Miracle Cure

Title:                      Miracle Cure

Author:                 Michael Palmer

Palmer, Michael (1998). Miracle Cure. New York: Bantam Books)

LCCN:    98004884

PS3566.A539 M57 1998


Date Posted:      October 16, 2014

My Sister-In-Law Dene Anderson died in January, 2000 and I inherited this book along with her library. I liked reading the book, as I do most medical mysteries, but never thought of it as great literature. Here’s what Publishers Weekly thought about it. I concur

In this flawed medical thriller about the marketing of a new drug by veteran writer Palmer (The Sisterhood), one plot twist too many turns a frightening vision of corporate greed into an excuse for prefab heroics. The drug is called Vasclear, a heart medication being developed at the Boston Heart Institute by Newbury Pharmaceuticals. The FDA is being pressured by a Massachusetts senator (who, it turns out, is secretly taking Vasclear himself) to approve the release of the drug. And Vasclear may be the magic wand that can save the life of Jack “Coach” Holbrook, whose health is declining after a quintuple bypass.

Coach’s son, Brian (an M.D. living at home and working as a rental-car gofer while he recovers from an addiction to painkillers), not only faces the ethical dilemma of stealing the drug if he can’t place his father as a test patient but also finds evidence of potentially dangerous side effects—evidence that could derail the drug’s release to the public.

The characters are sitcom thin, the moral dilemma is barely raised before it’s resolved and the inclusion of a Chechen Mafia subplot only serves to transport the story further into an unlikely realm, where otherwise efficient killers do nothing more dangerous than send the hero a threat in the mail and members of drug and alcohol recovery groups know more about pharmaceutical companies than the FDA. Palmer’s thriller-friendly prose, pacing and plotting draw readers on here, but, like Vasclear, his novel should have spent more time in development before it hit the shelves.