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Toxin [Paperback]

Robin Cook
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (214 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Dec 12 2012
Newly divorced surgeon Dr. Kim Regis is determined to remain a good father to his only son, Selden. On a special night out, Kim takes Seldon to his favorite fast-food restaurant for a feast of burgers and fries. But the good time turns to tragedy: the young boy becomes gravely ill and dies as a result of poisoning by E. coli. bacteria found in the meat. Was Seldon's death a result of shoddy food-handling practices? Or was it a sophisticated case of product tampering - by a rival fast-foot giant or a disgruntled employee? Or perhaps by someone with a score to settle with Kim? Taking a leave from his surgical practice, Kim devotes his energies to solving the mystery full time. But he immediately hits a brick walls: a code of silence more impenetrable than anything he has ever encountered in his medical career. Instead of a cold-shoulder reception, however, Kim is soon met with a boot and a fist as thugs attempt to quash his inquiry. Aided by his ex-wife, Kim pursues a trail of deadly evidence, uncovering complicity and guilt stretching from the slaughterhouse floor to the corporate boardroom. Racing against time before more are poisoned, the two come face-to-face with the shocking and elusive truth. And in their life-and-death search for answers, they rediscover the reasons they first fell in love. With trademark pulse-pounding flair, Robin Cook delivers a cutting-edge thriller, borrowing from today's fears and tomorrow's medical technology.
--This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.

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From Amazon

Just when you thought it was safe to eat a hamburger again, Robin Cook--master of medical mysteries, deadly epidemics, and creepy comas--returns with an all too likely villain drawn right from current headlines: the American meat industry. If you've ever wondered where the E. coli bacteria comes from, and exactly how it can ravage the human body, destroying everything in its path, this is the book for you. As usual, Cook delivers solid information, well-researched medical arcana, and a scathing indictment of managed health care.

His protagonist, Kim Regis, is an all-too-typical ego-driven surgeon, whose arrogance and invulnerability set him up to be brought low by the deadly toxin that takes the life of his young daughter. Sparing no time and barely a paragraph to reflect on his loss, Regis goes right after the culprit, a meat-packing behemoth that brings dead and diseased animals to the slaughterhouse, breaking every health regulation in the book. The scenes set on the killing floor and in the boning rooms will make a vegetarian out of the most confirmed red-meat eater. Toxin is a heart-pounding thriller that hits very close to home. --Jane Adams --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.

