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5.0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece of medical suspense
Joanna Meissner is studying hard, and planning her wedding, when her boyfriend decides to spring on her the news of putting off the wedding until he finishes his residency. Joanna, expecting something like this to happen, decides to call off everything...for good.
Trying to get passed her failed relationship, Joanna figures it's time for a vacation, as does her...
Published on Sept. 1 2001 by Nick G

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Not up to the usual standard
With all the good stuff coming out in paperback this month, don't feel too bad if you pass this one up until later. Although the pace was sufficiently fast to keep me turning pages, it seems Cook was resting on his laurels here and not expending too much effort.
For Harvard doctoral candidates, the two main characters are pretty dippy. And as an aside here, the...
Published on Sept. 5 2002 by ViolaNut


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1.0 out of 5 stars One of the most ineptly written books of all time, Dec 22 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Shock (Mass Market Paperback)
Simply put, this book should never have been published. (It ranks up--uhh, I mean DOWN--there with Patricia Cornwell's "Isle of Dogs" as an example of how a "name" author can churn out drek and and get it published. I realize that they have "quotas" of so many books per year they have to write, so quality is of little concern.) The dialogue lumbers and is completely unrealistic, for starters. "I guess we'll have to spoon," says one young woman when the two heroines get in a small car trunk. I stopped counting the number of times that one woman "rolled her eyes for the other's benefit." Just awful, awful, awful. And the more than abrupt ending leads one to think that we'll be faced with "Shock, Part II." Thank god I got this book from the public library and didn't spend any money. Sorry, Dr. Cook....I used to love your books, but no more. You--and your editor--should be ashamed for foisting this inane drivel upon your readers.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Shock - ingly Bad!, Nov. 17 2003
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This review is from: Shock (Mass Market Paperback)
The title Cook gave this novel was "Shock". The title should have been "Laverne & Shirley Meet Dr. Frankenstein". If this novel was translated to the screen without major dialog modifications, I suggest it be done as a comedic farce. The female lead characters are at once Ph.D. candidates yet devoid of any common sense, planning ability or street smarts. At no time was this reader ever concerned about either heroine [the gene pool would have improved without these two ditzes in it]. The "menacing" staff at Wingate were uniformly two-dimensional and about as scary as last year's Halloween costumes. To make up for the stringy and fragile plot, Cook bores the reader incessantly with long-winded descriptions of barely relevant scene, building and equipment details. {A Reader's Digest condensed version of this novel would contain half the words without degrading this story.} I hadn't read a Cook novel for years and the contrast between this one and, for example, Coma is striking. Cook needs a new editor who will prod him to write well again or suggest he take a sabbatical or try a new career.
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2.0 out of 5 stars This book stinketh!, June 3 2003
By 
T. L. Rylands (Atlanta, GA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Shock (Audio Cassette)
Given Robin Cook's phenomenal success, his name usually gets my interest. After listening to the audio version of "Shock", I was sadly reminded that consistently good authors are increasily difficult to come by.
The basic premise of this book is the lengths two Harvard graduates, Joanna and Deborah, go to in order to find out what happened to the eggs they donated to the mysterious Wingate Fertility Clinic. The idea itself is not a bad one and could have lent itself to quite a riveting story. However, this one is so badly done that by the time the lousy ending arrives, you're ready to have Robin Cook sent to the Wingate Clinic to have his head examined.
First, let me air my main complaint with the audio "voice" of the character of Joanna. She's a supposed native of Houston, Texas. The reader's use of a Southern accent is comical and comes off as a Tallulah Bankhead wannabe. It grates mightily on the ear. You can sound Southern without sounding like this.
That said, the other fault lie with Cook's assumption that his readers are going to suspend reality for most of the book. Joanna and Deborah go to great lengths to secure false identities in order to become Wingate employees. For a fertility clinic that is supposedly as secure as Fort Knox, it's surprisingly easy to get a job there. They don't even do criminal background checks, drug tests or call references. In fact, the girls get hired the day they're interviewed! How convenient! It's also amazingly easy to hack into the computer files, too.
Cook's other characters tend to be one-dimensional personalities. Founder Spender Wingate is especially awful as an arrogant, self-absorbed egoist in search of beautiful women and financial success. Head of Security Kurt has pyscho written all over him. Especially his desire to rid the world of "trashy" women. None of these characters are even remotely fleshed our or given true identities.
As others have noted, the book's ending is unacceptable. It has "SEQUEL" written all over it. However, I personally no longer cared what happened to any of these people by this time so I suppose it's apropos of my experience.
All in all, this book stinketh!
