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Publisher's Summary

Gabe Singleton and Andrew Stoddard were roommates at the Naval Academy in Annapolis years ago. Today, Gabe is a country doctor and his friend Andrew has gone from war hero to governor to President of the United States.

One day, while the United States is embroiled in a bitter presidential election campaign, Marine One lands on Gabe's Wyoming ranch, and President Stoddard delivers a disturbing revelation and a startling request. His personal physician has suddenly and mysteriously disappeared, and he desperately needs Gabe to take the man's place. Despite serious misgivings, Gabe agrees to come to Washington.

It is not until he is ensconced in the White House medical office that Gabe realizes there is strong evidence that the President is going insane. Facing a crisis of conscience - as President Stoddard's physician, he has the power to invoke the 25th Amendment to transfer presidential power to the vice president - Gabe uncovers increasing evidence that his friend's condition may not be due to natural causes.

Who? Why? And how? The president's life is at stake. A small-town doctor suddenly finds himself in the most powerful position on earth, and the safety of the world is in jeopardy. Gabe Singleton must find the answers, and the clock is ticking.

©2008 Michael Palmer (P)2007 Brilliance Audio

Critic Reviews

"[An] over-the-top yet endlessly entertaining thriller....The roller-coaster ride of a plot builds to an undeniably shocking conclusion." ( Publishers Weekly)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings


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  • Overall

OK airplane novel. Excellent narration

Another one of Michael Palmer's semi-medical thrillers about the U.S. President's personal physician who becomes embroiled in a sinister plot that has lead to the disappearance of his predecessor. Palmer does not write as good a medical thriller as Robin Cook, nor as good a political thriller as David Baldacci, but does a passable job. The plot would make a great "made-for-TV" cable movie. The characters are not very engaging but who cares as long as the chase is on. The narrator, Phil Gigante, is one of my favorites. He does his novels in different voices so they tend to come across like a radio play rather than a narrative. I particularly like his European accents in the Dan Silva novels. His southern accents are a little too strong for my taste, but it is always clear who is speaking. I bought this one on the one-penny per minute sale and it was worth every cent if you want a good listen for the beach or the plane.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall


This novel should be recommended for English learners. The author says what he is going to say, says it then sums it up by saying it. First time that I've written a negative review.

10 of 14 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Carol
  • anderson, SC, USA
  • 05-29-08

The First Patient (unabridged)

this book is just ok. the actual plot line is interesting and could have been gripping, if not for the relentless use of cliches; too much aimless banter between the President and his doctor; and the sudden rush to tie up lose ends in the last few moments of the book. as it is, the solving of the mystery is predictable with the characters rarely allowed to venture beyond the sterotypical outlines imposed by the author. the president's character comes off looking like a thoughtless idiot and few of his actions or conversatons ring true. a potentially wonderful character is killed off before any of her potential can be developed, i think is book is sort of a chick-lit book, except for men.

the audio reader used a totally unrealistic southern accent for all the President's bits which was off putting to someone from the south.
Dick Ezell's read on Radio Reader was much better.

5 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Lia
  • Sutton, Australia
  • 08-03-09

Easy to listen to

I enjoyed this book. It kept my attention and I loved the ending. This is a good choice when you want something easy to "read" in traffic or when concentration is not critical. My mind never wondered.

7 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

His worst

I have been a Michael Palmer fan for years... until this book. The doctor takes a fascinating subject - nanotechnology - and ruins it with insipid dialog and an obvious and naive political bent. Shame on you Dr. Palmer!

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Lupo
  • Atlanta, GA
  • 12-22-08

Enjoyable easy "reading"

I really enjoyed this book. It kept my attention and I was surprised by the ending. This is a good choice when you want something easy to "read" in traffic or when concentration is not critical. My mind never wondered.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Keep Your Political Views to Yourself

If you want to read a political treatise on how great the liberal political view is in this country select a book on politics not a mystery that pushes that view in your face. I have been able to read other books by Palmer,although his political leanings are obvious,because his emphasis has always been on medical issues. This time it seems his primary issue is on left leaning politics. If you dislike Ronald Reagan, are a proponent of big government and think socialized medicine is great -- then this is your book otherwise select a real novel.

