Last seen in 2006's Crisis, New York City medical examiner Laurie Montgomery diligently investigates an abrupt rise in infection deaths at the start of bestseller Cook's lively new thriller. All the deaths can be traced to three Manhattan hospitals owned by Angels Healthcare. Unbeknownst to Montgomery, Angels, which specializes in high-profit surgeries of amply insured patients, is on the verge of going public and can't risk any bad publicity. She's also unaware that Angels' main financial backer is a local Mafia don, who's prepared to kill anyone standing in the way of his investment. Cook smoothly juggles several subplots-one involving Montgomery's husband and fellow coroner, Jack Stapleton, who's suffered a serious knee injury playing basketball-and ekes out maximum value from one of his regular standbys, bumbling hoods. It all adds up to an entertaining mix of suspense, action and education about medical issues. (Aug.)Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Critical (Jack Stapleton Series #7)by Robin Cook
Angela Dawson, M.D., appears to have it all: at the age of thirty-seven, she owns a fabulous New York City apartment, a stunning seaside house on Nantucket, and enjoys the perks of her prosperous lifestyle. But her climb to the top was rough, marked by a troubled childhood, a failed marriage, and the devastating blow of bankruptcy as a primary-care internist.… See more details below
Angela Dawson, M.D., appears to have it all: at the age of thirty-seven, she owns a fabulous New York City apartment, a stunning seaside house on Nantucket, and enjoys the perks of her prosperous lifestyle. But her climb to the top was rough, marked by a troubled childhood, a failed marriage, and the devastating blow of bankruptcy as a primary-care internist. Painfully aware of the role of economics in modern life, particularly in the health-care field, Angela returned to school to earn an MBA. Armed with a shiny new degree and blessed with determination, intelligence, and impeccable timing, Angela founded a start-up company, Angels Healthcare, then took it public. With her controlling interest in three busy specialty hospitals in New York City and plans for others in Miami and Los Angeles, Angela's future looked very bright.
Then a surge of drug-resistant staph infections in all three hospitals devastates Angela's carefully constructed world. Not only do the infections result in patient deaths, but the fatalities also cause stock prices to tumble, leaving market analysts wondering if Angela will be able to hold her empire together.
New York City medical examiners Laurie Montgomery and Jack Stapleton are naturally intrigued by the uptick in staph-related post-procedure deaths. Aside from their own professional curiosity, there's a personal stake as well: Laurie and Jack are newly married, and Jack is facing surgery to repair a torn ligament at Angels Orthopedic Hospital. Despite Jack's protests, Laurie can't help investigating-opening a Pandora's box of corporate intrigue that threatens not just her livelihood, but her life with Jack as well.
Like Crisis, in which New York City medical examiner Laurie Montgomery last appeared, Criticalgravely examines the medical industry using the thriller as vehicle; unfortunately, both books are as dull as dirt. Cook here inelegantly examines the ethical impact of physicians becoming businesspeople: Which is more important, money or patients? The interest of the diligent Montgomery is piqued when she discovers that more than 20 deadly staph infections originated from the same group of specialty hospitals. All are owned by Dr. Angela Dawson, an MBA with designs on becoming a kind of hospital mogul. The element of danger comes from the mob, which provided Dawson's seed money. Despite featuring two female protagonists, the story is plodding and characteristically Cook: many useless details and completely unrealistic dialog. The only saving grace is George Guidall's routinely excellent narration. Not recommended.
Meet the Author
Robin Cook, M.D., is the author of more than thirty books and is credited with popularizing the medical thriller with his wildly successful first novel, Coma. He divides his time among Florida, New Hampshire, and Boston. His most recent novels include Host, Cell, and Nano.
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