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1.0 out of 5 stars 0 Stars, April 22 2003
By 
Andrew Cook (Portland, Oregon) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Shock (Mass Market Paperback)
There are only three words to describe this book--What the hell? I picked this book up at the library because I heard that Robin Cook was an interesting writer. Bad decision #1. I read the entire book in fairness to the person who recommended the author. Bad decision #2. I did not burn the book before returning it to the library. Bad decision #3.
As others have said, the plot of the book is completely asanine and unrealistic. If some Joe Shmo had written this book, it would have never been published. I've seen better dialogue in erotic fiction lovemaking scenes. Try reading the book out loud, and you will see how ridiculous some of the conversations are. People just don't talk like that.
I'm still confused about the pigs--were they trying to clone the babies and then have the pigs carry the fetuses? Again--What the hell?
The ending capped off what was a total fiasco of a book. I guess I won't give it away for those of you who enjoy torturing yourselves--but, if you don't ask yourself that recurring question, "What the hell?" at the end of this book, there is something seriously wrong with you.
Thanks, Robin, at least it gives us something to write about.
Oh--there was one redeeming quality to the book--Mr. Cook does not use any profanity, and does not have any gratuitous Stephen King-esque sex scenes. You don't see that a lot these days.
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1.0 out of 5 stars two-dimensional, soap opera type characters, April 16 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Shock (Hardcover)
Having read only four Robin Cook novels (Chomosome 6, Toxin, Vector & Shock) I can say that this one was by far the worst. Based on previous costumer reviews, I think it's safe to say that this is probably Cook's worst novel.
One common aspect about Cook's novels is that the characters are often poorly developed. I seams like he comes up with a potential "medical/technical" plot and then he just fills in the rest with two-dimensional characters and ridiculously unrealistic dialogue. The book if filled with cheesy scenes like; 1) the two main characters continuously giving themselves high-fives after some mutual agreement or accomplishement. 2) A guy actually rubbing his eyes in disbelief with his nuckles when he first notices one of the trampy looking characters. It is also filled with cheesy lines like; "We're moving to plan B". Some people may applaud the author for his obvious effort to leave out any use of vulgarity, but replacing this with such lines as "my word!" and "Gadzooks!" gives the impression that this is just a 'Scooby Doo' episode gone bad. At one point, the author even introduces a psychotic killer to the plot (previously discharged from the army) who's appropriatly named "Kurt". I don't know if this is just a coincidence or just another attempt by an author to associate his villain with Conrad's Character in "Heart of darkness". If so, it's geeting old.
I suppose most authors publish at least one bad novel throughout their respective career, but it's hard to believe that a book like this would actually get published. I suppose this can be an encouraging thought for any wannabe authors out there.
As for the ending, lets just hope that the author's intention was to leave the rest to the readers imagination rather than the possibility of a sequel.
Do yourself a favor and don't waste your money on this book. Even if you're a big Robin Cook fan, it's not the end of the world if you skip this one.
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1.0 out of 5 stars The real shock was how truly bad this was., April 3 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Shock (Mass Market Paperback)
Apparently when one becomes a name writer, there is no longer a requirement to adhere to the basic tenets of fiction writing and provide credible plot, characters, dialogue and pacing, because this book lacked them all.
The plot was silly and contrived. The main characters, two Harvard PhD's, (one in biochemistry no less) appear to have less sense than ditzy teenagers, as they participate in ridiculous escapades more suited to a poor sitcom.
The dialogue was banal, trite, and boring, mostly of the: "How are you?" "I am fine, thank you. And you?" variety. These two post docs made "Bill and Ted" sound erudite by comparison. Think about it, when was the last time you heard anyone actually say, "Gadzooks?"
The whole book plodded along until the last few pages, and then, wham bam thank you mam. I struggled and stuck it out, reading until the bitter end, except there was no end. The book simply stopped. My greatest fear is that this abrupt disconnect signals the intention of (heaven forbid!) a sequel.
This is the second terrible Robin Cook novel I've read lately. (The other being, Harmful Intent.) I used to enjoy his books, but doubt I will risk trying another one.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Shocked at "Shock", Jan. 13 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Shock (Mass Market Paperback)
I have (or perhaps now, had) been a fan of Robin Cook's medical thrillers for years. With this most recent one, however, either my taste has improved or Cook's talent has diminished. The subject of cloning and the ethical questions it raises should have provided a wonderful venue for a top-notch medical thriller. Instead, the author throws a couple of Harvard grads into an implausible scenario as the two, returning from months in Venice and settling into their high price condo, immediately set out to discover the fate of the eggs they donated to the Wingate Clinic.
The duo have little trouble penetrating the clinic by gaining employment and then access to their files. Like the characters themselves, their disguises are hokey and the events too flawed to elaborate on, but they are shocked and horrified at the discoveries they make. Like the bulk of the book, the ending is overly pat, simple, and sudden. It had been my inclination to put the book aside about halfway through, but I truly felt it would get better. Unfortunately that wasn't the case so my recommendation would be to put it aside before reading page one.
