Paul Katz
February 16, 2007 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Fifth Vial

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
Michael Palmer
publisher
St. Martin's Press
genre
Mystery and Thriller, Fiction

We gave it a B

Remember that urban legend about a guy who wakes up in a bathtub filled with ice and discovers that someone’s stolen his kidney? Michael Palmer’s thriller The Fifth Vial runs with the myth. Dr. Natalie Reyes falls victim to a seemingly random attack in Rio de Janeiro that leaves her missing a lung and searching for answers; meanwhile, Chicago private detective Ben Callahan tracks a medical conglomerate kidnapping people to harvest their organs for recipients who ”best serve mankind.” The dual story lines meander a bit before the final showdown, but Palmer’s black-market bogeymen offer a terrifying vision of the Hippocratic oath gone very wrong. B

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