Cover Image: The Last High

The Last High

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Member Reviews

The Last High is a psychological thriller.

First, let me thank both NetGalley and Edelweiss, the publisher Simon & Schuster, and of course the author, for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

My Synopsis:   (No major reveals, but if concerned, skip to My Opinions)

Dr. Julie Rees is an ER doctor who also specializes in toxicology.  So when a number of teenagers who were at the same party show up in her ER, all dying of an an opioid overdose, she is stunned.   How could there be so many?  What did they all take?  What could possibly react this fast in these kids?  Why can't she save them?  These kids are not the only ones to die.

She soon learns that the drug must have been almost pure to have resulted in such fast deaths.  This is definitely not your normal overdose situation.  What is making this worse is that it seems this drug is all over the streets of Vancouver, and it doesn't care if you are rich or poor, first-time user or addict -  one dose is enough to kill you.  They are starting to call it TLH...The Last probably won't survive to try again.

Julie works with Detective Anson Chen to get to the bottom of this crisis.  Finding the one dealing the bad drug is hard, but finding the manufacturer is even more difficult when there are so many gangs out there.  The possibility of a drug gang war looms.

Meanwhile, Julie's own past is coming back to haunt her.

My Opinions:  

This was a really fast read, about a very dark subject.  It is about more than the amount of drugs on the streets.  It is about the greed and depths that the criminals who traffic drugs will stoop.  It is about the victims, and their families, and those that try to help them.  Although a fiction novel, a lot of the headlines today could tell the same story....not just in Vancouver.

The author knows his stuff.  He is an ER doctor in a hospital in the middle of the same opioid crisis he writes about.  So although he may have expanded on the truth a little, everything seems possible, which makes the book that more interesting, and that more scary.

So, the plot was good, as was the writing.  The touch of romance did not bother me, and I liked the characters, who all had enough depth to make them feel real.  It was a fast, entertaining (if somewhat disturbing) read.

This is the first book I've read by this fellow Canadian, but it will not be the last!
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His main characters are well-flashed out, his plot timely to the point that is almost viewing a live news story about the ongoing opioid crisis on the 6 o’clock news. As a medical professional he explains the medical procedures/language included in the story in very easy layman’s terms.

This book is a fast-paced gritty tale which focuses on the true faces of the victims and those who care about them come to life. This gripping nightmare is real and ongoing and while told as fiction, is like looking through a mirror and seeing both the worst and best of mankind. 

Thank you to NetGalley and Simon & Schuster Canada who provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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Toxicologist Dr. Julie Rees and her coworkers are stunned when teenagers from the same party come to the ER, having overdosed on what initially appears to be fentanyl. Whatever drug the teens had ingested killed the rest of their group of friends. When others in the community also suffer lethal overdoses, Dr. Rees works with local law enforcement to track down the source of the drug in an attempt to prevent more deaths.

Author Dr. Daniel Kalla lends his medical experience to this story, and the opioid-related crisis described therein is very plausible. This was a very quick, exciting read that kept my attention throughout. If you're looking for a medical thriller with a side of love interest, this one's for you!

Thank you to NetGalley and Simon & Schuster Canada for allowing me to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
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I love medical thrillers and Dr Daniel Kalla does not disappoint. Since he is actually an ER physician, the book shows first hand knowledge and doesn't pontificate against today's healthcare like Robin Cook's books have been doing in recent years. This book is about the emergence of an extremely deadly drug making an appearance on the scene in Vancouver. TLH (The Last High) as it becomes known, is so potent that a mere finger stick of a used needle can cause an overdose that is fatal in minutes. It can killer no matter whether it is injected, snorted, taken orally or even inhaled. Dr Julie Rees, ER doctor, toxicologist and recovered addict works with Detective Anson Chen to discover what the drug is and where it is coming from. The book explores the drug culture of Vancouver from importation to manufacture to the distribution chain. All these characters including Persians and Chinese got a little confusing at times and hard to keep straight. The main characters were well developed and complex. The medical cases and terminology seemed accurate and were well explained. There was a little romance but not a soap opera like TV medical dramas with everyone hooking up in a supply closet. The drug problem and the overdoses took center stage. The book was very timely and shows the dangers of today's street drugs. I wish to thank NetGalley and the publisher for allowing me to read an early copy of this book. I look forward to more of Dr Kalla's books.
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Thank you to Netgalley and Simon & Schuster for providing me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. To be frank, I wasn’t familiar with Daniel Kalla before I started The Last High, but he is absolutely on my radar now. I loved this book! Part medical thriller, part police procedural, with a tiny bit of romance to add interest. It kept be hooked from the start. 

