Toxin Paperback – Nov 1 1998
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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 the Hardcover edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.
Most recent customer reviews
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
Although the action was fast paced & continuous, I found the plot in general quite predictable & with a bit of loopholes. Read morePublished on June 5 2003
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 morePublished on May 18 2003 by - Kasia S.
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 morePublished on Dec 27 2002 by Greg Tomkins
From the get-go this book is an attention grabber, and Cook uses sickening imagery to hook his reader throughout. Read morePublished on Dec 10 2002 by ED Detetcheverrie
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 morePublished on Dec 6 2002 by John Tilelli MD
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 morePublished on Sept. 6 2002
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 morePublished on Aug. 20 2002
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 morePublished on Aug. 8 2002