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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars GREAT BOOK A MUST READ
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...
Published on March 25 2002 by Betsy Harloff

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars I give up!!
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...
Published on May 23 2004


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars GREAT BOOK A MUST READ, March 25 2002
By 
Betsy Harloff "betsy624" (Toledo, OH United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Toxin (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
By 
Eric Petersen (USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Toxin (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. After a lot of finger-pointing between Sizzler and the meat processing company, an ex-USDA inspector appeared, blowing the whistle on the corrupt USDA and its collaboration with the meat industry.
Even Oprah Winfrey once did an expose on tainted meat, declaring to her viewers that she would never eat beef again, a statement that resulted in an unsuccessful lawsuit from Texas cattlemen.
Toxin is the ultimate horror novel because it's based on fact - on something that could happen (and has happened) to any man, woman, or child who eats meat. It's an exciting, heart-wrenching, gruesome thrill-ride; a truly disturbing novel that you will never ever forget.
Thank god I'm a vegetarian!
- Eric Petersen
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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
This review is from: Toxin (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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3.0 out of 5 stars This one will scare you away from fast food burgers, June 5 2001
This review is from: Toxin (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
This review is from: Toxin (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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5.0 out of 5 stars Tells the Truth in an Engrossing Manner, Oct. 6 2000
By 
Robert David STEELE Vivas (Oakton, VA United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Toxin (Mass Market Paperback)
If you're the type of person that does not have the time to read Laurie Garrett's BETRAYAL OF TRUST: The Collapse of Global Public Health (Hyperion, 2000), at 754 pages a real challenge, then this book, and the other books in the series, are a very worthwhile means of exploring real truths in an engrossing manner. The fact of the matter is that we are creating an increasingly dangerous environment for ourselves, with cross-contamination, increasingly resistant strains of difficult to diagnose diseases, and so on. The naive will lambast the book for scare-mongering, and they will be wrong--if this book gets you through an airline flight, or an afternoon, and causes you to think just a tiny bit about the reality that we can no longer trust our government to protect the food supply and preparation process, and to think just a tiny bit about how you might protect your children from inadequate "due diligence" by the food service industry, then you will be richly rewarded. The author himself recommends the non-fiction book by Nicols Fox, SPOILED: What is Happening to Our Food Supply and Why We Are Increasingly at Risk (Basic Books, 1997 or Penguin, 1998). The bottom line is that this novel is for serious people, and chillingly worthwhile for those who like to learn while being entertained.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Worst book I've read in years, Aug. 24 2000
This review is from: Toxin (Audio Cassette)
This was the first Robin Cook work I've read, and if it'sindicative of his work, it will be the last. The book starts out introducing us to stereotypical TV-movie characters in equally stereotypical dialogue: the rich, self-absorbed doctor argues with his airhead bimbo girlfriend/former secretary while driving his Mercedes, then argues with his whiny teenage daughter who hates the girlfriend, then argues with his estranged wife...
Once the real story gets going, the doctor behaves in totally unrealistic ways constantly. The "story" is mainly an attack on the meat industry, and we're deluged with gross-out scenes and intricate gory details which do nothing for the plot, but appear to be intended solely to nauseate the reader. Characters spout statistics and news-story-type facts instead of dialogue, and implausible plot elements follow each other in rapid succession. Finally, the first unexpected plot twist happens -- and the book suddenly ends! No wrap-up of story lines, no resolution of relationships, it just... stops.
The audio tape tries to make the story suspenseful by using a LOT of "dramatic" background music, without success...
I was amazed this book even got published -- if it had been a new author's first submission, it would never have seen print. Do yourself a favor, and skip this one.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Mixed Feelings, Aug. 15 2000
By 
BeatleBangs1964 (United States) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Toxin (Hardcover)
I have been an avid follower of Robin Cook since middle school. I have thoroughly enjoyed all of his books, but this one left me a tad cold. On the one hand, he does a thorough job of indicting the meat packing industry and managed health care. It is very interesting to see how neatly he intwines these two industries and shows the relationship between them. On the other hand, I did not like the protagonist, Dr. Reggis or his brat of a daughter. I felt Becky was rude to adults and had a very fresh mouth. The only thing I did like about her was her realistic view of figure skating -- if she went pro or went national, it would spoil the fun. I also liked Kim's estranged wife. I felt she was level and together and had a lot on her plate having to put up with him and cope with the subsequent death of their daughter to E. Coli from bad meat.
One character I really liked was David, the doctor who called Kim on his bad behavior in the waiting room when Becky was first admitted. He was stern, he was adult, he was reasonable. I really liked him and felt he was thoroughly professional.
I agree with other readers that the ending is a bust. Does Caroline, Becky's skating peer develop the E. Coli? If so, does she survive?
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1.0 out of 5 stars Where's that ending, am I missing some pages?, Aug. 2 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Toxin (Hardcover)
I was literally looking at my book wondering if I was missing pages between the end and that stupid epilogue. You are left wondering more about what happened than wondering how someone like that can even be published. They start a story line and then say I'm done I can't write no more.
I was really disappointed by this book. It had no character depth and was very unrealistic. I was wondering how that arrogant doctor thought that he should have special privileges in the ER. They should wait with the rest of us. And he is in jail twice in the same week and is still let out to run amongst the rest of us.
I could barely get passed the fact that the main character a male was named Kim. I guess since I didn't get to know the person of Kim I was always having to remind myself it was a man.
It could have been a good book but it needed to go back to the drwing board for lots and lots of revisions. A teacher would say that it has potential but you can't turn in that without lots of work.
Most of the plot was just bad and the ending was even worse. I don't know how people could give this book 5 stars it definitely deserved only one, if that.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Pretty good, but the ending made me throw the book down!, Feb. 22 2000
This review is from: Toxin (Mass Market Paperback)
This was a good book, but it definitely had three problems. 1- The multi-personality doc was unbelievable, resembling a whiny superhero. 2- The writing was so contrary. Cook has a large vocabulary, even sometimes he's too perfect with the grammar in the conversation. Yet, most of the dialogue is followed by "Tracy said, Reggis said, Tracy said, Becky said, Kelly said". Does Cook know of any other word to use besides "said" after quotation?
And the third problem was the ENDING! It ruined the book AND cost the book two stars on my rating. My hand was turning the pages at a mile a minute and then stopped at the ending. The story just fell into an empty space, not resolving the problem, no conclusion, nothing. UGH! I threw the book down in disgust.
Now you're asking why did I rate it with 3 stars. I couldn't put the book down (until the end, explained earlier). Cook's use of setting, conflict, and description was phenomenal. I really felt like I was in the scenes. The author merged a narrative medical drama with expository information about the steer-to-hamburger process. The "bridge" that melded the two and made the story work was the conflict of: the doctor's attempt to uncover E. Coli contamination versus the USDA and beef industry alliance's attempt to keep the contamination secret, in order to maintain their profits. If an ending was included in the book, it would be worthy of five stars.
This won't be the best book you'll ever read, but it's nonstop action and exploration through the beef industry will make you think next time you take a bite into that Big Mac.
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Toxin by Robin Cook (Paperback - Nov. 1 1998)
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