Cover Image: The Last High

The Last High

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Member Reviews

Thank you Netgalley and Simon & Schuster Canada for the advanced copy of The last high by Daniel Kalla. I enjoyed this medical thriller it had everything going for it. fast paced action, current theme, suspense and what I liked a Canadian backdrop (Vancouver!) I wish I had read this earlier in the year (before I was swamped with other medical drama) but thats on me. And my only criticism was the number of characters, and some of the medical terms. But I do recommend this books to fans of medical thrillers! 3 1/2 stars
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This was my first Daniel Kalla book. It will not be my last. I am always happy to discover an author new to me.

The Last High is a medical/crime story set in Vancouver, BC. The city is truly a character in the book. I was supposed to be there this month, so it was a treat to travel vicariously through this novel. It begins with a group of teenagers who unwittingly ingest fentanyl at a party and many of them die. Dr. Julia Rees and Detective Anson Chen combine forces to trace the supply chain in hopes of preventing more deaths. The cross-section of users, gang syndicates that sell drugs, and facts about opioids in general, made for an interesting read. It wasn’t a suspenseful page-turner, but it was an engrossing read with a lightning-fast wrap up.

Thanks to NetGalley and Simon and Schuster Canada for the eARC in exchange for an unbiased review.
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** spoiler alert ** This is a 3.5 rounded up to 4. Definitely not a 3 but not quite a 4. The Last High is about poisoned fentanyl which has found it's way into the Vancouver population. I'd like to say thanks to the author for basing this story in Canada and highlighting a huge problem that many cities are facing. I learned quite a bit about the fentanyl crisis in Vancouver but really the opiod crisis is everywhere. Did you know that a person who is overdosing on opiods could still be awake but unable to breathe? The opiod suppresses the part of the brain stem responsible for terrifying is that? Some other scary yet practical information involving organ donations is also brought forward.
The author Daniel Kalla is an emergency room physician so he always brings a unique perspective to his medical thrillers. Despite the seriousness of the topic he has incorporated a love story between two emotionally scarred individuals who are at the forefront trying to figure out who is distributing the tainted fentanyl. He also injects a little humour when he makes mention that some people who work in ICU only do so part-time and that "one guy even writes books-medical thrillers-they're not half bad." Nice self-deprecating touch Mr. Kalla.
My issue with this book is that I would have liked it to be more thrilling. I was hoping the source of the tainted fentanyl would have been a little less "oh is that who" and more "wow I didn't see that one coming" It was still a good read from one of my favourite authors, but the ending fell a little flat for me.

Thank you to NetGalley & Simon & Schuster Canada for the ARC and the opportunity to provide my unbiased opinion.
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Daniel Kalla has written numerous novels, many of which are, like this one, medical thrillers.  When he is not writing he works as an ER doctor in Vancouver, so is very familiar with the central subject of this story - the opioid epidemic.  The story revolves around Dr. Julia Rees who works as an ER doctor and toxicologist and police detective Anson Chen.  When a large group of teenagers are brought in to the ER suffering overdoses and multiple naloxone doses do not help, the two must work together to figure out what and how the deaths occurred.  This is an easy read  and a good recommendation for fans of the genre.  It is interesting to note that Kalla's first novel is entitled 'Pandemic' and was inspired by his experience with the SARS outbreak.
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The Last High by Daniel Kalla is a very well researched, suspenseful and extremely graphic novel about the opioid crisis and those fighting the battle from the front lines.

Dr. Julie Rees is a toxicologist and ER doctor whose night shift becomes a nightmare of death as one teenager after another from the same party is brought in overdosing and dying from a form of fentanyl that is strong enough to tranquilizer an elephant.

Detective Anson Chen, with Dr. Rees, is determine to get this drug off the street that has been given the name The Last High. As we see how the investigation unfolds leading to street drug pushers, dangerous drug cartels and greedy pharmaceutical companies we are left knowing that this fight for a habitual drug free society is an uphill battle to say the least.

