Cover Image: The Last High

The Last High

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Member Reviews

I loved this relevant medical book! I enjoy reading Canadian books as I am a Canadian. This book hit close to home as we are in a huge opioid crisis here.
It was definitely thrilling! I loved it
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This book has been languishing in my to-be-read pile for months.  I keep starting it, but never seem to be able to get into the story.  Thanks to NetGalley for providing access to a digital ARC but this book wasn't able to capture my interest.
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Very well written book that has me looking forward to reading other books by this author. Intriguing look into the back end of the drug trade, and all that could go wrong. I also hope to hear about other books with the same main characters to see where their future goes.
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I work in the medical field and have always loved medical thrillers. This is a great one with plenty of twists and turns. You will not be disappointed!
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This was a fast paced read about the opioid epidemic in Vancouver, and it kept me engaged right through to the last page.  It's touted as a thriller but I wasn't getting that kind of vibe at all.  It almost read like a non-fiction book with the amount of info that was shared.
The author himself is a practicing MD, and that really came through in the characters and the way things were described.
I found the book compelling and insightful, and happily give it ☆☆☆☆.
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Give me anything from Daniel Kalla, Canadian and a doctor to boot. I was drawn in from the first paragraph. An ER doc and a Vancouver detective work together to investigate after a group od teens land in the ER wity fentanyl overdoses. This story is detailed and real and gives an accurate picture of the crisis that is happening everywhere. It is a thoughtful story and so perfectly written. I would highly recommend this to anyone who loves medical mysteries, investigative cops and little bit of love while exploring loss and the everyday struggles of ER docs and cops alike. 

Pick up this book!!!!
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Medical thrillers are always up my alley, and this one was no different. Kalla's writing is so well done in this book, I was rushing through pages before I realized it.
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I'm from Vancouver and I have followed the fentanyl crisis closely. The articles that our local news puts out, including interviews and features from local first responders and ER staff are very similar to the story described in this book. There was a weekend where a bunch of young people in one of the Vancouver suburbs OD'd en masse. I remember reading the articles. I think part of this story is based on that incident.

This book was an intimate, fictionalized-yet-based-on-reality, medical/police thriller take on what's happening in my very own backyard. Very well-described, the main character and her police contact try to determine how all of the overdoses of young teens, seasoned users, and wealthy business types are related...are they? Where is this harder-than-hard drug coming from? Who is dealing it and why?

It was disturbing, and made even more disturbing because it was so relatable and I can attest to the reality behind the "fiction". So, the author's day job is an ER doctor in Vancouver. I guarantee that much of his story, as well as the investigative cop stuff is based on real events. Also living in Vancouver myself I can comfortably assume that this story is based more on fact than fiction.

I have driven through the epicentre of the Vancouver drug crisis...I have accidentally found myself walking along Hastings and Main on more than one occasion. I've seen people on the side of the road with needles hanging out of their arms. It is disturbing and very, very real. The gangsters, users, innocents, and heroes of the healthcare industry as described in this book are also very, very real.

If you want an eye-opening look into the drug crisis and how it's affecting society from the expected users to the unexpected "privileged", as well as a sort of narrative that will guarantee your curious mind never travels down that path...this is the book for you. I really appreciated that the author, while medical in background, did include medical terms, acronyms, and jargon, but made sure to define them so that the average reader knew what was being discussed.

One of my favourite authors, Michael Crichton, also started out like this as an MD who wrote novels in his spare time, and this book did not disappoint. I also love finding out that something I enjoyed was local so I will definitely be checking out more books by this author!

Thank-you to NetGalley and the publisher for my advanced reader copy.

Characters: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Plot: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Writing: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Overall: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
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This is a very intriguing and riveting novel about drugs which takes place in  Vancouver.     It totally keeps your interest and a gripping read
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Julie is a clinical toxicologist and ER physician working the night shift  when multiple fentanyl overdoses are brought to her ER and the race is on to save them.  Anson is one of the Vancouver Police Officers working the case to find out how the kids got the drugs. Follow them as they work together to answer the families questions in aftermath the senseless tragedy of the overdoses. Quick read full of suspense, heartbreak and romance. 