Julie is an ER doctor who moonlights as a toxicologist with poison control. Anson is a homicide detective on the case of several deaths by carfentanil poisoning. When several teens are brought to Julie’s emergency room dead or dying from the drug, they team up to try to determine who is responsible. It’s a wild ride and the flow is great. It’s one of my favorite books of the year so far!
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When a new street drug causes multiple deaths and the medical experts have no protocol to help the victims, one doctor decides she cannot just stand by and watch her patients die.  She joins the investigating policeman in following the trail of bodies back to the source.  A particularly good suspense, the characters are well defined, you can see and hear their desperation as they try to stop this manmade epidemic.  I had not read any of Kalla's work before but now will have to research.  Great read!
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We all know about the Opoid crisis and the havoc it has been causing in many communities.  The Last High brings this crisis into a fast paced book that I couldn't put down.
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This was a fast paced read that deals with the opioid crisis and is set in Vancouver.  It really gives a good portrayal of the addiction issue and the heartbreak that comes to the families.  There is also the added element of gangs that just adds to the tension.  A well written thriller that showcases very relevant issues.
I received a free copy of this book from Netgalley and the publisher and voluntarily chose to review it.
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I was hooked on this book from the first chapter. I read one chapter before work and I couldn’t stop thinking about it all day, and I was telling all my co-workers about it because I just wanted to know what was going to happen next! 

Follow Dr Julie Rees and Detective Anson Chen as they try to figure out why there are so many opioid overdoses, in particular ones that are rapidly dying from
the drug. Originally believed to be fentanyl, it is quickly apparent it is not a fentanyl issue. In a race against time to figure out what it is and why so many are dying before more people succumb to this drug, this story deals with addiction, investigation, hospital protocols, and gang wars.

Action filled right from the get-go, this story about the opioid problem in Vancouver will not let you down! There are so many twists and turns and I kept changing my mind about who I thought was behind it and naturally I was wrong haha. It is a very eye-opening story and I love how many questions it created in my brain.

I’ve read Kalla’s historical fiction novels, but this was my first thriller of his and I would definitely read more! I think it’s great the choice of topic with him being an ER doctor and everything he must see in his line of work! It adds a very real element to the story, and I could see this thriller being a real life event. I highly recommend this book! It will keep you on your toes, pique your curiosity, and open your eyes to the very real opioid problem.
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This was just the book I need to keep me engaged and feverishly turning pages.

The story is sent in downtown Vancouver B.C.
A powerful opioid called TLH ( the last high) is killing people at an alarming rate. Julie Rees an emergency room doctor and a toxicologist and a recovering opioid addiction herself,sets off to find out who is supplying the drugs. Anson Chen a handsome and fashionable homicide detective is here companion during this taut medical thriller and police procedural.

Living just across the border from Vancouver and spending a lot of time in the city, it was fun to recognize a lot of the places mentioned. The gangs and the crime was an added bonus.

I look forward to reading more from this author who is an emergency room physician himself.
Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for the advanced copy in exchange for an honest opinion.  4⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
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I was so excited when Netgalley and Simon & Schuster Canada approved me for an ARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review. However, then COVID happened and I had to put off starting a medical thriller until I was emotionally ready to read about random deaths. 

