A college student goes on the run after he uncovers a government conspiracy to lower Medicare costs by using military assassins to euthanize the elderly.
After the prolonged, painful death of his father, Sen. Daniel Pendelton launched a secret government project—having military assassins euthanize terminally ill patients to end their suffering. But somewhere along the way, the plan shifted: Those who receive a shot from a syringe to induce a heart attack aren’t always suffering; they’re merely surviving on Medicare and Medicaid. Daniel learns about the plan after his mother, who lives in a home for the elderly, is mistaken for her best friend and accidentally killed. Daniel confronts Don Kepler, the chief of staff and his longtime friend and ally on the project, hoping he’ll agree to shut down the project, but Don decides to kill Daniel to keep the story a secret. When Daniel’s college-age son, Henry, arrives at the family home, he finds his dying father, who tells Henry to expose the story and gives him a flash drive that contains the secret plans. Don pins the murders on Henry, which sets off a chase through D.C., with Don attempting to silence Henry, who’s trying to expose the plans without endangering his, his friends’ and his mother’s lives. Royer’s debut novel is a fast-paced, exciting read, with evil government agents, hired assassins and college students, all of whom are fleshed out and complex, which makes the story feel weightier than many thrillers. Royer, a strong writer, tackles good and evil, greed, family and other issues in a well-plotted story that’s surprisingly realistic. He has a knack for dialogue, which helps propel the story forward, and he quickly pulls the reader into the fast pace that doesn’t abate until the end.
A strong debut that’s hard to put down.