I have been a fan of Robin Cook’s since I was 10-11 years old. I read Coma then, followed by Sphinx, and I was hooked. Over the following years, I have read every single one of his books. And it is only in the last five years or so, that I haven’t managed to read each one. So when I saw one of his latest at the library, I just had to have the copy. And I wasn’t disappointed.
What I love most about Cook’s writing is that it is so incredibly topical. For example, in this latest book, he talks about the myth that vaccinations cause autism (honestly, a separate post is warranted to deal with praying for natural selection to weed out such idiots). But themes like this are never a central one, instead, they are thrown in as part of the wider character arcs. The bureaucracy of running a hospital, the importance of reliance on donor and funds, the rise of the Chinese economy and how limited doctors tend to be is all brought to life.
The characters are the long time famous couple Jack and Laurie Montgomery, who readers have known for about 2 decades I think. And revisiting them is like revisiting family, when you know what someone is going to stay or do. That said, the supense part of the actual story itself felt slightly too far fetched. The build up to the climax was long and slow, and the climax itself was over rather quickly and simply. I was expecting a bit more difficulty as the protagonist tried to extricate himself from a sticky situation. A nice easy read for the long winter nights.
Robin Cook has been my go to man for fast-paced, enjoyable, thrilling medical novels. For the last 15 years! Yes, you read that right… I read my first Cook when I was ten, and I have never looked back. I’ve read all 33 of them… he’s a great writer. That said, he has had his moments. Some books, like Abduction, were kind of not-that-great. But the Jack and Laurie series of books were stellar. And with his latest offering, George Wilson from LA is now my favourite doctor! In keeping with his uusualstyle of making medical ‘problems’ absolutely believable, in this book, he deals with the subject of technology. Cell in this book refers to Cellphones, which have an app called iDoc, replacing the need for traditional doctors. Of course, these things are being debated upon as we speak but in this book, as people start dropping like flies around Wilson, Cook presents a very chilling perspective.
How much technology is good? How much can we handle before it takes over our lives? these questions are important enough for grocery shopping, or the education of kids, or 3D printers and guns, but when it comes to the evolution of modern medicine, this question hits home deep. When the code behind an app starts developing ‘problems’, their developers are the decision makers for the rights vs the money. And the systems and political machinery that backs ventures such as these is also very ‘Big Brother’-esque.
I really enjoyed this book. I liked how the app seems like such a natural progression of our lives and then you see why real doctors are needed, why you cannot trust computers, and why, George loses his fiancee, his neighbour, a colleague, and a friend one after another. It is my kind of book, it raises my kind of issues, and it pulls it off with the fine kind of writing that Cook never fails to deliver. Must read!