I started The Last High one day before its publishing date (which is today) and read it in one sitting. It was fast paced, riveting and because of the way it's written, was very easy to read.

The story explores the opioid crisis in Vancouver. Obviously well researched, the book does a lot to explain the severity of the crisis and the indiscriminate ways that opioids kill.

Although the book does not fall within my usual genre, it felt nostalgic - like books I read in my 20s from Grisham or Crichton.  I'd give this book a 3-3.5 and recommend it to anyone looking for a compelling quick read.
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One evening, the emergency room at St. Michael’s Hospital is overrun with teenagers near death.  They have all been at the same party.  Dr. Julie Rees, ER physician and toxicologist, recognizes that these kids have taken fentanyl, but they do not react to standard protocols and anti-opioid drugs.  As more victims find their way to the ER, Julie teams up with Detective Anson Chen of the Vancouver Police Department to find the source of the bad drugs.  But finding the source is easier said than done as the police (and Julie) must work their way through the network of drug dealers and gang leaders to stop the flood of death.  What they find is a drug called TLH, the last high.  A good story regarding the opioid crisis in today’s society written by an ER physician who has seen the epidemic first hand.  This is the first book I have read by Daniel Kalla, but it will not be the last.  My thanks to Simon and Schuster and NetGalley for the opportunity to review the ARC of this novel.
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4.5 stars. This was an exciting medical thriller about the opioid crisis in Vancouver, Canada. He did a really good job to convey the suffering and loss associated with this devastating drug. Dr. Julie Rees is a toxicologist who one night while working the ER gets over filled with overdosed teenagers all from a party. She doesn't understand why the drug effected them so quickly. Her and detective Anson Chen work together to track down the supplier while deaths keep piling up. This is a fast-paced story that will reel you in from the begining! The story was very well researched and hits home with how serious opioid addiction is.
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3.5 stars

This was a good fast paced read. It’s a mystery focused on a deadly opiate making the rounds in Vancouver, British Columbia. The investigators are an emergency room doctor and a police detective, with their own pasts and a romantic interest in each other. The author himself is an emergency doctor in Vancouver, where he clearly deals with many opiate deaths. It’s not a complex mystery, but it makes its point without being pedantic, moves quickly and pulls at the heartstrings. This is the type of books that seems to work well for me these days. Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for an opportunity to read an advance copy.
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A haunting portrayal of the emotional toll an ER doctor and police detective face and confront during an alarming opioid crisis.

The innerworkings of drug trafficking and the affect on users are examined when people begin dying from poisonous fentanyl.  This novel shows how one wrong choice affects not only the users but people around them, as well.  Not often seen is the way the doctors who treat victims and those investigating ODs are personally affected.  The feelings of frustration and despair are often too real.  The author captured the general sense of immediacy, anxiety and elation so often experienced in drug cases when users are dying at an alarming rate.

While having the ER doc/toxicologist directly involved with overdose deaths ride along with the detectives seems a tad unreal, it helps the story along.  The story flows better by having questions or explanations about opioids come in the form of conversation as they arise.  

This is a good book to read for information about the drug trade and its intricacies.  It is also a good mystery.  The reader cannot help being moved by the death of teenagers and the callousness of suppliers.  The story is heartbreaking, eye-opening and even humorous, at times.  Suffice to say the reader will be changed by reading it and glad they did.

I received an ARC from Simon and Shuster Canada through NetGalley.  This in no way affects my opinion or rating of this book.  I am voluntarily submitting this review and am under no
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Thank you to Netgalley and Simon & Schuster Canada for an advance readers copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review .

This is the type of medical/ police drama I used to love reading  a few years ago, and it was a nice reintroduction to that genre.

The story explores the current opioid crisis in Vancouver , which quickly escalates when a new batch hits the streets that causes almost sudden death even  in very small dosages (  the last high ).

You can tell the author has done a lot of research on this book. I enjoyed the story and the characters and would definitely read other books by this author. 