The author, Daniel Kalla, is himself a doctor and the hospital scenes ring very true. He has the uncanny ability to build up tension not just in the ER but when leads are being followed and in the relationship between the doctor and the detective.

This book can be very gritty in its realistic approach to what doctors and police are facing in the real world. It is not for the faint of heart. Some scenes were so graphic in their depiction of death and violence that I skipped over those paragraphs. However, this is a testament to the author's ability to bring a true picture into the reader's mind with his writing talent. I will be reading his other books.

I received a free copy of this book from the publishers, Simon & Schuster Canada via NetGalley for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.
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This is a topical thrill ride!  Julie is an ER doc and toxicologist in Vancouver. One night, multiple teens arrived dead or dying in her ER, all as the result of an overdose at a party.  Then others begin to die as well. She works with Anson, a detective constable to first understand why- what drug was the culprit- and then how that drug made it into the user chain.  The multiple perspectives, not only Julie and Anson, but also the users and dealers, make the novel come alive.  There's a real sense of both foreboding and tension and yes, a little romance between Anson and Julie, both of whom carry guilt for how someone they loved died.  I liked this for the characters, the setting, the medical information, and the fact that it's a good old fashioned page turner.   Thanks to the publisher for the arc..  At another point in time, I'd recommend this as a perfect travel book but for now, trust that you will have a hard time putting it down.
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Although this is a fast-paced medical thriller and was very well-researched by the physician author, I found myself bogged down repeatedly by the sheer number of characters.  There were too many for me to keep track of, so after I while, I just quit and hoped that I wouldn’t miss anything by my decision.  The plot is one that is certainly timely, since it deals with the opioid crisis and the dangers of fentanyl.  Dr. Julia Rees is an ER doctor and she teams up with Detective Anson Chase when multiple teens show up in the ER having overdosed on drugs.  Most of these teens pass away so the two of them decide to track down the evil supplier of this deadly drug.  The setting changes rapidly also, even delving into the rich and famous as well as the dark underbelly of the drug world.  The plot was also complicated but it was well-written and did keep my interest.  As a fan of medical thrillers like those written by Robin Cook and Michael Crichton, I had high expectations for this one.  I did not find it as absorbing as the authors I usually go to for this genre, but in fairness, this is the first book that I have read by this author, so I will definitely look for other books by him to see if the complicated plot and number of characters is part of his writing style.  Fans of medical thrillers will enjoy the book, buy you may need pencil and paper nearby to keep track of the setting, the action and the characters.
Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley.  I was not required to write a positive review.  The opinions expressed are my own.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255, “Guides Concerning the Use of Testimonials and Endorsements in Advertising.”
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The Last High is the perfect book to read during this current pandemic.  Although it doesn't refer to COVID-19, it focuses on the opioid crisis and the growing dangers of fentanyl and carfentanyl as they enter the distribution system of illegal drugs.  Kalla does an excellent job of describing the crisis and keeping the action going in cat and mouse style.  The Last High is perfect for book clubs that like medical thrillers with substance.
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Just wow. I really enjoyed this book. It’s unlike anything else I have ever read. It’s so hard to put down and kept my interest right from the start. 

An ER doctor and toxicologist helping out a detective after the deadliest new drug hits the streets and starts out by killing a group of high school kids. It’s compelling and so real, because it is real. It happens every day in every major city. I applaud Kalla for writing about such a taboo topic. 

Real and raw main characters that I really wanted to get to know. And a topic that is far too overlooked
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Just finished reading THE LAST HIGH by Daniel Kalla. Official publication date is May 12th, 2020.

Dr. Julie Rees is an ER doctor, she had thought she had seen it all. Until one night her emergency room is flooded with teenagers on the brink of death due to multiple fentanyl overdoses. But these aren't your typical overdoses and Julie can tell that something else is going on being a recovering addict herself.

Julie teams up with the very handsome Detective Anson Chen, to get to the bottom of these overdoses. What they find is a huge drug underworld on the streets of Vancouver. They must race against the clock to get these drugs, now known as 'The Last High' off the street and prevent future deaths.

