Nineteen-year-old Susie Banks is a concert violinist who is about to perform in front of a packed audience which includes her parents at the Kennedy Center. Imagine the applause as she takes the stage, lifts her violin and brings it down on her chin and begins to play. The awe and transfixed faces of each audience member as they are riveted, glued to their seats and their eyes only on Susie until something happens that changes it all.
While her parents were concerned about her and they finally arrived home little did they know that someone was inside their home while they were sleeping and disconnected their smoke alarms and put in dead batteries. But, the gas leak and the end result was the death of her parents and she barely made it out alive as Mark Mueller who was hired by someone named Rainmaker to make sure they all died.
While Susan was being treated at the hospital for this mysterious illness Cam Hilliard aka Bishop, the President’s 16-year-old son was playing chess against his best friend Taylor Gleason. What started out as a usual match ended up in Cam losing for the first time as the twitches began the uncontrollable anger and the end result was FBI agent Karen Ray whose job it was to protect the first family, realized that something was wrong. Thinking it might be the pressure when Karen entered his room and told him it was time for school while Dr. Gleason the first family’s doctor thought Cam was depressed and needed someone to talk with, things at this point seem to point in that direction until they don’t.
Lee Blackwood was a family practitioner with admitting privileges as MediHealth of D. C. or MDC for short. Paul Tresell was his partner running an independent medical practice independent of MDC. While making rounds and supervising the residents he is approached by Special Agent Duffy of the Secret Service and told he was needed in the White House. K-Ray as his wife was called would be there and their interaction as ex-husband and wife would create some interesting scenes and tension between the two of them. But, Flotus the first lady and Pothus the President needed him there but Cam. Cam when Lee Blackwood sees him is there to provide a second opinion and from the start you can tell Gleason is unhappy and disagrees with his findings. Ellen Hilliard the first lady realizes in her own way the Gleason’s assessments of Cam are wrong and that something is mysterious and the answers would come but his diagnosing was way off. Tests, cat scans and more and he’s thanked for his time but when he realizes that Cam’s spleen is about to rupture and it’s enlarged surgery is the first course of recovery but not the final answer as we will learn. What caused both Susan and Cam to have these night seizures, jerking movements and twitches? Lee is a great diagnostician and realizes that something is wrong and wants other tests to be conducted to find the underlying problem but there are many roadblocks along the way.
Karen and Lee have a son Josh who was an Army Ranger who proves to play an important role when dealing with the safety of both Cam and later on Susan. Cam’s looked to be in good health but in reality he was not and therapy was not in his future if he could help it and his attitude and demeanor seemed glum.
The True Potential Institute is where Cam, Taylor and other young people joined the junior team championship teams and were primed and trained to be the best of the best. But, the person in charge gave all of the young people three sets of super pills but first Lee asked Cam about his vision, which at times seemed blurred plus his muscles ached and he felt foggy. With his reflexes normal and nothing that spoke of anything serious Cam was in the waiting with agents Duffy and Lapham as Lee was hoping to find out the cause of his illness the President sided with Gleason who claimed that Cam was depressed and need some type of intervention. When you listen to Gleason and see his demeanor you realize that he is cold, calculating and dispassionate and wants control over the first family but what are we missing?
Meeting with Dr. Yoshi Matsumoto and asking how the institute was run and about those that attended and his methods brought Karen more roadblocks as he felt she was out of her league and should not be questioning him. But, Hal Hewitt another doctor was her guide and would show her what of course he wanted her to see to understand their methods. Pro-Neural was one super pill he and Susan were given but what exactly did this pill do? Nootropics is the other pill and extropics is the third.
Things change and Susan is in the hospital and Lee learns that she and Cam know each other from TPI and he begins to connect the dots and sees that both Cam and Susan have some of the same symptoms except Susan has cherry red spots in her eyes but he does not. They are not the only victims as they uncover two twins that went to TPI and died in a car accident that another committed suicide or did he?
Tests are run on both and the diagnosis is serious and could be fatal as they learn that both have gene defects that correlate those to missing enzymes. Cam and Susan’s genes are producing a mutation that is new to the doctors and to science. While Lee probes into Cam’s medical history and learns more about Susan and the other three that are gone he realizes that this disease presents itself as an inborn error of metabolism. Cam has the Genius Gene and so does Susan but someone wants them out of the way forever and will stop at nothing until he succeeds but why? Someone wants all of these exceptional kids dead!
Myoclonus is the answer and both Cam and Susan and it can be triggered by a stimulus like noise, light or movement. Myoclonus is caused by a metabolic disorder and as you get to see both Cam and Susan more you will realize the devastating effects it has on muscles throughout their bodies and even seizures. Lee ordered blood tests to measure their sugar, calcium, sodium in their blood and magnesium. If abnormal levels of these substances are the result it could cause this metabolic disorder. But, the disease was just one problem as dealing with Gleason and getting the tests done and being allowed to continue to help Cam was the other.
Confrontations between Gleason and Lee were common and although his assessment was spot on, the President had the final word. Karen took it upon herself with the permission of the first lady to get samples of the pills that Cam was being given and Lee would have them tested by a private lab. The results were startling yet showed that they were not intelligence enhancers and that whatever Cam and Susan were being given was not part of this protocol. Going into the lab with the medications Karen had to pass through Duffy and make an excuse for being there. Dealing with him led her to realize that there might be something else bothering Duffy since he is constantly asking her to help him get promoted red flagging that he might be having some type of gambling issue or debts. Added in Lee’s partner does some medical research on his own and what he finds put him in danger. Someone wants hidden and under the rug as the authors create tension, mystery and fear in all of the characters especially Susan.
Ordering an MRI and EEG hoping that Cam’s tests would not show what he already suspected. When they finally diagnose it as myoclonus they realize what is causing his jerks or sleep starts and why both Cam and Susan are having them while trying to go to sleep. Gleason when he finds Karen checking out his lab warns her against ever going there without his permission and the threat is real.
Cam no longer takes the supplements given by Gleason or the TPI doctor therefore he was only taking the meds that the neurologist prescribed for seizures. Lee and Gleason go head to head and it takes the first lady to intervene but will the President see the light realize the truth about someone he thought he could trust?
Placing Susan in Josh’s care helps them to bond since he and his girlfriend broke up and Cam finds himself in school and when he disappears just where is he and why is Karen fired and blamed? Josh proved to be an asset to his parents and a strong leader in many ways as he takes it upon himself to protect both of his parents and making sure that Susan is no longer in danger but the end result will shock readers.
Michael Palmer’s expertise as a doctor and his research into myoclonus and Daniel Palmer’s great mystery writing skills that increase the fear, tension, suspense, shock value and realism make this story seem ripped right out of the headlines.
Who is behind the plot to rid them of the students with the Genius Gene? The ending will surprise readers as everyone is not what they appear to be. A harsh reality comes to light as the First Lady faces a truth that will change her life and that of her relationship possibly with the President.
Lies, deceits, greed, money, control, power and smart kids at risk as Lee and his team of doctors and Karen fights for their lives before Rainmaker and his team take out THE FIRST FAMILY. Dr. Lee Blackwell is a strong character and definitely should be brought back again.