

    " Fast paced book, had me guessing all the way. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Martha | 4/12/2011

    " Great medical mystery about being a heartbeat away from the Presidency. Lovely fun to read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Laura | 4/3/2011

    " This book, as most of Palmer's books, reminds me of Early Crichton. Halfway through in two days....great read.

    Frightening in details, great conclusion. Hope he uses the characters again. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tina | 4/2/2011

    " Definitely a little out there, but if you enjoy conspiracy theories and action, you'll probably like this book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Debra | 3/31/2011

    " As per usual, a twisty-turney page turner. Don't think you've got it figured out cuz you probably don't. I really like this author and have read almost everything he's ever written. Absolutely enjoyed it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Vickie | 3/31/2011

    " It was like reading an episode of "24". Only it took place in ten days instead of one day. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Susan | 3/30/2011

    " Fast moving, listened to the audio book while traveling. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Cheryl | 3/28/2011

    " Starts out a little slow and confusing with alot of characters, but ends up being really entertaining. Would make a good movie. The president and 700 people in the capital building are exposed to a rare virus and the race is on to save them. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nancy | 3/27/2011

    " Good book. Full of adventure and action (lots very implausible, but what do you expect!). "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Laurie | 3/26/2011

    " Very Good. Could not put it down! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kathleele | 3/25/2011

    " Pretty good story. Nice twists and turns. "

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About the Author
Author Michael PalmerMichael Palmer (1942-2013) wrote internationally bestselling novels of medical suspense, including The First Patient, The Second Opinion, The Last Surgeon, A Heartbeat Away, Oath of Office and Political Suicide. His book Extreme Measures was adapted into a movie starring Hugh Grant and Gene Hackman. His books have been translated into thirty-five languages. Palmer earned his bachelor's degree at Wesleyan University, and he attended medical school at Case Western Reserve University. He trained in internal medicine at Boston City and Massachusetts General Hospitals. He spent twenty years as a full-time practitioner of internal and emergency medicine. In addition to his writing, Palmer was an associate director of the Massachusetts Medical Society Physician Health Services, devoted to helping physicians troubled by mental illness, physical illness, behavioral issues, and chemical dependency. He lived in eastern Massachusetts.
About the Narrator

Robert Petkoff has appeared on Chappelle’s Show, Law & Order, and Quantum Leap. His Broadway credits include Sir Robin in Spamalot, Perchik in Fiddler on the Roof, and Tateh in Ragtime. His audiobook narrations have won multiple Audiofile Earphones Awards as well as a coveted Audie Award.