If you like medical and crime dramas, this one would be right up your alley. I highly recommend for a quick reading escape, but a relevant one that had me hooked from chapter one. Also being a medical thriller, I enjoyed that Daniel Kalla made all the medical terminology easily understandable for a lay person to understand.
( ⭐⭐⭐⭐💫/5)
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3.5 Stars 
The last line of the blurb for this book sums up this book, more or less.  

 “The Last High explores the perfect storm of greed, addiction, and crime behind the   malignant spread of fentanyl, a deadly drug that is killing people faster than any known epidemic.”

This last month may have altered the last part of that statement as the Covid-19 pandemic takes a huge toll in the world. Sadly the opioid crisis will remain long after a vaccine is found and the world returns to the streets and alleys looking for their next fix.

This is my first book by Kalla and I appreciated his knowledge surrounding life in the Emerg department (ED) which leant a real life feel to this thriller. I also liked learning about the drug business, about those who control the flow of fentanyl into the country down to those who distribute on the street. Knowing how dangerous fentanyl and carfentanil can be, I have wondered in the past why it is used so freely. Secondary characters like Bunsen the cook helped me understand the processes needed to turn the illegal drugs into something desired not only by the addicts on the streets but by recreational users. The drug trade is a  house of cards, a cut throat and deadly house. 

The investigation and hunt for the source of the drug causing so much death moved at a smooth pace as did the growing attraction between Emerg doc and toxicologist Dr. Julie Rees and Detective Anson Chen. Setting the story on the streets of Vancouver, a hot spot for imported drugs added to the realistic feel of this thriller. I did struggle with the way the toxicologist was allowed to assist the detective in routine interviews with suspects in the case. It’s an effective way to ramp up tension putting the pretty young doctor at risk but this is the point where fiction takes over from facts. No police force would allow this kind of involvement on the street.  

I did enjoy this made in Canada medical thriller and look forward to reading other books Dr. Kalla has written. His book “Pandemic” is high on my list. 

ARC received with thanks from publisher via Net Galley for review
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First off I want to thank @netgalley, @simonandschusterca & Daniel Kalla for my free advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.
What a great book revealing the unfortunate events unfolding from the opioid crisis in Vancouver. Incredible fast paced medical thriller. Well I'd say more maybe police/medical procedural.
This was honestly very eye opening to me regarding this issue, I was so intrigued from beginning to end. I literally couldn't stop reading it was so well written, proper language utilized and proper medical terms which for me upped my reading experience even more. The plot is so engaging with very well thought out characters. My only issue was that they're were a lot of characters with unusual names which made it hard to follow sometimes. 
If you enjoy thrillers/police/medical procedurals definitely pick this one up it'll keep you engaged.
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The emergency rooms and (even more sadly) the morgues, suddenly become filled with overdose victims, all who it seems took the same drug, Dr. Julie Rees, a toxicologist and ER doctor teams up with Detective Anson Chen to try to trace the drugs back to the source and get them off the streets and the ones responsible behind bars.
I was hoping for more plot twists or excitement, but it was more about the drug trade than anything.  It was very insightful and terrifying to think about.  I would recommend it if you are looking for a quick read with a little suspense and a lot of information.
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In this riveting novel from international bestselling author Daniel Kalla, a Vancouver doctor and a detective face the deadly consequences of the opioid crisis as they track down the supplier of fentanyl that landed a group of teens in the ER with critical overdoses.
This is a fantastic book dealing with a major problem taking place in the world today. It hits home to me as a friend of my sons from back in his youth was one of five people in Ottawa who overdosed and died  when n the cocaine they were taking was laced with fentanyl.  A terrible night for a lot of families. 
 Dr. Daniel Kalla would know all about that as he works at  St. Pauls Hospital in Vancouver. Probably the  busiest hospital in Canada for opioid overdoses. That is why this book rings true on so many levels. It’s a  rea problem with no real solutions considering the amount of street level drugs this stuff is popping up in.
The main protagonists all seem true to life, the plot line is and the dialogue makes this book a pleasure to read. I’d have to rate this as one of my favorite books in a long while. I am certainly going to have to look into his previous releases. I’d say this is pretty much a must read!
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The Last High follows a Vancouver ER doctor, Julie, who is on shift when a group of teens are brought in after an overdose.  Julie has her own drug history and feels an immediate connection to one of the teens, and an immediate need to find a resolution when it's determined that the OD was from an extremely dangerous batch of fentanyl.  Julie pairs up with the police to find the source and try to put this batch out of circulation, even though it won't end the opiod crisis.  
The book is a good crime drama, and I like the medical aspect, especially since I work in a hospital.  The story also follows Julie's love life, which is a much lighter storyline through the plot.  The only part that I found unlikely was that Julie would be able to work so closely with the cops, as far as traveling with them during their investigation and interviews.
I found this book to be fast-paced and very interesting, as there are a lot of details to the drug trade that I haven't really thought about, but obviously are all part of the system.  The book made it clear that it's entirely too easy for a bad batch to hit the streets.  The book is relevant, given the amount of people the opiod crisis is killing, and I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good medical or crime thriller.  I'm definitely going to read more books by this author.
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Part character study, part mystery, part medical thriller, and part romantic suspense. Each part is expertly crafted, and the sum is more than the considerable parts. 
Many thanks to Simon& Schuster and to NetGalley for providing me with a galley in exchange for my honest opinion.
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A medical thriller based on opioid usage spreading through all walks of life with no distinct or known dealer. A novel which is written by an ER Doctor? What an incredible combination. You KNOW it's going to have legit details and an awesome storyline that will be realistic, relatable and crosses every "t" and dots every "i" within the unfolding. I loved Daniel Kalla's style as this was my first novel I've read. I am definitely looking up "Pandemic" to add to my ever growing TBR list!

