Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
A Heartbeat Away

A Heartbeat Away

A Thriller

Michael Palmer, read by Robert Petkoff

Macmillan Audio


Digital Audio


Macmillan Audio

Macmillan Audio


ISBN: 9781427209948


Apple iTunes

The New York Times bestselling author and master of suspense delivers another novel at the crossroads of politics and medicine in this shocker of a thriller

On the night of the State of the Union address, President James Allaire expects to give the speech of his career. But no one anticipates the terrifying turn of events that forces him to quarantine everyone in the Capitol building. A terrorist group calling itself "Genesis" has unleashed WRX3883, a deadly, highly contagious virus, into the building. No one fully knows the deadly effect of the germ except for the team responsible for its development—a team headed by Allaire, himself. The only one who might be able to help is virologist Griffin Rhodes, currently in solitary confinement in a maximum security federal prison for alleged terrorist acts, including the attempted theft of WRX3883 from the lab where he worked. Rhodes has no idea why he has been arrested, but when Allaire offers to free him in exchange for his help combating the virus, he reluctantly agrees to do what he can to support the government that has imprisoned him without apparent cause.

Meanwhile, every single person in line for presidential succession is trapped inside the Capitol—every person except one: the Director of Homeland Security, who is safely at home in Minnesota, having been selected as the "Designated Survivor" for this event. With enemies both named and unnamed closing in, and the security of the nation at stake, Griff must unravel the mysteries of WRX3883 without violating his pledge as a scientist to use no animal testing in his experiments…and time is running out.
Tense, thrilling, and entirely plausible, A Heartbeat Away will make you reflect, wonder, and be truly afraid.



A Heartbeat Away by Michael Palmer--Audiobook Excerpt

Listen to this audiobook excerpt from Michael Palmer's medical thriller novel A Heartbeat Away, narrated by Robert Petkoff. The New York Times bestselling author and master of suspense delivers another novel at the crossroads of politics and medicine in this shocker of a thriller.


Praise for A Heartbeat Away

“Actor Robert Petkoff delivers a tense, exciting performance. He's especially proficient as the crafty female speaker of the House. Petkoff's virtuosity makes this thriller intense and as close to reality as one dares to think about.” —AudioFile Magazine

“Robert Petkoff is excellent as narrator not only at maintaining the pace but also at providing the voices of the varied accents of men and women. Transitions are seamless and unobtrusive. Palmer's fans will be enthralled.” —Sound Commentary

“Robert Petkoff proves to be the perfect choice to narrate Palmer's latest medical thriller…Petkoff never misses a beat in his reading of this high-octane medical thriller, fully realizing each scene and character with ease. His energetic and skillful performance will keep listeners on the edge of their seats.” —Publishers Weekly

“Actor Robert Petkoff does an exceptional job of narrating Palmer's follow-up to The Last Surgeon (2010), perfectly capturing each character's unique accent, quirks, and personality and rendering Griffin's best friend and colleague Melvin especially well. Sure to keep listeners on the edge of their seats; highly recommended for mystery/thriller fans.” —Library Journal

“Skillfully narrated by Robert Petkoff, A Heartbeat Away is a gripping saga that remains tense to the very end.” —The Midwest Book Review

“Tense, thrilling, and entirely plausible, A Heartbeat Away will make you reflect, wonder, and be truly afraid.” —Bookin' with Bingo

Reviews from Goodreads

About the author

Michael Palmer, read by Robert Petkoff

Michael Palmer writes internationally bestselling novels of medical suspense, including The Last Surgeon, The First Patient, The Second Opinion, The Sisterhood and Critical Judgment. His books have been translated into thirty-five languages. Palmer earned his bachelor's degree at Wesleyan University, and he attended medical school at Case Western Reserve University. He trained in internal medicine at Boston City and Massachusetts General Hospitals. He spent twenty years as a full-time practitioner of internal and emergency medicine. In addition to his writing, Palmer is an associate director of the Massachusetts Medical Society Physician Health Services, devoted to helping physicians troubled by mental illness, physical illness, behavioral issues, and chemical dependency. He lives in eastern Massachusetts.

Robert Petkoff has won multiple AudioFile Earphones awards for his acclaimed narrations. He was named Best Voice of Fiction & Classics for his reading of The Evolution of Bruno Littlemore by Benjamin Hale. His other narration credits include Oath of Office by Michael Palmer, Gangster Squad by Paul Lieberman, and books by David Foster Wallace.Petkoff has appeared on Broadway, Off-Broadway, and in theaters across America and Europe. He has worked in television and film. His theater credits include Lord Evelyn Oakleigh in the Broadway production of Anything Goes, Perchik as part of the Tony-nomianted cast of Fiddler on the Roof, and Hubert Humphrey in the Tony award-winning play All the Way. He has also had numerous roles in television on shows such as Law and Order and Married with Children.

Michael Palmer

Photo: Bill Miles

Robert Petkoff



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