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Crisis [Audiobook] [Audio CD]

Robin Cook
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Book Description

June 26 2007
When Dr. Craig Bowman is served with a summons for medical malpractice, he's shocked, enraged, and more than a little humiliated. A devoted physician who works continuously in the service of others, he endured grueling years of training and is now a partner in an exclusive concierge medical practice. No longer forced to see more and more patients while spending less and less time with each one just to keep his office door open, he now provides the kind of medical care he is trained to do, lavishing twenty-four-hour availability and personalized attention on his handpicked patients. And at last, he is earning a significant income, no longer burdened by falling reimbursements from insurance companies.But this idyllic practice comes to a grinding halt one sunny afternoon-and gets much, much worse.

Enter Dr. Jack Stapleton, a medical examiner in New York City and Bowman's brother-in-law: Jack's sister Alexis-now Craig's estranged wife-tearfully begs for his help as her husband's trial drags on. Jack agrees to travel to Boston to offer his forensic services and expert witness experience to Craig's beleaguered defense attorney. But when Jack's irreverent suggestion to exhume the corpse to disprove the alleged malpractice is taken seriously, he opens a Pandora's box of trouble. As Craig Bowman's life and career are put on the line, Jack is on the verge of making a most unwelcome discovery of tremendous legal and medical significance-and there are people who will do anything to keep him from learning the truth.

--This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.

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From Publishers Weekly

Bestseller Cook's latest medical thriller focuses on a timely topic—the new and controversial "concierge" medicine that caters to the affluent willing and able to pay for special attention. When Patience Stanhope, a hypochondriac patient of Boston physician Craig Bowman, dies of a heart attack, her husband sues Bowman for malpractice. The suit alleges that the delay caused by Bowman's paying a house call instead of ordering Patience immediately to the hospital was fatal. After the trial gets off to a rocky start for Bowman, his wife calls in her brother, Dr. Jack Stapleton, a New York City medical examiner, who has appeared in Marker (2005) and other Cook novels. Some anomalies in the medical evidence lead Stapleton, who's worried about getting back to New York in time for his wedding, to attempt a rush autopsy of the dead woman. The choice to reveal early on that Bowman and Stapleton will become bitter enemies lessens the suspense, while at the climax Stapleton's failure to realize he can take a train or bus after he's missed the last shuttle back to New York will annoy some. Still, most readers should enjoy the ride. (July)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Medical-thriller writer Cook's latest page-turner is played out more in the courtroom than in the hospital. Dr. Craig Bowman is irritated when problem-patient Patience Stanhope calls him on what he assumes is yet another false alarm. But Craig makes a house call and discovers Patience near death. He rushes her to the hospital but not in time to save her, and the result is a malpractice suit that could cost Craig his livelihood. Alexis, the wife Craig recently reunited with, calls her brother, New York City medical examiner Jack Stapleton (last seen in Marker, 2005), and asks him to come to Boston for advice. Jack, who is less than a week away from his wedding to fellow ME Laurie Montgomery, agrees, despite the fact that he's never liked Craig. But when he travels to Boston and starts to attend Craig's trial, Jack worries that the case is being railroaded by the plaintiff's sleazy lawyer. When Jack performs the autopsy, the results are shocking. Kristine Huntley
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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3.7 out of 5 stars
3.7 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
Format:Hardcover
The book starts off a bit slowly as Craig Bowman, a doctor with excellent clinical skills but poor bedside manner, loses a patient in his concierge medicine practice and gets sued. Dr. Bowman is accustomed to success and accolades and unravels under the implications of the lawsuit. He moves back in with his wife Alexis whose brother, Jack, is a medical examiner in New York. When Jack enters the story, the suspense and interest accelerate considerably. In a thriller/mystery such as this, not everything is as it seems to be as Jack digs through the layers to find out the truth. The book is a bit wordy but otherwise engaging. The courtroom scenes are especially well-done. The Griffon Trilogy: Part I
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3.0 out of 5 stars Read Not to Be Entertained, But to Learn Dec 14 2007
Format:Mass Market Paperback
There’s a lot to admire about the author. He started writing novels as a way of bringing medical issues into the public eye, and he still does that today. This 2006 novel introduces readers (well, I’d never heard of it before) to concierge medicine, which…well, read the book, and that should explain it. But this novel is more medico-legal than the author’s previous medical thrillers. I’m fascinated with all the medical issues the author explores, but purely as a reader I have trouble enjoying the characters and the writing. Though Dr Latasha Wylie is a gem. So I don’t read these novels for entertainment: I read to learn, and I’m very grateful to Dr Robin Cook for that.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Anatomy of a malpractice lawsuit! Oct. 21 2007
By Ian Gordon Malcomson HALL OF FAME TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Though I am not a fan of Robin Cook's fast-paced, suspenseful medical thrillers, I decided to give his latest a try, and was not disappointed. The story covers the intricate details of medical malpractice/wrongful death suit brought by the estate of Patience Stanhope against Dr. Craig Bowman, an internist and concierge doctor in the Boston area. There are plenty of conceivable twists and turns in the plot as Dr. Bowman fights to save his professional reputation. Everything seems stacked against him until a medical expert appears on the scene. Halfway through the book, a Dr. Jack Stapleton, a prominent New York City medical examiner and Craig's brother-in-law, starts his own investigation of the circumstances surrounding Patience's death, and all of a sudden the whole direction of the story changes. In typical Cook style, the novel is loaded with medical terminology and legal jargon, all effectively used to describe the unfolding search for clues and evidence. The actions and motives of the main characters like Bowman and Stapleton, on the whole, are well developed and plausible. I had no problems initially understanding why Bowman was under a lot of pressure after he was served with court papers. At this point, the reader might be very sympathetic to his plight. What surprised me was that Bowman has another side to his life that the author gradually and cleverly exposes through the actions of someone who is wants to help him clear his name. What starts out as a civil action eventually becomes a criminal matter. Cook has produced a great page-turner with a superbly managed plotline. A long the way, he raises some ethical issues concerning the operation of concierge style medicine for the wealthy.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 2.5 out of 5 stars  103 reviews
61 of 70 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Implausible (And Not Too Thrilling) Sept. 17 2006
By Janet Boyer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Robin Cook pretty much birthed the "medical thriller" with his book "Coma" paving the way for the likes of Michael Palmer and Tess Gerritsen.