I LOVED THIS BOOK as hard as it was to read at times with death at every turn. It was a quick page-turner that I dove into and didn't want to end! Edge of my seat, speed reading kind of book!

Thank you NetGalley for my complimentary eARC in exchange for my honest review!
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The Last High is a fast paced medical thriller that follows an ER doctor and detective as they race to remove an extremely lethal drug that has been unleashed on the Vancouver streets. Dr. Julie Rees is working the night shift one evening when a party of teenagers are rushed to the ER for drug overdoses. Detective Anson Chen is assigned to the case to figure out who brought the drugs to the party and Julie is pleasantly surprised when he interviews her because they’ve been flirting on and off for months. Julie figures out the teenagers were drugged with carfentanil and soon they are not the only victims of a potent blend of narcotics, as it becomes known as “The Last High” on the streets. Anson and Julie won’t stop until they find the source of the drugs and save other addicts from certain death.

I enjoyed Kalla’s story because there was action right from the start and his plotline was to the point. There was some great character development and I could definitely see this becoming a series. Julie and Anson are very likeable as individuals and as a couple. The length was great (not too long) and I thought the setting of Vancouver was an excellent choice. As a fellow Canadian, I am aware of the difficulties that the city is facing with opioids and homelessness. My only criticism is that I found myself questioning some of the logistics. Julie was often riding along with Anson while completing official police investigations, and I was pondering if that would be a violation of confidentiality. He also shared many details about the case and let her question subjects. Overall, an enjoyable medical thriller but could have used some more zest!
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A medical thriller and romantic suspense story. Setting is Vancouver, Canada. The main character, Dr. Julie Rees, is an ER physician, and teams up with two detectives Anson and Theo. Together, they must find out who is supplying the deadly fentanyl. This thriller takes the reader from the downtown streets to the wealthy and upscale business world. I can see why the title of this book is The Last High. Easy read, engaging, and truly suspenseful.
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I received an advanced copy through Net Galley. Overall it was an enjoyable read that kept you wanting to know what happened next. I liked the combination of a doctor and a detective and that it focused on OD’s and the fentanyl problem as traditionally mysteries murders are more serial killers and hit men. I found the main female doctor character to be a bit annoying at time, but overall the characters were adequate. I would recommend it as an enjoyable quick read.
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