Though I am not a fan of Robin Cook's fast-paced, suspenseful medical thrillers, I decided to give his latest a try, and was not disappointed. The story covers the intricate details of medical malpractice/wrongful death suit brought by the estate of Patience Stanhope against Dr. Craig Bowman, an internist and concierge doctor in the Boston area. There are plenty of conceivable twists and turns in the plot as Dr. Bowman fights to save his professional reputation. Everything seems stacked against him until a medical expert appears on the scene. Halfway through the book, a Dr. Jack Stapleton, a prominent New York City medical examiner and Craig's brother-in-law, starts his own investigation of the circumstances surrounding Patience's death, and all of a sudden the whole direction of the story changes. In typical Cook style, the novel is loaded with medical terminology and legal jargon, all effectively used to describe the unfolding search for clues and evidence. The actions and motives of the main characters like Bowman and Stapleton, on the whole, are well developed and plausible. I had no problems initially understanding why Bowman was under a lot of pressure after he was served with court papers. At this point, the reader might be very sympathetic to his plight. What surprised me was that Bowman has another side to his life that the author gradually and cleverly exposes through the actions of someone who is wants to help him clear his name. What starts out as a civil action eventually becomes a criminal matter. Cook has produced a great page-turner with a superbly managed plotline. A long the way, he raises some ethical issues concerning the operation of concierge style medicine for the wealthy.
on December 14, 2007
There’s a lot to admire about the author. He started writing novels as a way of bringing medical issues into the public eye, and he still does that today. This 2006 novel introduces readers (well, I’d never heard of it before) to concierge medicine, which…well, read the book, and that should explain it. But this novel is more medico-legal than the author’s previous medical thrillers. I’m fascinated with all the medical issues the author explores, but purely as a reader I have trouble enjoying the characters and the writing. Though Dr Latasha Wylie is a gem. So I don’t read these novels for entertainment: I read to learn, and I’m very grateful to Dr Robin Cook for that.