Thank you NetGalley, Daniel Kalla and Simon & Schuster for this edition and hearing my honest review. Looking forward to reading more with you
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This was a book i would never have chose for myself. Off it hadn’t been for receiving those as an ARC i would never have picked it up. I found this book thoroughly entertaining and it kept my attention throughout. Thank you for the ARC! I will now search for other books by this author.
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The opioid crisis is mostly front page news in the 21st century. Daniel Kallas has written a medical drama that views the crisis from multiple perspectives: medical, community, the addict, the person in recovery, the dealers, and law enforcement. The story begins with a group of teens partying with no alcohol or drugs. Except one of the teens decides to spike the lemonade with ecstasy. By the end of the night 6 of the 7 kids would be dead, another dozen would die from the same drug before the crime was solved. Solving the crime would fall upon Dr. Julie Rees, ER doctor and toxicologist, and Detective Anson Chen, from the Vancouver Police Department.

The Last High allows the reader to understand the issues as seen by the various players. We meet the addict who is always an addict; we meet the dealers who are as much businessmen as they are filthy criminals; and we meet members of law enforcement who have seen it all.

Daniel Kalla, an emergency physician from Vancouver BC, presents a compelling story that draws the reader into the lives of all concerned. The book also provides an overview of the opioid crisis to those of us who are not involved directly in the midst of it. My only wish is that a book, though fiction, that delves into a subject of current interest might include an epilogue that suggest places that the general reader could learn more about the opioid epidemic and how the public can help address the problems it creates. Alas, this book is missing this final step.
This review is based on a free electronic copy provided by the publisher for the purpose of creating this review. The opinions expressed are my own.
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There is a certain eerie element to this tale in that it seems like something that is coming right out of the newspaper headlines in real time. With the escalation of deaths attributed to Opioids, the concept of a lethal, tainted batch of Fentanyl making it onto the streets isn’t so far off. Set in Vancouver, Canada, ER doctor Julie Rees has seen a lot in her life. She herself is a recovering Opioid addict who lost her fiancé to an overdose. Living with her guilt she feels compelled to do all she can to save the lives of addicts who come into her ER. She is unprepared for an accidental overdose that brings multiple teenagers into her ER. Unlike other Opioid cases, this unfortunate group of teens are succumbing at an alarming rate. They are only the beginning as it becomes apparent that a particularly deadly batch of Fentanyl is on the streets. Julie joins her friend, Detective Anson Chen, in the investigation. With many powerful drug sellers in the game, who would have the motivation to release a deadly batch of Fentanyl? Like I said this story has a real life vibe to it, which is also bolstered by the author’s obvious experience in the medical field. This is a story that has a little bit of everything. A little romance, a multidimensional look into the drug world, excitement, and a touch of sadness for all the lives affected by these insidious drugs. Any one of them, while they are fictional could stand in and represent a real life cut short. Review posted to Goodreads. Amazon, Litsy, Facebook and LibraryThing.
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Based on reviews, I went into this with lofty expectations. That being said, I found the first half rather mediocre, wondering whether I was reading a different book. It wasn't until the last 25% where the pace and intensity really picked up, making this an extremely enjoyable read.
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The Last High is set in Vancouver & centers on the opioid epidemic. The novel opens with a group of teenagers overdosing at a party & being brought the the emergency department where Dr. Julia Rees works. Dr. Rees is a former opioid addict who lost her partner to a fentanyl overdose. Dr. Rees works tirelessly to save two of the teenagers, but is flummoxed as to why the fentanyl affected them so quickly & why multiple doses of naloxone failed to revive most of the teens. Dr. Rees soon teams up with Detective Anson Chen to discover who is dealing the drugs, which come to been known as the last high. This story is suspenseful & the characters are relatable. Mr. Kalla draws upon his experiences & expertise as an ER physician to led authenticity to The Last High. Opioid dependency & overdose is a tragically timely topic & Mr. Kalla represents it realistically while acknowledging the complexities of addiction. Overall, The Last High is a thought-provoking read that addresses the opioid crisis in a sensitive way using the unique perspective of a former addict. Thank you NetGalley & publisher for an ARC of this novel.
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I enjoyed this book, especially being from Vancouver. So much was familiar and the epidemic of drug abuse was portrayed really well. I liked looking at this from a doctor's point of view. The characters were good and I'm sure will get better with future installments.
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Warning: there a lot of characters in this book. But I wouldn’t say that’s a downside!