I've been a fan of Cook's for almost 20 years, and was happy to see a new release in the stores. I rarely buy hardcover fiction, but chose to purchase Crisis.

Let me just say that had I got this from the library, I would have returned it within the first few chapters. But, since I had bought it, I felt obligated to finish it.

More legal drama than medical thriller, a familiar cast of characters pop up in Crisis--namely, Dr. Jack Stapleton, his fiance, Dr. Laurie Montgomery, and other colleagues/friends from the NYC area.

One of the first things I noticed about this book was the implausible dialgue, especially between Jack and his sister, Alexis. Upon Jack's arrival, she comments that he looks "...hale, hungry, and hollow-cheeked, like an actor in a spaghetti western".

No matter how 'intellectual' a person is (Alexis is a psychologist), I can't imagine a brother and sister talking this way! And Jack's dialogue was formal, too, with a bunch of medical jargon thrown in.

Crisis quickly turns into a legal drama (something I do NOT like to read), with drawn-out courtroom "objections" and "sustained" and so on.

And Laurie? She is constantly reprimanding Jack in this book--much more a mother figure than a fiance. I was hoping that Jack would hook up with Dr. Latasha Wylie and dump Laurie! I mean, Jack *dreads* Laurie's whining and scolding, so he procrastinates in calling her...but he and Latasha share a comfortable rhythm (when doing an autopsy) and enthusiasm.

But alas, it didn't happen...

The ending was very anti-climatic, and somewhat disturbing. Spoiler alert: I was amazed that no one considered Dr. Craig Bowman a murderer! In fact, both Jack AND his sister (Craig's wife) "felt sorry for him (Craig)"! And, while on honeymoon, Jack relates to his new wife Laurie the whole situation that occurred in Boston. Laurie was sympathetic to everyone (including Craig), calling the murder "an American medical tragedy".

Cook insistently implies that the American medical system is to blame for spawning narcissistic doctors (even murderous ones). Hello?! Oh...poor Dr. Bowman. He was the son of a working class guy, worked his butt off, lives in a million dollar + home, and now he's been sued for malpractice. Boohoo! Except, there wasn't malpractice for negligence--it was premeditated murder!

And the fact that Laurie and Jack picked Cuba for a honeymoon (?!) was unbelievable--let alone running into Craig there! (And he didn't even act like he recognized Jack? And this overachieving "dedicated doctor" runs from the law, heads to Cuba, gets a Latin babe on his arm, and just chills on the beach? Come on!)

As always, Cook offers an Author's Note where he beats the drum of one of his pet peeves. (In this case, concierge medicine). Like, what can *most* Americans possibly do in this particular situation? Many of us don't even HAVE health insurance...and would be glad to even have an HMO!

Unfortunately, Crisis is a (very) forgettable book. The red herring (Tony Fasano and company) doesn't even make sense, there was a lot of attention to unnecessary detail, and the plot/characters were NOT thrilling in the least. (Sorry--Jack racing the clock to make his own wedding doesn't count as a thrill for me. As I mentioned, I was hoping he'd hook up with Dr. Wylie!) Also, there was a good many errors in the book (such as missing quotation marks and so on).

