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Publisher's Summary

In Chicago, a pregnant cafeteria worker suffering nothing more malevolent than flulike symptoms begins hemorrhaging from every part of her body. In Boston, a brilliant musician, her face disfigured by an unknown disease, rapidly descends into a lethal paranoia. In Belinda, West Virginia, a miner suddenly goes berserk, causing a cave-in that kills two of his co-workers. Finding the link between these events could prove fatal.

Five years ago, internist and emergency specialist Matt Rutledge returned to his West Virginia home to marry his high-school sweetheart and open a practice. He also had a score to settle. His father died while working for the Belinda Coal and Coke Company, and Matt swore to expose the mine's health and safety violations.

When his beloved Ginny succumbed to an unusual cancer, his campaign became even more bitterly personal. Now Matt has identified two bizarre cases of what he has dubbed the Belinda Syndrome - caused, he is certain, by the mine's careless disposal of toxic chemicals. All he needs is proof.

Meanwhile, two women, unknown to one another, are drawn inexorably to Belinda, into Matt's life - and into mortal danger. Massachusetts coroner Nikki Solari comes to attend the funeral of her roommate, killed violently on a Boston street. Ellen Kroft, a retired schoolteacher from Maryland, seeks the remorseless killer who has threatened to destroy her and her family. Three strangers - Rutledge, Solari, and Kroft - each hold one piece of a puzzle they must solve, and solve quickly. If they don't, it will be far more than just their own lives that are at risk.

©2002 Michael Palmer (P)2002 Random House Inc., Random House Audio, a Division of Random House Inc.

Critic Reviews

"[Palmer's] ability to craft gripping suspense, likable heroes and hateful villains as well as a thought-provoking dialogue...keep the pulse pounding." (Publishers Weekly)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Lynn
  • overland park, KS, USA
  • 01-27-03

fine medical thriller

Next to Robin Cook, Palmer is my favorite master of medical thrillers. Although I do not usually listen to abridgements, I made an exception because of the author. I own the book, and although the story lost something in the abridgement, it still held together nicely. I love medical thrillers, and I think this one will keep you listening and thinking. It was an intriguing story with believable and interesting characters

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Joann
  • Scituate, MA, USA
  • 09-01-07

Fatal

Excellent book. It was full of action and adventure and kept my attention the whole time. Also, kudos to the narrator for not trying to imitate a woman's voice. He did an outstanding job and I hope to listen to more books with him as narrator.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • SherriA
  • Stamford, CT USA
  • 08-02-05

Entertaining

This was a fun book to listen to. The narrator did a good job with the characters and added a lot to the story through his telling of it. They mystery was entertaining and the cast of characters were interesting - doctors, miners, cops, moonshiners, bikers, musicians, hillbillies, politicians and a grandmother all thrown together in a way that required some suspension of disbelief but was thoroughly entertaining. I was rooting for the good guys and cursing the bad guys throughout. The plot twists at the end were good and I really didn't suspect the villain at all. Palmer came through with a roller coaster ride of a medical thriller with this one! I only wish that I'd paid more attention to what I was ordering and had gotten the unabridged version rather than the abridged. I keep wondering what I missed in the abridgement.