From Library Journal

Cook cooks up another medical thriller, with a bunch of E.coli bacteria as villain, an underdone hamburger as murder weapon, and a little boy as victim. His doctor-father soon discovers that something far more sinister than bad hygiene is the cause. A Literary Guild, Doubleday Book Club, and Mystery Guild main selection.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars GREAT BOOK A MUST READ March 25 2002
Format:Hardcover
I was very hesitant on reading this book because about 5 years ago I saw a show on either 20/20 or 48 hours that had undercover reporters in slaughtrs houses I was si discusted with the finding I didn't eat meat for over 3 years. I recently styarted eating meat again but not that I have read this book I might think twice about that. This is a very graphic book about the meat industry and a very descriptive view on what e coli can do to the body. This book mad me ill I was shocked to find out some of the things n this book now I know its fiction but it's based on fact. While reading this book my Husband and my 1.5 year old gor the stomacxhe flu, making me rethink that and wonderif its food posining. A doctore satys in this book that there is no such thing as the stomache flu and that it is really some form of food posioning. I'm not sure how true that is but it freaked me out. This book is not for those who have a week stomache but I think everyone should read it, it is a real eye opener!! I don'y think I'm going to eat ground beef for a long time and I will be a lot more cautious when cooking now!THIS is a great book I highly sugggest it. GREAT JOB ROBIN COOK
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thank god I'm a vegetarian! April 23 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
In this, Robin Cook's scariest novel, the orderly world of egocentric surgeon Dr. Kim Regis crashes down around him when his eight-year-old daughter Becky contracts a fatal E-Coli bacterial infection from a hamburger she ate at a fast-food restaurant.
When this book came out a couple years ago, it received fiercely mixed reviews. While detractors accused Dr. Cook of using his status as a best-selling writer to distribute draconian anti-meat industry propaganda, admirers like myself praised him for being courageous enough to tell the truth.
It is the shocking nature of the truths revealed in Toxin that makes it Cook's scariest novel. After the E-Coli infection results in a slow and agonizing death for his little daughter, Dr. Regis is determined to bring to justice all the parties responsible for Becky's death.
Regis's quest leads him from shoddy, unsanitary meat processing plants (the slaughterhouse scene is something straight out of Dante - it will make you vomit) where food safety takes a back seat to profit, to the USDA - an office of the federal government that is supposed to protect consumers from tainted meat. Alas, the USDA ispectors are told by their bosses to look the other way and investigations of companies who fail to comply with safety regulations are buried in red tape.
This novel is a work of fiction, but it's based on fact. Recently, on a primetime newsmagazine - 48 Hours, I believe - there was a similar story about a 3-year-old girl who died from an E-Coli infection she caught at a Sizzler - she ate watermelon that was sliced with the same knife used to cut tainted meat - meat that infected several other customers.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars I give up!! May 23 2004
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
My first RC book was Shock and it indeed shocked me-it was so two-dimensional and flat and cliche, i couldn't believed it was published! Then i saw some reviews that mentioned it was probably the worst book by RC so i decided to give him another go. Unfortunately i'm once again disappointed. Totally. I mean i didn't even managed to get past the first 100pages!! It makes me wonder how did his novels become best-sellers. The characters are totally 2-D and almost stereotypical. Dialogue and writing style just seems really flat to me and it just feels unreal. The characters were unlikeable and it just felt like a re-run of an overused theme, overplayed B-grade movie. Don't think i'll waste any more time on his novels again. Lesson learned.
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Format:Mass Market Paperback
Toxin didn't scare me away from eating meat, it just made me reassess where I buy it. We have local slaughterhouses which are noting like the one Cook portrays. I know because we actually take animals there to be slaughtered and then use the meat ourselves, so we've checked the places out. But Cook isn't the only source I've read that has indicted the larger slaughterhouses and meat packing plants. His characters may seem stereotyped, but the statistics are pretty clear as to who the slaughterhouse workers are in large plants.
I now buy my hamburg at a local store that grinds their own while you watch. I don't eat rare hamburgers (although I greatly prefer them!) and I'm not eating fast food burgers. It was clear in the story just how contamination can occur even when the restaurant's official protocol is flawless.
BTW I hate HMO's. We have the choice between managed care and traditional insurance and despite the extra cost we continue to opt for traditional insurance. Cook's books have only reinforced that decision.
Robin Cook's novels may be "fast food" rather than great literature, but if they educate one person who wouldn't read more serious scientific literature and save even one life as a result then they are worth being published.
Read Toxin and you'll never take E-Coli lightly again.
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5.0 out of 5 stars fearful force of E coli:O157 March 13 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Microorganisms amazes me. With their tiny body size, they can invade a body of a specie such as human being. Being a physician himself, I assume the symptoms were expressed accurately. I was bothered to see some of the ignorant behaviors of the hospital personels just as much as the fearful force of the E coli:O157. The first half of the book goes over the whole clinical manifestation process of E coli:O157 in Dr. Kim Reggis's daughter, Becky's body. The last half of the book is about all the adventure Dr. Reggis goes through in the process of finding out the source of this pathogen. As much as I enjoyed reading the first half, I enjoyed even more reading the last half. The story line is bit goofy, especially in the last half of the book. However, there is nothing wrong with that. It added some fun and flavor to the story line, which made the book entertaining. Dr. Reggis got kind of personality that is relatable because of his goofyness. For some reason, I had imagined Dr. Reggis to look like the picture of Robin Cook himself on the back cover. The ending was bit scary because, though Dr. Reggis went through all these trouble to expose the truth, that didn't solve the problem altogether, and predicted another fearful outbreak. In today's society, where the mad cow disease had gave rise to the vCJD, this story is not unrealistic at all, and rather can be related to anyone who eats meat.
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Most recent customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Sick But Fun
After reading this you won't eat hamburger for a long time.
When a doctor's daughter gets sick from eating hamburger that was undercooked, he goes nuts. Read more
Published on March 5 2004 by Brown Dalmatian
3.0 out of 5 stars Nothing too significant for my 1st RC novel
Although the action was fast paced & continuous, I found the plot in general quite predictable & with a bit of loopholes. Read more
Published on June 5 2003 by "juj"
5.0 out of 5 stars special
This was the third Robin Cook book I have read, after Harmful Intent and Coma. This book will always feel different to me, because when I was reading it I was on the subway, on... Read more
Published on May 18 2003 by - Kasia S.
1.0 out of 5 stars Simply Awful!
i've read at least 15 Robin Cook books by now, and i really dont know what happened with this one. this has got to be one of the worst pieces of fiction i've ever read. Read more
Published on Dec 27 2002 by Greg Tomkins
4.0 out of 5 stars Brace Yourself
From the get-go this book is an attention grabber, and Cook uses sickening imagery to hook his reader throughout. Read more
Published on Dec 10 2002 by ED Detetcheverrie
1.0 out of 5 stars Now I remember why I hated micro
If you think that it is impossible to make an exciting story about food poisoning, you might use this book as evidence. The story linearly follows Dr. Read more
Published on Dec 6 2002 by John Tilelli MD
1.0 out of 5 stars This man is not a writer!
Robin Cook knows his subject, and the plot could well be developed into a thrilling movie, but I was continually frustrated by the stilted, wooden quality of his writing. Read more
Published on Sept. 6 2002
4.0 out of 5 stars One of Cook's Best Works
Cook does an excellent job of developing his characters in this book. I felt every second of Kim's struggle and I was pulling for a good outcome every step of the way. Read more
Published on Aug. 20 2002 by "hkleczew"
2.0 out of 5 stars so-so novel
This book could have been better if the ending wasn't lousy. It's like the author cut it short and we don't know what happened in the end (story was not 100% completed like a... Read more
Published on Aug. 8 2002
5.0 out of 5 stars Robin Cook's Best Book Ever!!
I feel that Toxin is the best book Robin Cook has ever written. After reading the first couple of chapters, I really got into the book's story and could not put it down. Read more
Published on July 1 2002 by Bryce Downie
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