I hope that Robin Cook goes back to the way he *used* to write. His past books were enough to keep me up all night--leaving me eagerly anticipating the next one.
31 of 35 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Started out well, but didn't finish in the same fashion... Oct. 16 2006
By Thomas Duff - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I seem to have this love/hate relationship with Robin Cook titles. His latest, Crisis, is no different. On one hand, I like a good medical thriller, and generally the overall plot of Crisis, isn't bad. On the other hand, I get really tired of the incessant flogging of the "evil" insurance companies. Couple that with an ending here that left me scratching my head, and I'm not real sure I'd recommend the time commitment on this one.

Jack Stapleton, a medical examiner from prior novels, is preparing for his wedding. But within the final week, he gets a call from his sister in Boston. Her husband, Dr. Craig Bowman, has been hit with a malpractice suit as part of his concierge medical practice. An older hypochondriac patient died of an apparent heart attack, and Bowman was unable to resuscitate her. The "grieving" husband filed suit, and Bowman is spiraling off the deep end with depression, anger, and indignation. The sister wants Jack to lend some moral support and see if there's anything that could indicate that Bowman shouldn't be found guilty, and Jack reluctantly agrees (knowing the wedding is fast approaching). The court case is made even more difficult in that Bowman was separated from his wife at the time, living with his office assistant, labeled this particular patient as a "problem patient" in his files, and made some very derogatory statements about the deceased which came out at trial. Jack wonders if some of the symptoms point to another cause of death, and attempts to get permission to exhume the body and perform an autopsy. But certain parties have made it very clear that they do *not* want an autopsy, and they're willing to go to extreme measures to prevent it. Of course, Jack digs in, races against time, and discovers some facts that change the entire death scene...

When I started Crisis, I thought it was going to be pretty good. Suspense, personal drama, a little seediness thrown in... But the longer I went, the tougher it was to stay involved. You knew there were outside forces that factored in, but the direction of the plotline didn't make sense. There were long chunks of time in the story that were just skipped in order to advance the story, and it wasn't always easy to make that chronological jump. And finally, the ending just flat out failed. Not only did it not make a lot of sense, it also left all the other plotlines suspended in mid-air. It's not hard to imagine that a deadline was approaching and the author hadn't quite figured out how wrap up the story gracefully...

As "full disclosure", I'll state that I work for an "evil" insurance company, so I might be predisposed to having an attitude about his characterizations. But that aside, an experienced author such as Cook should have done much better, especially at the end.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing Oct. 14 2006
By Thundering Herd - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I agree with "implausible". The book was fairly interesting until the last thirty or so pages. Apparently, the author was late on a deadline to get the book to the publisher because the ending made no sense, left numerous issues outstanding, and left this reader with the sense of being cheated. I have enjoyed this author's books in the past. Not this time.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Ugh... disappointing and unbelievable Dec 22 2006
By Book Lover - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I sometimes wonder if Robin Cook is actually a pen name for two or more writers... sometimes Cook's books are quite good; sometimes they're dreadful. Unfortunately, this one is painfully bad: Unrealistic, stilted dialogue and boring storyline. I couldn't even finish the book - and that's unusual for me. I'm usually driven to at least see how the story ends. This one was so badly written I had to put it down. Do yourself a favor and skip this one.
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Barely passable Jan. 10 2007
By Richard A. Lovett - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
You don't read a Robin Cook novel for its literary craftsmanship. You do expect a plotline that pulls you through, with cutting-edge science or even borderline science fiction. Unfortunately, this book wants to be a character study. That makes it a thriller without thrills by an author whose characters are generally as overstated as his prose.

The story returns us to Jack, Cook's bike-riding, basketball-playing medical examiner whose exploits predate CSI, Bones, etc. On the eve of his wedding, Jack is called to Boston to help his sister whose husband, Craig, has been sued for malpractice. The suspense is based on when Jack will finally manage to do a much-belated autopsy on the victim, and whether he will manage to get this done in time for his wedding (or even if he wants to get it done in time for his wedding). There's a good story lurking in there, but Cook isn't up to it. Particularly galling is his repeated insistence that a psychologist character's professional training will make her extremely good at handling the crises afflicting her family. Jonathan Kellerman's books have pretty thoroughly shattered any illusion that psychologists are inhumanly good at managing their own lives.

The other characters are stereotypes: the arrogant doctor-defendant whose inability to control his temper makes him his own worst witness, the highbrow defense attorney, the mob-connected plaintiff's attorney with a murderous associate, and Jack, whose lack of impulse control creates most of the story's action. The weird part is that most of the action resulting from the interplay of these characters is irrelevant to the core story.

This is Cook's worst book. There are very few plot surprises, a lot of utterly irrelevant dashing around Boston, and clues that are so apparent to the experienced mystery reader that we want to shout, "You idiot," at Jack. "It's got to have something to do with the..."

Not recommended.
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