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.