This crime thriller read like an intertwining puzzle much like you’d see in most popular crime shows such as CSI or Law and Order. The way the thriller was written really kept you wanting to read further! I think my only difficulty was the fact that there were a good amount of characters that perhaps only had a tiny bit of “page time” due to the storyline. 

Also, this book is set in Canada (Vancouver to be exact), and I was not aware of the way fentanyl is handled in that region. I’m from the US. So that was sort of a learning curve and I wish I had researched more about it before reading. But not knowing did not effect the reading experience. You learn about it as you read. 

Overall, an enjoyable reading experience for any crime or thriller reader.
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This was a fairly standard thriller, kind of like something James Patterson might have published -- the prose is not very engaging and some of the characters engage in super unethical behaviour but are still portrayed as the hero/protagonist. The author obviously knows medicine very well and the ER scenes seem very realistic. (The characters do spread the urban legend that you can overdose on some powerful opioids just by skin contact with the powdered form though.) Also it's very clearly set in Vancouver (except St. Paul's is called St. Michael's) and there's a ton of accurate local colour, which I enjoyed (one or two of the characters even graduated from the university I work at). Several viewpoint characters pop up for just a short chapter or two, but most of them kind of feel like the same voice. It does bring the focus on the epidemic of opioid overdoses here in BC though, which I also think is a good thing.
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Mystery | 16-Adult
I’ve always enjoyed medical thrillers, devouring Robin Cook’s Coma in my mid-teens; annoying my surgeon who discovered a Michael Palmer novel on my bed during recovery; and now, Daniel Kalla, who first wowed me with Pandemic (yup!) some 15 years ago. His work is imbued with realism and authenticity as he works as an ER doctor in downtown Vancouver’s St Paul’s Hospital, and that comes through in spades in this new book drawn from the real-life opioid crisis that plagues our nation’s streets, still killing more people than the current Covid-19 pandemic. Dr. Julie Rees is a Vancouver ER doctor who also works for the Poison Control Centre. Both roles come into play as she first deals with a group of five teens from the same party who are rushed into emergency from drug overdoses, only two of them still alive.
She fights hard to save one in particular, putting her on a heart-lung bypass even though it’s obviously too late. That decision is driven by her own tragic loss of a loved one to street opioids, but it leads a superior to call for a formal review as it violates hospital protocol. Despite this looming threat, Julie joins forces with Det. Anson Chen to find out the source of the deadly drug as more cases and bodies pile up. Their work takes them to the needle-littered streets of the downtown east side as well as the tony mansions of the ultra-rich in Vancouver. This book takes a critical look at the heartless and limitless greed that drives the illegal drug industry, though Kalla’s approach to drug users and their stories is mostly quite compassionate. There is some description of torture and violence, but generally this is a mainstream look at an oft-ignored issue. Good pacing, realistic medical situations and authentic dialogue all help to lift this into an interesting story, though the characters aren’t as well developed as I’d like, and an annoying romantic thread adds little to the storyline. Local friends can find an e-version to borrow from the Grand Forks (B.C.) & District Public Library. My thanks to Simon and Schuster Canada for the digital reading copy provided through NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.
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Let me start off by saying INCREDIBLE! I love a good medical thriller and I enjoyed this from start to finish.

The Last High is exciting, thrilling and realistic. 

In Vancouver, B.C., Dr. Julie Rees has a lot on her plate with a surge of overdoses in her ER. Together with Detective Anson Chen, she must work quickly to figure out the source of the deadly drug before it’s distributed any further.

The chemistry between Julie and Anson is a great addition to all the mystery and fast paced action going on. The flirtation mixed in with such a serious story adds a bit of lightness and realness to their characters.

This novel has quite the mix of secondary characters, from professionals and unsuspecting teenagers using drugs, to a dealer in love with a junky. It’s eye opening realizing how many levels of people are involved in the drug trade and on the medical and legal side of it.

In depth and believable characters and a well researched idea on an intriguing topic. 

I will definitely be checking out more from author Daniel Kalla!

Thanks to the author, NetGalley and Simon & Schuster Canada for the ARC of this book in exchange for the honest review provided here.
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