When you open the pages of a Michael Palmer novel, you know you are in the hands of a pro. This author knows how to weave a plot and keep the action coming, and the readers know it won't all fall apart at the end. Such is definitely the case with Palmer's latest book, Political Suicide. In this one Palmer brings back Dr. Lou Welcome, who made such an auspicious debut in the novel Oath of Office. He repeats that success in this book as Welcome attempts to prove the innocence of one of his friends accused of murder.
Welcome gets a call from his friend Dr. Gary McHugh. McHugh has had some drinking problems in the past and has been working with Welcome through the Physician Wellness Center. Now he feels he is almost certain to be arrested for the murder of Congressman Elias Colston. McHugh had visited Colston and then wrecked his car on the way from his house. Colston was found dead by his wife who admitted she had been having an affair with McHugh. Things do not look good for McHugh by any stretch of the imagination. His only hope is Welcome, who does believe in his innocence.
Palmer has created a great hero in Lou Welcome. He is a man who believes in his family and friends and is willing to take all kinds of chances in order to protect them. In Oath of Office, some of Lou's actions seemed a little out of the realm of possibility but were acceptable because Palmer made them acceptable. In Political Suicide Lou still acts in an extreme manner to get things done but it is all based on solid motivation.
In this book there is not only a murder to clear up, there is also a mystery involving the Army. While looking into Colston's death, Welcome uncovers a strange band of elite soldiers within the service. This group is called "Mantis" and their motto is "Whatever It Takes." These three words take on an ominous tone when Welcome discovers what they really mean.
In addition to bringing back Welcome, his daughter Emily and his boxing friend Cap from Oath of Office, Palmer introduces us to two new fascinating characters. The first is Sarah Cooper, a gutsy attorney who serves as a love interest for Lou. The second is a blind newspaperwoman named Edith Harmon who assists Lou and Sarah in their efforts to clear McHugh's name. These two women add a powerful kick to the story and also add to the humanness of the adventure.
The plot of Palmer's book flies by, which is what happens when you have a writer who enjoys his story. Each page adds a new dimension to the characters and a new revelation to the plot. It is action/mystery reading at its best. Palmer just keeps delivering good stories, one right after the other
Political Suicide is published by St Martin's Press. It contains 368 pages and sells for $27.99.