The First Family by Michael Palmer, Daniel Palmer

The First Family

The First Family by Michael Palmer, Daniel Palmer
English | 2018 | Mystery/Thriller| ePUB | 3.9 MB

The President’s teenaged son is threatened by a potentially fatal illness that is rooted in dark secrets from a long-buried past.

President Geoffrey Hilliard and his family live in the ever-present glare of the political limelight, with relentless scrutiny of their daily lives. The White House is not an easy place to grow up, so when the President’s son Cam, a sixteen-year-old chess champion, experiences extreme fatigue, moodiness, and an uncharacteristic violent outburst, doctors are quick to dismiss his troubles as teen angst. But Secret Service agent Karen Ray, whose job is to guard the president’s family with her life, is convinced Cam’s issues are serious – serious enough to summon her physician ex-husband for a second opinion.

Dr. Lee Blackwood’s concerns are dismissed by the president’s team – until Cam gets sicker. Lee must make a diagnosis from a puzzling array of symptoms he’s never seen before. His only clue is a patient named Susie Banks, a young musical prodigy who seems to be suffering from the same baffling condition as Cam. Hospitalized after an attempt on her life by a determined killer, Susie’s jeopardy escalates as Cam’s condition takes on a terrifying new dimension. Is someone trying to murder the President’s son?

As Lee and Karen race for a cure to Cam’s mysterious and deadly disease, they begin to uncover betrayals that breach the highest levels of national security.

Susie set her chin on the smooth ebony chin rest and pushed the conductor from her thoughts. All sound evaporated from the room. She had no sheet music to follow. She had long ago committed the Chaconne from Bach’s Partita No. 2 for solo violin to memory.

She took one last readying breath, drew the bow across the strings, and conquered the powerful opening double stop like a pro. The audience, the hall itself, seemed to vanish as she drifted into the other place where the music came from. Her body swayed to the rhythm and flow as Bach’s notes poured from her instrument.

The bow and her fingers became a blur of movement. Susie kept her eyes open as she played, but she saw nothing while she felt everything. A brilliant shrill wafted from the violin, a melody sparkling and pure in triple time, followed by an austere passage of darker, more muted tones. Years of dedication, all the things she had sacrificed, were worth it for this feeling alone, such indescribable freedom.

She had reached measure eighty-nine, near the halfway point. Drawing the bow toward her, Susie geared up for the next variation, where the bass became melodic and the diatonic form resumed. Up to that point her playing had been perfect, but suddenly and inexplicably came a terrible screech. Susie’s arms jerked violently out in front of her, the bow dragging erratically across the strings. Her chin slid free of the chin rest as her violin shot outward.

A collective gasp rose from the audience. Shocked, unable to process what had happened to her, Susie repositioned the violin. Her professionalism took over. Her reset was more a reflex than anything. She drew the bow across the strings once more, but only a warbling sound came out. The next instant, her arms flailed spastically in front of her again in yet another violent paroxysm, as if her limbs had separated from her body, developed a mind of their own. She tried to regain control of her arms, willing it to happen, but it was no use. The wild movements occurred without her thought, like those body starts she’d been having before she fell asleep: first the sensation of falling, followed by a jarring startle back into consciousness. Only this time she was wide awake. No matter how hard Susie strained, she could not stop her arms from convulsing. It was the most terrifying, out-of-control sensation she had ever experienced.

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