Cover Image: The Last High

The Last High

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Member Reviews

I received this book as an ARC from NetGalley.

This novel combines both medical and police procedural investigations into a rash of opioid deaths in Vancouver, BC. A group of teenagers who had attended the same party end up in the ER and are seen by a doctor who is also a toxicologist. Most of the teens are DOA. At the same time, there are drug-related deaths on the streets in far greater numbers than usual.

The detectives and the doctor team up to uncover the source of the deadly drug, termed, "The Last High" or TLH. As they progress through the investigation, we see the various steps that both the medical and police personnel have to take to get to the source of this epidemic. I felt that the subject matter was particularly timely in light of the increase in opioid addiction in our society.

I really enjoyed the interplay among the main characters. The story will keep your attention to the end.
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A medical thriller that has a young doctor and detective work together to discover what is causing the users of a certain drug to die so quickly . Lots of action and a keen insight on how people cope with trauma and drugs in their lives.
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I really enjoyed this book. I am glad that I’ve had medical terminology in my past even though the author does do an excellent job of defining the medical terms he is using. I found all the medical procedures exciting and I think that only a true ER physician could bring that to life and this author did that quite well. I enjoyed the plot however I did find it a bit unbelievable that an ER doctor would go around investigating the overdoses along with the detectives. Detective Anson Chen was by far my favorite character and I would have loved to seen a bit more character development. Just my opinion. I look forward to reading more of this author’s work.
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Great book from beginning to end. Grips the reader right away and does a great job of keeping you guessing. Particularly the ability to throw in a new character, but just when you are wondering how they fit in, something else happens that makes you not think about it, until the author wants you to remember their name! Loved it!
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This is the first Daniel Kalla book I've read and I will definitely be seeking out more. Set in Vancouver, BC The Last High is a medical thriller that teams a toxicologist/ER doctor with a detective to solve the sudden rise in overdoses in the city. The well developed main characters, each with their own backstory/baggage, develop a romance while solving the mystery in this fast paced thriller.  Highly recommended
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The Last High, Daniel Kalla's latest thriller, which takes on the opioid crisis, is forthcoming on May 12, 2020.  The last high is the drug, carfentanil, a derivative of fentanyl, so pure almost everyone who tries it ends up dead.  Dr. Julie Rees, a recovering addict, is an emergency physician and a clinical toxicologist.  On duty one night she and her colleagues are confronted with several overdosed teenagers, who went to the same party in Vancouver.  The culprit turns out to be carfentanil.  As the days pass, more and more people die.

Julie teams up with Detectives Anson Chen and Theo Kostas to try to find out where the caefentanil
is coming from.  Together, they trace Persian gangs, East Indian Chauderies, Scandanavian drug dealers, World Soldiers, and Chinese Triads, while each of these organizations searches within itself to see who could be cooking up tainted product.

The Last High has action, adventure, romance, and intrigue. There is violence, but no more than the subject matter seems to demand.   The pace starts a bit slowly, but is soon rollicking along as a good thriller should.  The characters, especially some of the supporting characters, are finely rendered.  Altogether,, The Last High is a surprisingly enjoyable read.  Recommended.  Thank you to Simon and Schuster and NetGalley for the ARC of The Last High in return for this honest review.
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I wanted to like this book so badly. It was right up my wheelhouse. It started off strong, but my attention soon waned and I found myself constantly checking how much progress I had made. I almost DNF'd it, but pushed through.

I guess it just wasn't for me. I was so invested for the first 75ish pages and then just couldn't keep myself interested in it.
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This is not a book for me. Too many characters; too much medical jargon. The detective and doctor had no chemistry. It almost felt like they had worked a case together prior but there was no back story for them.  Story felt contrived. Just not an author I would read again.
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If I ever had the inclination to do street drugs, this book would set me straight fast (thankfully, what few painkillers I've been prescribed over the years by my dentist always upset my stomach and did nothing to ease the pain, so even if I get them offered to me in the future, I'll just say no). Alas, that's not true of many of the characters in this book, which puts an ugly spotlight on the widespread illicit drug trade in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Julie Rees, an emergency room physician and toxicology specialist, is thrown in the center of the action one night as several teenagers are brought in - some in cardiac arrest and others already dead. One boy has a chance of surviving, and one of the girls has been put on a ventilator in the slim hope she might pull through. Julie is sympathetic, in part because she once was an addict herself (some of the details are revealed throughout the book), but she's been clean for several years.

Julie is friends (without benefits, at least at the outset) with Anson Chen, a local police detective. Together with other experts, they conclude that an extremely deadly drug - pure carfentanil, said to be thousands of times stronger than fentanyl - has somehow found its way to the public. Their task? Finding the source, and, if at all possible, rounding up all of what's on the street that hasn't already been injested before hundreds more die.

There's not much else I can say without giving away too much, but the trail takes Anson and Julie from dealers on the street to gangs to wealthy "businessmen" who have a lucrative side job (in fact, there are so many characters that early on I quit trying to keep them straight). It still seems incredible that an ER physician with no police training is allowed to tag along on dangerous police business like raids (who you know counts, I guess), but the whole thing adds up to a fast-paced story that carries a strong message. Thanks to the publisher, via NetGalley, for letting me read and review an advance copy.
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The setting is Vancouver, Canada. Dr. Julie Rees is an ER doctor as well as a toxicologist, who is mystified when young people who attended the same party begin to stream into the ER. Nearly all are close to death and appear to be cases of overdose.

To make this mystery even more interesting, Dr. Rees has a past history and knowledge that involves opiate abuse and death. She is aware and on high alert. But this current problem isn’t responding to the normal method of treating overdoses.

It doesn’t take too long before Fentanyl is suspected of being the drug that is causing the overdoses. But the reactions seem extreme, even for Fentanyl.

So Dr. Rees quickly begins working with Anson Chen, a detective in the Vancouver Police Department. As they search for answers it becomes more and more apparent that tainted drugs are the problem.

If you’re interested in medical details, you will certainly find them included in this story. The author, Dr. Daniel Kalla, brings a reality to the medical scenes that are full of insights into health care and emergencies.

My Thoughts

I love medical jargon and medical stories, but I did have a little trouble with this book. Why? I’m not sure. I can’t seem to put my finger on it. Perhaps my problem was more the mystery. Basically, it was locating the source of the deadly drug, which just didn’t feel suspenseful.

The story delves into the drug world, yet keeps tabs on what is happening in the hospital with the overdosed patients.

While it is a good book, I didn’t feel any page-turning rush to find an answer.

What Concerned Me
It just didn’t capture my desire to find an answer and solve the mystery. I think the topic, though relevant, didn’t capture my need to know.

What I Liked Most
I’m one who definitely appreciates medical jargon and hospital descriptions. Thumbs up, Dr. Daniel Kalla. I thoroughly enjoyed that.

And finally, kudos to a man who is both a physician and author. I’m very, very impressed! And I will be watching for your next novel.

This review falls very much in the minority. If you like a crime novel, medical atmosphere, a bit of romance, drug sellers and gang leaders who many times hide behind legitimate fronts, I totally suggest you give this novel a try!

My thanks to NetGalley and Simon & Schuster for an ARC of this book. I also appreciate the ability to review it with my honest evaluation.
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Eerily plausible. THE LAST HIGH takes readers inside today's headlines into the world of both opiod addiction and the current rates of overdose deaths due to drugs being laced with the extremely powerful painkiller, fentanyl. 

According to Wikipedia, "The Downtown Eastside is a neighbourhood in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. The area, one of the city's oldest, is the site of a complex set of social issues including high levels of drug use, homelessness, poverty, crime, mental illness, and prostitution." 

The East side of Vancouver, is notorious and holds onto its reputation as the epicenter of hopelessness. This area was not only the hunting ground of prolific serial killer Robert Picton, but is also known for the number of junkies and drug addicts who live there. 

Overdoses are not uncommon in East Van, and Author Daniel Kalla works as an Emergency Room doctor, so he sees, and tries to save, many of the unfortunate victims of overdose - mainly due to fentanyl being added to the drugs users usually buy unbeknownst to the buyer. 

The terrifying plausibility is what makes this book so very realistic. It is this realism that will grip readers from the very first page. 

This book is fast paced and the characters seem so real that is impossible not to get caught up in the story. Readers of this book are in for quite a ride. I found myself wanting to jump into some of the scenes and just shake the people involved. 

I have no choice but to rate this book as 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 

THE LAST HIGH is due to be released on May 12th but is already available for Pre-Order. I am fairly certain that this book will hit the bestseller lists shortly after it's release. Because of this I highly recommend pre-ordering THE LAST HIGH so that you don't miss out. 

Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this book.
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THE LAST HIGH by Daniel Kalla is a medical thriller and a romantic suspense story set in Vancouver, Canada.  Dr. Julie Rees is a toxicologist and emergency room doctor. One night the ER is filled with overdosed teenagers from the same party. While she initially suspects fentanyl, she doesn’t yet understand why it affected them so quickly. With deaths mounting up, she teams up with Detective Anson Chen to track down the supplier of the deadly drugs. 

The author is an ER physician in a teaching hospital in Vancouver and his expertise gave this novel a realistic feel. As a reader, I felt like I was in the ER with the doctors and nurses trying to save lives. The characters were compelling and well developed. They felt real and had distinct voices, flaws and virtues. Their motivations seemed believable and well-drawn. The internal and external conflicts were well defined for each main character. The main characters were bold, spirited, and unswerving in their pursuit of the opioids and their supplier. The stakes and tension were high and made this book a page turner. The descriptions were vivid and gave a clear sense of urgency and place. 

Overall, this was a complex, compelling, thought-provoking and suspenseful read. Themes include emergency medicine, drug use, drug overdose, second chances, torture, murder and much more. This is only the second book that I have read by this author, but I am looking forward to reading more of his books.

Thanks to Simon & Schuster Canada and Daniel Kalla for a complimentary ARC of this novel via NetGalley and the opportunity to provide an honest review. Opinions are mine alone and are not biased in any way.
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A new and deadly form of opioid is killing people in Vancouver.  Julie, a recovering addict, is an ER Doctor and also a Toxologist working with the Police and poison control on these cases.  The novel reads like you, the Reader, is on the streets of Vancouver with them.  The author, himself an ER Physician, is remarkably knowledgeable about the situation and the area and is an exceptional writer who brings his readers right into it.  Thanks to Net Galley and Simon and Schuster for an ARC for an honest review.
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I recommend The Last High.  It's part medical drama, part suspense and part love story.  The characters are quite well developed and not your stereotypical doctor, cop, etc.  There is a sense of urgency to solve the epidemic facing this town and meeting people who will stop at nothing to ensure that happens.  You understand how their backstories and lives all intertwine as everyone has a piece of themselves vested in how to catch the drug dealer.  The Last High kept me entertaining throughout and in anticipation of finally finding out how the bad drugs got on the street.
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Who is the supplier of the deadly fentanyl? Why have so many people, particularly teens come into a Vancouver ER, overdosed and dying? It hits too close to home for Dr. Julie Rees and it terrifies her, because she knows the pain opioid addiction and overdose cause and she is determined to help the police find the monsters getting rich off the lives of addicts.

Daniel Kalla’s THE LAST HIGH gives a raw, edgy and heartbreaking look into a tale of monsters hiding in the shadow, hooking their victims and reeling them in, hit by hit, dollar by dollar and now death by death. One doctor who knows about addiction and its toll will desperately join the chase to uncover who is responsible for the lives destroyed. As the list of suspects grow, so does the body count, many just teens looking for a little fun in all the wrong places.

Sit back and dive into a fast-paced tale with grit as the true faces of the victims and those who care about them come to life. This gripping nightmare is real and while told as fiction, is like going through the looking glass and seeing all sides of both the worst and best of mankind. Powerful reading.

I received a complimentary ARC edition from Simon & Schuster! This is my honest and voluntary review.
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Julie, a toxicologist and ER doctor, is horrified when cases of massive overdoses start streaming into the ER. Since the ability to revive the victims unusually low, even with all the resources of a hospital, it is clear that something new has hit the streets. Detective Anson allows Julie to work with him in finding the source of the deadly drugs. Daniel Kalla has written a book here that will educate about the dangers of street drugs, while providing entertainment at the same time for those who like books with medical investigators, police procedurals, and thrillers.
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Great Book!
Julie is an ER doctor who happens to be workin when a group of unconscious teens are brought in from an apparent group drug overdose.  Sadly, only one teen survives, but he appears to have little memory of what happened at the party.  Toxicology report concludes that what the kids ingested was actually a lethal pill of pure poison being called TLH (The Last High) on the streets.  As more cases of overdose from the same drug turn up at the hospital, Julie teams up with Detectives Anson and Theo to try to uncover who is selling, cooking, and supplying the lethal drugs on the street before this leads to the deaths of hundreds of people.  
Plot was intricate, but easy to follow with well developed characters and a great ending.  
I received an advance copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
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Great story that parallels real life.  The characters where well written and believable.  It's amazing how easily mistakes are made, and those mistakes can be deadly.
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I received this book from Netgalley in return for an honest review. 

The Last High is a very engaging read - fast paced and thought provoking. 

Dr Julie Rees is a toxicologist and an ER doctor, and she teams up with Detective Anson Chen to try and find out what is happening in Vancouver when young people are dying of overdoses before they can even be treated at the hospital. As the number of cases increase, she suspects Fentanyl to be the cause, but the patients reactions are much too extreme. 

The pair start investigating the underworld of Vancouver - the rival drug distributing gangs, the pill creators, other suspected victims. They find a network of connections from the richest of the richest to the poorest of the poor, all driven by greed and the overpowering lure of the opioids. 

Both Julie and Anson have baggage from their personal lives that drive their investigations forward. 

The characters are very well drawn, and the medical situations are written in a way that makes them easy to follow. Not surprising that Daniel Kalla is an ER doctor himself. I have read two of his previous World War 2 novels, and found them equally engaging. Look forward to reading more by this author.
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Just how dangerous can the opioid crisis become? Daniel Calla's "The Last High" will expose one way that will make your imagination gasp. An ER physician/toxicologist and former addict who lost the man she loved due to an overdose, joins forces with detectives in a race against time to track down how a group of teens all suddenly died from overdosing under strange conditions. Even worse, they know that something is out there, ready to kill hundreds, if not thousands more if they can't act quickly enough to stop it.

I liked the two lead characters very much and several of the supporting cast are memorable. The story was good and I particularly liked the locale of Vancouver BC Canada. There were the obligatory gory passages during the drug gang altercations, a developing love story and the hospital sections of fighting to save lives while deaths were grieved.

This was a quick, entertaining read and one I would recommend for those who like thrillers and/or medical mysteries.
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