Another medical thriller from prolific Palmer (The First Patient, 2008, etc.).
In this author’s world, heroes and villains are easy to tell apart. Dr. Nick Garrity, whom his many admirers call “Dr. Nick Fury” after a dauntless cartoon character, is our good guy. He suffers from PTSD as a result of injuries sustained in Afghanistan during a suicide bombing that killed his fiancée. Along with wisecracking nurse Junie, Nick now dishes out care on the streets of Baltimore and D.C., making rounds in a medically renovated RV. His nemesis, though he doesn’t know it yet, is psychopath Franz Koller, who murders for both money and pleasure, disguising the seemingly unrelated deaths paid for by a mysterious organization called Jericho as “non-kills” (i.e., suicides or accidents). Creepily, Koller is quite popular with students at the local high school where he substitute-teaches as a cover. He makes winsome Belle Coates’ death look like a suicide, but her sister Jillian, a psychiatric nurse, suspects murder. Looking through Belle’s condo, Jillian finds a collection of Nick Fury comics with “Dr.” written into the title; they put her on the trail of Dr. Nick Garrity. He’s been trying to track down a couple of war buddies who mysteriously disappeared four years before, but he finds only one, hideously disfigured and working in the washroom of a “gentleman’s club” in D.C.’s Chinatown. Nick and Jillian join forces to uncover the nefarious secrets of a snazzy plastic-surgery clinic in suburban Virginia. Four years earlier, a terrorist supposedly died before he could be operated on for a heart condition, but the plastic surgeon colluded with the CIA to pull a bait-and-switch. Will ultra-professional assassin Koller survive? Will Nick and Jillian get together? Let’s just say that Palmer knows which side his bread is buttered on.
As predictable as an IV drip.