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1.0 out of 5 stars The "Shock" is how bad this is, Nov. 13 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: Shock (Mass Market Paperback)
I've read most of Dr. Cook's novels and have usually enjoyed them. This was not the case in this latest instance. The plot was totally impausible and the two "heroines" are most annoying. We are supposed to check our brains at the door and believe that two college graduates who have donated their eggs to a fertility clinic would then turn around and assume false identities based on stolen social security numbers from dead people in order to infiltrate the clinic (complete with disguises) and hack into the computer to steal confidential records.
In the process, they demean themselves by using their "feminine wiles" to seduce the head of the clinic and they run into an assortment of stereotypical characters straight out of central casting including the egomanical research head, the stern female doctor, acne-faced computer nerd, and Neo-Nazi Security chief. And don't even get me started on the "witty banter" between these two "clever girls". If I want "spunky", I'll stick to Nancy Drew.
Dr. Cook has has interesting female leads in past books who showed intelligence and were equal to the task of taking on the bad guys without resorting to ludicrous behavior. He missed with this one and I was very disappointed.
What's most disappointing though, is that the subject matter, illegal experimentation on embyros and cloning, which should "SHOCK" as the title suggests, is completely overshadowed by the inane writing and storyline.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Ouch! Time to hang your shingle, Doc., Nov. 4 2002
By 
R. L. MILLER (FT LAUDERDALE FL USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Shock (Mass Market Paperback)
Maybe it's time for Robin Cook to do what he went to med school for, or retire--one of the two. His characters become more and more cookie-cutter with every book. Plus he seems intent on picking up every medical front page story and running with it--in this case, stem cell research and human cloning. The technology is believable, due to the fact that Cook is a doc. After all, Joe Wambaugh wrote good cop books because he was one. Likewise Grisham, because he's a lawyer. But the characters, for crying out loud! Two grad students donate eggs to a fertility clinic to pick up extra cash. Then the next thing you know, one of them decides now that it's too late that she wants to know what happens to hers. Despite the fact that they told her up front that it was against policy. So the pair go undercover to snoop for the info. Once dresses up as a cliche bimbo, the other goes for the opposite extreme. They get jobs in the place. The computer guy is the cliche computer nerd, immaturity and social ineptness and all. The teaser chapter is even worse--an earlier donor dies on the table because of a surgical blunder. I guess somebody has to croak early on to make it a suspense story, right? Cook apparently thinks so--everything he writes starts out that way. Maybe his weakness is rapid-fire publication--22 books in 27 years. Crichton has published 13 in 33 years, and each of his books shows the greater amount of time spent on it. Or maybe it wouldn't be a good idea for Cook to go back into practice after all. I can see him having trouble with hospital privieges. With his gadfly approach to hot-button medical issues, I'd be a bit leery about letting him work in any hospital I was admistrator of.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Shock, Sept. 29 2002
By 
This review is from: Shock (Mass Market Paperback)
Shock written by Robin Cook falls in line with other books that the author has written, a medical-mystery-thriller. But, I must say this, this is not upto the author's standards. I found this book to fall flat as the character development is almost nonexistant, shallow at best.
Deborah Cochranne and Joanna Meissner are supposed to be Harvard grad students, but they seen to be more child-like as they were immature and the dialog made them appear grossly out of place, which didn't fit the premiss. Anyway, Deborah and Joanna both respond to a campus newspaper ad. An ad that pays forty-five thousand dollars to harvest their eggs for treating infertility... as long as they were slim, athletic and of course attractive... what a cliche... Ivy-league.
The clinic goes by the sobriquet, Wingate Infertility Clinic, and, of course, the two women are accepted into the donor program. This seems all contrived and a little trite. And further on they use the money to buy a condominium and splurge on an extended trip to Venice. This whole set-up was weak. I thought that this book was going to be something on the level of "Outbreak or Coma." Think again, you'll get a better mystery reading a Nancy Drew.
Next, Deborah and Joanna get to thinking and want to find out if their eggs were of use in the infertility of others, but the clinic becomes very closed-mouth and the girls smell a rat and begin to investigate. Nancy Drew makes a case for better preparation than these two. As they discover some disturbing irregularities at the clinic, they find out that this is a cloning lab.
The only "Shock" in this book is that there really is no ending to speak of. I believe that the Robin got Cooked writing this one. I normally won't write a review if a book is a one star, but I'll make an exception in this case... it was really that bad.
This book is a borrow from the library... better yet leave it on the shelf.
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Shock by Robin Cook (Hardcover - Jan. 14 2002)
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