10 of 17 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Debbie
  • United States
  • 06-07-14

Exciting & Pausible Read

Would you listen to The First Patient again? Why?

I never understand this question? Now? After I have heard it? Before I heard it if I knew beforehand how the book would go? No, I will not listen again, but I would recommend it.

What does Phil Gigante bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Nothing but he did not get too much in the way. Note: I have lived in Texas twice.He was Understandable. Nothing horrible. Am not a fan of the dramatic geographic dialects. Tolerated. And there was some irony in the Texas accents.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

Global Economic Greed really is Poisoning our Food: DO NOT EAT THE CORN!

Any additional comments?

The plot threads were too weakly intertwined. I much like the combination of science/medical with political plot lines. I thought about topics from this book after I competed it. Serious issues. Yet I read this book for entertainment. In almost all of author's books I find the violent, "car chase" sections, hero brutal fight scenes... to be much too drawn out. Movie? Maybe. But I switch to a faster narrator speed now for those sections.[Thank you Audible for that listening feature, but to avoid The Chipmunks how about 1.1 ? 10% faster? 25% faster makes my heart race and I think of helium!]I much enjoy Palmer's work. Easy yet not empty. Character development could improve - I think by reducing the number of minor players. I also find a trend to draw out not the very ending but the two hours leading into the ending, to be tedious and "lite." I want to yell: "Where is the editor?"I found the science issues in this book to be quite spot-on, real-world pertinent and passionately covered. I would recommend this read. I would like to have a ten star rating system! There are so few truly "all-star" books currently released, I find I give five stars if I think the book was worth my time. And it mostly captured me.Yet, this one and most of them are not really five star. Relative to available titles? Yes. Relative to Palmer's titles? Yes. I enjoy them all. I thought this one was especially worth the time.

  • Overall

Lightweight, tedius and uninspiring

A good book requires characters with whom I can empathsize and about whom I care plus, of course, a compelling story. Michael Palmer's presentation of characters in The First Patient was like a used car salesman giving me all the reasons to buy, but never delivering the feelings that made me want to be an owner. The plot sort of comes together at the end, which I was grateful to reach, not because I cared as much as I want to dive into a better book. A James Lee Burke or Pat Conroy this author is NOT. The best I can say about it is that I finished it, but if it had been just a bit longer I am not sure I would have.

  • Overall
  • Frank
  • North Carolina
  • 08-31-09

Bad - unbelievably bad

Granted, maybe when you buy a book on sale for $5 you should not complain about what you get. But I cannot help it.

This is the dumbest book I have ever finished. I say "dumbest I have ever finished" because, usually, when a book is playing out badly, I stop wasting my time.

But this was like driving past a car wreck - I could not look away. I had to see if it was going to get worse . . . and it DID! At every turn.

The characters are not believable or likable. The plot is not credible enough to enable suspending disbelief The dialog was silly.

If you like the narrator, rent one of his readings of Daniel Silva - not this.

Save yourself - don't buy this book.

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  • Overall
  • Helen
  • 07-22-10


Stunning book and very well read. One of the best.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • faye
  • 01-14-15

predictable but still enjoyed it.

Is there anything you would change about this book?

Perhaps not

How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

A little less obvious. There was no doubt as to the "baddie".

Have you listened to any of Phil Gigante’s other performances? How does this one compare?

Not sure voice is familiar. Not bad at all as a narrator.Very clear.

Could you see The First Patient being made into a movie or a TV series? Who would the stars be?

Possibly - sort of thng I can see as a film with Martin Sheen as the dad.

Any additional comments?

I will try other books by this author despite finding it very predictable. I read, listen to hundreds of suspense/mystery books and really there are only so many stories to be told. Others might find it less obvious.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful