Cover Image: The Last High

The Last High

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

I Just finished The Last High by Daniel Kalla and it was very engaging. From the very begining the action starts as we meet Julie Rees in the ER where she works as a Doctor. Julie is the heart and  soul of this story. She is a recovering addict herself and refuses to give up looking for the source of the TLH that is killing people in her city. 
 Julie is friends with detective Anson Chen of the VPD. The two work through the case together to find out who has put this deadly drug on the streets and why. Anson has consulted with Julie on past cases but nothing like the one they are working together now.
 This story exposes us to the world of gangs and drugs in the city of Vancouver British Columbia. The author weaves a great story that is a mix of Medicine, Law Enforcement and  drug addiction that is prevalent in society today. Anyone can fall victim to this disease and this book does a nice job of helping us understand the impact Opiod abuse is having in our world today.
 I received my copy of this book from Simon & Schuster as a prerelease ebook. 
I am anxious to read more books by Daniel Kalla. This was my first book from this author but his extensive research and experience as an ER Doctor made this book  believable and relevant. Thank you to the Publisher and Mr. Kalla for allowing me the opportunity to preview this book.
Was this review helpful?
While offering a timely glimpse of very troubling and realistic look at the current opioid crises, the tale is not memorable.  So much so that I am unable to provide any insightful critique of the work.
Was this review helpful?
This action-packed, gripping medical thriller had everything I wanted right now. 

When a sudden and large amount of overdose cases resulting in death start showing up in Vancouver in a different way than what Vancouver is used to it has medical teams and police worried. Julie, an ER doctor, toxicologist and former user teams up with two homicide detectives to track down the source of this drug more deadly than fentanyl. Among Vancouver’s many drug rings, that proves to be a difficult task. In the meantime, more innocent people are dying instantly leaving no time for people to find them and help them and the regular use of nalaxone kits are not enough to bring people back.

The author, Dr. Daniel Kalla, is an ER doctor himself at a Vancouver hospital and has done extensive research on every detail of this book. From the way the police interact with one another to the description of the different parts of Vancouver and Richmond, including characters of different ethnicities that reflect the multicultural make up of our city and the different groups that make up the criminal element in this book. From my own background within the Criminal Justice System I could see it all clearly. 

Having Julie, the ER doctor, ride along with the police for as often as she did was the only non-believable piece but I see how it helped to move the story forward and keep it tight. 

As much as the chase of the bad guys was so exciting it was also nice to see the heartwarming parts of the story and the stories of the families. It was hard to read about the use of a sex worker being as a drug tester because they are seen as less than a human being. And it was important to see that everyday people can fall into opiates very easily. Scenes like these brought the real sadness to the face of the opioid crisis in Vancouver and how everyone is affected. 

From the first page to the last I did not want to put this book down. It is a guarantee that I will be looking to read Dr. Kalla’s other books. 

Thanks to @SimonSchusterca and @netgalley for an advance reading copy in exchange for an honest review. This book comes out May 12, 2020.
Was this review helpful?
I want to thank NetGalley and the publisher Simon & Schuster for allowing me to read an advanced copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

What a wonderfully exciting, fast paced mystery this story is. It is about the dark world of drug dealing and opioid addiction.  It is clear from the very beginning that the author knows a lot about the effects of drug overdose. Being an Emergency Room doctor himself he knowingly understands the situation and medical care needed. The story opens with teenagers overdosing at a party.  Julie, the hospital toxicologist teams with Anson, the police detective to discover the type and source of the dangerous drug.  They rush to discover as much as they can before more people die.
Daniel takes you deep into the underground as you learn about drugs from their cooking through the distribution chain and on to young people and addicts.  I found it such a timely story due to the crisis we are experiencing world-wide with drug abuse. 
The characters are all believable.  The good guys are heroes and the bad ones are people you hope you never meet.  The story had me at the first chapter till long after it ended.  I have never read Daniel Kalla’s books before but am now a true fan. I will go back and read his other books and look forward to future ones.  I highly recommend this one.
Was this review helpful?
First of all thank you very much for a copy of this book. It was the first from this author but not the last I'm quite sure of. I loved the story of the opioid crisis and the crimes that were connected to it. Not repeating the outline I highly suggest reading this book.
Was this review helpful?
I really liked this book and I’m not exactly sure why.  It's not my usual read. First off, It’s 100% about the world of opioid addiction, so if that is a trigger for you or something you just don’t want to read about, then you might want to stay away from this one. 

I loved the characters (the good guys anyway); Julie is a very believable ER doctor who also specializes in toxicology. She has a very personal story involving drug addiction and Anson as her handsome, Asian detective “friend” is just charming! Just enough flirty banter to add another layer to this story. I was engaged throughout and I read it very quickly. I was fascinated with the deep dive into the world of heavy drugs that I am so unfamiliar with. The author gave personalities and back stories to the multi-levels of users, dealers, all the way up to the top level crime organizations who bring it into the city and even the chemistry major turned “cooker” who actually makes the stuff. It has a very satisfying ending, well except that opioid addiction still grips many lives. and people die every day from overdose. Overall, a great book and I’ll be checking out more books by Daniel Kalla.
Was this review helpful?
This is the most parallel story to real life that I have read in a long time, or if ever. The opioid crisis is unfortunately a reality that has an economic ceiling. Daniel covered many stories of this crisis. The book is an intense page turner. Five stars. #TheLastHigh #CanCon #ARC
Was this review helpful?
I was thrilled to read 'The Last High' because it had a perfect balance of procedural intrigue, and modern commentary about the opioid crisis currently gripping so many places.

The story takes place in Vancouver, with the main character (Julie, an ER Doctor) trying to solve the mystery of a substance dubbed "The Last High" that is killing many of her patients. The story involves elements from Julie's work at the hospital, as well as police procedural aspects when Julie joins the police to investigate the source of the lethal narcotic. The story takes Julie around the city of Vancouver, and into hospital politics and struggles. 

I really enjoyed this book, and would certainly read this author again. I thought the character was realistic- flawed in some ways and savvy in others. Overall, the story moved at a pace that made you want to know what happened next, and had you guessing about the ultimate conclusion.

I think that this would be a good book for anyone who enjoys police procedurals, as well as medical dramas, because it truly is a good mix of both. Several times along the way I thought certain story lines would have a specific result, only to see that i was wrong. To me, the inability to predict each  aspect of the story is a major bonus, and made the book a page-turner for sure.

I would recommend this read, especially with the timely subject matter, and look forward to what this author has coming.

Thank you to Netgalley and Simon & Schuster Canada for the advance copy of this great book!!
Was this review helpful?
The Last High by Daniel Kalla (Simon & Schuster 2020) is a vivid crime novel addressing the current opiate crisis in Vancouver Canada. As this terrible scourge runs rampant, The Last High can be appreciated by readers from many geographical areas. Dr. Julie Rees is an ER doctor as well as a toxicologist who has a past involving opiate abuse that resulted in a death. Her ER is being over run by teenagers who are succumbing to a lethal type of fentanyl new on the street. Rees hooks up with Anson Chen, a suave and well dressed detective on the Vancouver Police Department. The case is eventually solved along with the requisite romance to tie up loose ends.
Kalla does a good job in presenting some of the realities of the opioid crisis, especially in the risks people take when using drugs from unknown sources. He brings the story to life with fast paced contemporary characters in an urban setting. They are young, beautiful and intensely fighting an evil dark power. As an ER doctor, Kalla has insight into health care emergencies.
There are a few constructs I didn’t understand the need for. Kalla’s background and writing style does not always serve him well. He tends to skip over contributions nurses make for his characters and assigns typical stock characteristics to subordinate women. His explanation of ECMO left me wincing a bit – full disclosure: I’ve spent my career working in the healthcare field. The romance between Julie and Anson is a bit forced and doesn’t follow a natural course, it seemed to serve the purpose of adding love scenes. Kalla also presents us with an abundance of characters, so much so that I couldn’t always keep track of them all.
The Last High is not an intellectual powerhouse but it’s not going to waste your time either. It’s a good for a fast paced read that will keep you hopping. Many thanks to Simon & Schuster and NetGalley for the advanced reader copy of The Last High.
3.5 stars
Was this review helpful?
Just finished reading Daniel Kalla’s The Last High and all I can say is how have I not read Daniel Kalla before? This novel, which models current events taking place in virtually all metropolitan centres because of the opioid crisis, is one terrific read, with a tight, fast- moving plot and well- drawn characters, primarily a detective and toxicologist/ medical doctor who are trying to pinpoint the origins of the fatal TLH (The Last High) pills that have begun appearing in the community. It doesn’t hurt, for me, that the novel is set in Vancouver, British Columbia, and references many geographic locations that I have personally visited. All in all, I recommend this novel highly and thank #SimonandSchuster for the EBook ARC.
Was this review helpful?
'The Last High' by Daniel Kalla is a topical and very timely book about the opioid crisis that fills the news cycle last year, only to be replaced by COVID-19 this year.   It is important that the book is published and distributed widely so that we don't forget about the opioid epidemic even in light of the coronavirus.    I am glad to see that the book is to be published in two months.

Kalla obviously wrote this with first-hand knowledge as an ER physician, so the details about fentanyl were all very real.   His insight that opioids have changed the medical landscape in unexpected ways (such as organ donation) was a real gem and something that I hadn't thought about (Ch. 50). There is also the scene of Dylan's sentencing (Ch 52) which surprised me as well.   Kalla is good at writing what he knows.   

The one problem I had with the book is that it took a long time for the plot to develop.  For what I thought must have been the first half of the book, was a string of isolated stories about opioids and fentanyl and I could not see where the story was going.  I normally expect to get to the gist of the plot by the first 20 to 25% of the book; this took longer and I think some of the beginning material on opioids might have been weaved into the plot development. I thought the doctor (Julie) was predictably misplaced in the police searches; it was odd that she would be allowed to cross police lines, a toxicologist or not. 

Nevertheless, I am glad for the opportunity to read 'The Last High' and think it is time to be published.  The book will serve as a beacon that we should not forget that we still have an opioid problem.   

Thanks to the author, Simon and Schuster and NetGalley for the review copy.  I have voluntarily provided this review.
Was this review helpful?
I received this book free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Okay I was totally sucked into this book because I am a nurse so the medical part drew me in also I find addictions very interesting so it seemed like my kind of book. It was an okay enough book. The beginning was really good but then it kind of petered off for me. It started off fast and in your face then slowed down. There were a lot of characters which added to the story but also make it hard for the reader to remember them all and the roles they played. You couldn’t really get attached to anyone because there were too many. 

It was a good storyline just wasn’t perfect.
Was this review helpful?
Thank you for the #ARC of #TheLastHigh by Daniel Kalla. This novel did not disappoint. I read his novel Pandemic a few years back and absolutely loved it.  With the opiod epidemic that's hitting our streets now, this book really put an even scarier perspective of what if a really bad batch came into play. The beginning where it came across some unsuspecting teenagers made it even scarier. The dealers that are dealing death should really be tried and prosecuted as murderers.  I know that it's the individuals choice to seek out, find, and take the drugs. But when you are knowingly dealing something that you know kills, manslaughter should really be a chargeable option in our court system.
Was this review helpful?
This was much better than I thought it was going to be and a drug crisis with opoids is totally plausible and believable in today society. There were many complex necessary characters in this book that added to drama and intrigue of the story. Even though I am new to this author, this book was quite a page turner and hope he writes more. This definitely reminded me of Michael Crichton''s Andromeda Strain in some parts so it was nice to draw some parallels to the same pandemic scare.

All in all, I enjoyed this book. Thanks to NetGalley, Daniel Kalla and the publisher for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. Definitely recommending this to other readers.
Was this review helpful?
I am such a Daniel Kalla fan! I've read all his medical thrillers and was SO excited to see The Last High on Netgalley!

The Last High takes place in Vancouver and deals with a new deadly batch of street drugs that are killing just about everyone who comes in contact with them.

Dr. Julie Rees is an ER physician who also works for Poison Control.  She's also a former IV drug addict.  Dr. Rees and her friend Detective Anson Chen are working together to try to find the dealer and suppliers of this deadly drug.  Can they find out where this drug is coming from before more people die? 

Great characters, easy to follow story line, great medical writing (it's not too complicated for anyone who might be hesitant!). Solid 4 stars.

Thank you to #Netgalley and Simon Schuster for an advanced copy!!
Was this review helpful?
3.75* This is a very timely book dealing with the opioid crisis. Might be a bit biased since I live in Vancouver and it's quite rare to find books based in the city.  It's quite nice to know the many places and scenes that were described in the book. The author, being an ER doctor, is well-versed in the plague of opioid overdoses due to Fentanyl.  In this book, a group of teenagers were rushed into the ER with opioid overdoses and it was difficult to revive them. Most of them died. Then there are also spate of deaths across a broad range of society, probably linked to the same drug. 
I find this book a very quick read. It shows us the heartbreak and misery that drug addiction causes. It also shows that some of the victims might not even know that they are taking opioids.  The drug supply chain is complex. As the main character, Dr Julie Rees, had remarked, it's like a Russian doll, layers upon layers - from low level drug dealers to international criminal organizations.  
If there's criticism of this book, it's that I think it's marketed as suspense, but I find it not to be so. A medical/police procedural, maybe? We follow mainly Julie and Detective Anson in their quest for the source of the deadly tainted drug. Overall, though, I still found it interesting and very enjoyable.  
**Many thanks to Simon & Schuster Canada for providing me an ARC in exchange for an honest review**
Was this review helpful?
This book covered a most worthy topic—the growing problem of carfentanyl in Vancouver's drug community and its devastating effects, in this case on a group of unsuspecting teens who unwittingly take it at a party and then are rushed to hospital where only one survives in a vegetative state. The book works well in the way it looks at the problem from many perspectives, each showing one aspect of the tangled web of the drug trade. The manic character, Dr. Julie, is an emergency doctor who teams up with a local detective to try and figure out the origins of this deadly drug. I did find the book to be a little superficial the way it bounced from one viewpoint to another without full development of the characters or differentiation of the voice. It read rather like a factual documentary than a piece of fiction. Thanks to Net Galley for a preview copy of the novel.
Was this review helpful?
When I was younger, dreaming about my future career in medicine (I thought I was going to be an orthopedic surgeon), I read Robin Cook, Michael Palmer, and Leonard Goldberg novels incessantly. Eventually, Cook's novels became biased and ridiculous, Michael Palmer passed away, and I think Goldberg stopped my love-affair with medical suspense came to an end.

Later, working as an OR nurse and dealing with life and death situations daily...reading about the same scenarios wasn't appealing. I've avoided this genre for years--until now.

Daniel Kalla is a very talented writer. His main characters were well-flashed out, his plot timely, and the story engaging. He's quite adept, being an ER physician himself, at explaining the medical procedures/language included in the don't feel you have to be an expert about emergency medicine to read The Last High.

If I were to point out a few minor grumbles, it would be the sheer number of was difficult trying to remember who was who. As an RN, I also felt a little snubbed. There were a few comments which gave the impression that Kalla isn't a fan of my profession. Finally, the mandatory romance felt forced and unnecessary.

My final thoughts: This is a fun story I absolutely devoured, and I would definitely read Kalla's future novels. Available May 12, 2020.

3.5 stars rounded up

**Many thanks to the publisher for my review copy.
Was this review helpful?
Take the current opioid crisis and multiple it. 
Add a recovering addict ER doctor working with the police and layers upon layers of drug dealers and you’ve got The Last High..
Interesting characters whom I wouldn’t mind meeting again.  Yes, I confess, I’m happy with hospital and police drama and this combo seems just right.
Was this review helpful?
A good read about the drug crisis and how a bad batch could affect a whole city and more. The medical, law enforcement, dealer and user communities were all represented in a suspenseful, realistic manner. It gives one an inside look at how drugs are intertwined in all strata of a city's population and the effects of small decisions, but in the form of a fast paced novel.
Was this review helpful?