4 ⭐️
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The Last High by Daniel Kalla is a highly recommended thriller featuring a killer - the opioid crisis - and the search for the source.

Dr. Julie Rees, a toxicologist and ER doctor in Vancouver, is working the night that a group of six teens from a party arrive at the ER, four are dead and two are fighting for their lives. She clearly suspects that the deaths are due to an overdose of fentanyl. The question is how did all six overdose and could they have bought a batch that is deadly. Julie works with Detective Anson Chen to try and track down the dealer that sold the drugs to the teens. As they look at the known dealers and suppliers, more deaths are occurring. It seems that there is a truly deadly batch of drugs being sold on the streets that is now being labeled "the last high."

This is a well-written fast paced thriller that will hold your attention from beginning to end. Kalla, an ER doctor himself, takes the current opioid crisis and seamlessly weaves it into a shocking search for who is responsible while trying to get the drugs off the street to limit the number of deaths. Any medical information is presented in an easy to understand style and is all definitely part of the plot.  The focus of the action stays on the search for the drug and the mayhem it is causing, so there aren't a lot of side plots or distractions - unless you count the attraction between Julie and Anson, but this is while they are working the case.

Julie and Anson are well developed characters who are both dealing with some personal issues. They are attracted to each other and this comes out clearly in their work to track down the drugs. Personally, I could have done without the romance bit. I would rather have they continued to focus on their search for the suspects and just kept their mutual attraction there, in the background, as they worked.

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of Simon & Schuster.
After publication the review will be posted on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
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Very good book, had some slow parts to it I found in the first half of the book but once I was past that I could not put the book down. First half took me 4 days to get through but the last half was one night. Would like to see more with the two main characters.
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Deadly Drugs

This is a medical mystery which will keep you reading. It is realistic, it could happen at any time in any city. The drugs being sold on the streets become more and more deadly, especially after the dealers have started lacing them with Fentanyl. What happens when the drug is even more powerful than Fentanyl. 
Dr.Julie  Rees is a toxicologist and ER Doctor,  Anson Chen is a homicide detective. When 6 teenagers come into the emergency room with opioid overdoses and all but one dies Dr. Rees knows something is wrong. When there are more deaths she teams up with Anson Chen to find the source of the dangerous drugs and get them off the streets before more people die. 

This proves to be a dangerous problem for many people. It appears they will never find the source of the drug each person leads them somewhere else and none of them have the blue tinted pills which kill upon ingestion.  

This book is a thriller, this drug is more deadly than any virus and  someone is hiding the truth.  Can they find the source and get the drugs off the market before more people die?

This book was frightening to read because it was so real to the current life situation.  Teenagers are so naive and easily manipulated.  A bit of drug in their drink, a pill to help them relax or to stay awake and study.  A bit in their cocaine is immediate death for the unsuspecting addict or the teenager experimenting or the unsuspecting friend at a party.  We have an epidemic of drugs in our country and this fiction book could very well be a live situation.  

It was a thrilling book to read, I think the parents of teenagers should read it.  I recommend it for everyone so they can be aware of the dangers out there.

Thanks to Daniel Kalla, Simon and Schuster Canada, and NetGalley for allowing me to read an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.
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This one felt pretty light on plot. There’s a series of people overdosing from some strain of fentanyl that’s been used to cut other drugs. It also follows emergency room doctor Julie and her cop friend Anson as they try to track down the source. But the stakes don’t feel high as a reader because there’s no mystery and there’s no introduction to the characters who die beyond one or two pages. 

I had issues with the believability of what little plot there was. It’s just not plausible that a poison control expert/emergency room doctor would be brought along to sting operations, to serve search warrants, or to interview witnesses and random dealers on the street. 

This one seemed more like a dark after school special on the dangers of drugs than an actual book with a plot. It had its merits in that the message is timely and important and it’s clearly well researched, but I don’t think the narrative was particularly effective or well done. 

2.8 stars
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