Gabe Singleton is not proud of his past, but he knows that it shaped him into the man he is today. Singleton, with some help from his best friendís father, managed to get into medical school after serving the prison sentence he received as a result of a drunk driving accident that claimed the lives of two innocent people. In memory of that woman and her unborn child, he dedicated the rest of his life to healing others. Needless to say, even decades later, Gabe Singleton feels indebted to the Stoddard family for having made it possible for him to salvage this kind of life for himself.
So when his friend Andrew Stoddard, now President of the United States, lands at Gabeís Wyoming ranch in Marine One to personally ask for his help, Gabe knows what his answer will be despite any reservations he might have about what he is asked do. But the last thing that Gabe expects to hear is that the Presidentís personal White House physician has suddenly disappeared, and that the President wants him to come to Washington D.C. to take that job.
Singleton fully expects his new life to be a bit more exciting than the one he has left behind in Wyoming, but nothing could have prepared him for what he faces within hours of his arrival at the White House: the President of the United States seems to be losing his mind to such a degree that he is a threat to the political stability of the world. Itís going to be largely up to Gabe, as White House physician, to determine if and when he is going to have to be removed from office for the safety of the country.
Reluctantly agreeing to delay the use of his power to invoke the Twenty-Fifth Amendment to immediately transfer presidential power to the Vice President, Singleton begins a frantic, non-stop investigation into what might be causing his old friend to go crazy. When he comes to suspect that the Presidentís apparent mental illness may not be due to natural causes and to doubt the loyalty of those who surround him, Gabe Singleton begins to fully understand the disappearance of his predecessor.
Who can he trust? Is the Vice President part of the plot? In a White House that seems to be riddled with spies from the military and from the Secret Service, is he on his own as he tries to protect the President while struggling to keep himself alive?
The First Patient is an intricate thriller in which Michael Palmer combines the best elements of political and medical thrillers to produce a novel that will have readers racing to finish it. His story is filled with medical details, knowledge of insider politics, and speculation on potential uses of nanotechnology that allow his readers to suspend disbelief to such a degree that The First Patient should prove to be one of the more memorable thrillers of 2008. Palmer proves again that he has the knack of making the farfetched seemed perfectly reasonable Ė and terrifying.