A Heartbeat Away by Michael Palmer

A Heartbeat Away by Michael PalmerReviewed by Cy Hilterman

When a power failure occurred in parts of the eastern United States, no one had an inkling of what caused it. All the experts were stunned since with all the emergency backups in place, this shouldn’t be happening, but it was! As President James Allaire took the podium to give his State of the Union address, power to certain areas also failed in the house chambers where all of the top officials of the United States government were gathered to listen to this annual report the president gave to the nation. The only exception to this gathering was one government official that wasn’t allowed to be with all the others in case of an emergency. For this occasion it was the eighteenth in succession to the presidency, the Secretary of Homeland Security, Paul Rappaport, who was in another area of the nation. When President Allaire started his speech, all rose and gave enormous applause for him. However, when his speech resumed he heard a popping sound followed by the sounds of breaking glass and the emergence of a thin, white mist throughout the audience as the same sounds were heard in various areas of the room.

Thus was the first that Genesis had become public with their threats by releasing a horrific threat called WRX3883. The president immediately had all the doors locked to keep all inside so none of this terrible what-ever-it-was could be spread to the outside world. Eventually President Allaire split the over seven hundred in the gallery into three groups depending on how close they were to the mist that had been released. The Speaker of the House, Ursula Ellis, who thought she should have been elected president because she was the best thing that could have happened to the nation, was one of the large baulkers about the separation. President Allaire admitted to some that he and some others had been working on finding a serum to fight this released biological agent but he had kept it secret and was still doing so. No one knew how so much of this could have been smuggled into the House.

Angela Fletcher is a star reporter who had worked with others in the biological field and who wanted in on whatever was occurring in the House Chambers. The outside world was blocked from any news regarding the threat facing all those gathered to listen to the State of the Union message. President Allaire knew the man he wanted to attempt to open the mystery of WRX3883; Griffin Rhodes was this man but the problem is that Rhodes was serving a life sentence in prison for killing, even though he still maintained his innocence. Rhodes was contacted and his demands were met for a full pardon IF he found a serum that would wipe out this terrible disease that tore the insides of a person apart in a very short time. Angela and Griffin had known each other from previous work and were both drawn into the search.

All the time there were battles in the groups between the hateful Speaker of the House, the Vice-President, the President, and others taking one side or the other in attempting to control who would do what and how.

A Heartbeat Away” is a fantastic thriller with many twists and many turns including Genesis finding out who was doing what and where through someone that must be working against the president. Michael Palmer has given us a look at some of the terrible situations that could arise out of such a dangerous threat and how hard-fought the battle could be to attempt to control such an immediate threat. Read it and you will like it and have a very hard time putting it down. Very well written Michael.

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