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Fatal Cure

Fatal Cure

4.1 6
by Robin Cook

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Public health care is one of the most important issues in America today. Now Robin Cook, the bestselling master of medical suspense, confronts this controversial subject with an all-too-possible scenario as powerful—and terrifying—as his groundbreaking blockbuster, Coma...With its state-of-the-art facility and peaceful Vermont setting, the Bartlet


Public health care is one of the most important issues in America today. Now Robin Cook, the bestselling master of medical suspense, confronts this controversial subject with an all-too-possible scenario as powerful—and terrifying—as his groundbreaking blockbuster, Coma...With its state-of-the-art facility and peaceful Vermont setting, the Bartlet Community Hospital seemed like a dream come true. It offered doctors David and Angela Wilson new career opportunities, a chance to work within an enlightened system of "Managed care" —and a perfect place to raise their daughter, who suffered from cystic fibrosis. But then, one by one, their dreams turned to nightmares. And day by day, their patients began to die...

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
If Cook's skills as a writer were as finely tuned as his sense of timing, his 14th medical thriller (after Terminal ) would be a lot more rewarding. Current political events guarantee that a suspense novel centering on health care management will be topical and at least potentially fascinating. Unfortunately, stock characters, stilted dialogue and improbable heroes and villains make for difficult reading here. Idealistic young doctors David and Angela Wilson take positions at a state-of-the-art medical center in a small Vermont town partly because they see it as an ideal spot for their daughter, who suffers from cystic fibrosis. But the town is not as idyllic as it seems, and the hospital is in a desperate financial bind due primarily to its contract with a local HMO, David's new employer. Worse still, patients are dying unexpectedly almost daily, and no one seems to care very much. The deaths are not normal, of course, and astute readers will quickly determine who is behind them, why and--most likely--how. Cook raises troubling questions about the conflicts between medical and financial priorities in managed care (albeit in a somewhat distorted fashion), but it's difficult to get emotionally involved in a scenario as improbable as this one. Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club main selection; Mystery Guild alternate; Reader's Digest Condensed Book. (Jan.)
Library Journal
A nave young couple sets out to practice medicine in an idyllic small town and find their dreams shattered within months of their arrival. Four of David Wilson's patients die unexpectedly, Angela Wilson is sexually harassed, and the dead body of an irascible old doctor is found in their cellar. Yes, they do solve the mystery and end up appearing on 60 Minutes describing what health reform could do to American medicine! Several hours of narrative are devoted to describing the Wilsons' stereotypic fairy tale before the plot starts to get interesting. Michael McConnohie reads clearly but is unable to do much with the author's simple sentence structure and unimaginative word choice. The abridged version of this novel, also available from Audio Renaissance (Audio Reviews, LJ 5/15/94), might be a better choice for popular collections.-Juleigh Muirhead Clark, Coll. of William & Mary, Williamsburg, Va.
Ray Olson
You'd think that by now even the protagonists in a Robin Cook medical thriller would know that the last thing they should do is go to the hospital. But here they are again, checking in as if they didn't know and pretty promptly checking out--of life, that is. Orthopedic surgery patients at Bartlet Community Hospital in Vermont are the initial victims. Later, after espoused docs Angela and David Wilson come to work for the hospital and for the super-powerful HMO, Comprehensive Medical Vermont, David's oncology patients start buying the farm. What's going on? Well, it's obvious early on that hospital and HMO are more concerned about the bottom line than patient care, and several of the dead provided for the hospital in their wills. It takes little time to put two and two together and figure out who the killer is. After that, Cook's wooden dialogue and shallow characterizations may have many fast-forwarding to the end, a tepid takeoff of the "Silence of the Lambs"' conclusion. The author's message--watch out for managed competition!--comes through loud and clear, though; an argument on the point, however, might have made even staunch Cook fans happier than this rather soporific performance.
Kirkus Reviews
Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the hospital, the king of medical malfeasance (Terminal, 1993, etc., etc.) shows why managed care makes life equally dangerous for idealistic doctors and their patients. Eager to flee the urban blight of Boston, budding pathologist Angela Wilson and her internist husband David are ripe for job offers from Bartlet Community Hospital, nestled in the bucolic hills of Vermont. They won't have to lock the doors on their sumptuous new house; their precocious daughter Nikki, who suffers from cystic fibrosis, will be able to have a dog; and together they'll be making over $125,000 a year (!). But there's trouble in paradise: Angela's paternal boss is a crude lecher; David is constantly under pressure from Charles Kelley, the scalawag regional manager of the monopolistic local HMO, to cut costs to the bone; the corpse of their dream house's former owner, a cranky retired hospital administrator who shot off his mouth too much, is walled up in their basement; Angela is attacked by a rapist who's obviously employed by the hospital; and, scariest of all, an awful lot of people with either terminal illnesses or life- insurance policies in favor of Bartlet are checking into the hospital but failing to check out. The HMO refuses to underwrite the costs of autopsies (are they covering up something, or just being obsessively stingy?); the apathetic, incompetent local lawmen are no more help; the old-boy administrators laugh at Angela's claims of sexual harassment and show her the door; and David, who's obviously never read a Robin Cook novel, surveys their tribulations with the sage comment: "We might have lost our jobs, but as long as Nikki isokay we'll manage." Written with Cook's usual complete lack of interest in language and character—two administrators arise from frenzied rutting to a detailed discussion of cost-containment—but so canny in joining his trademark medical paranoia to his audience's likely alarm about draconian cutbacks under managed care that you can expect sales to go through the roof. Watch your back, Hillary Clinton. (Literary Guild Dual Selection for March)

Product Details

Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
4.28(w) x 6.74(h) x 1.19(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

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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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Fatal Cure 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The_hibernators More than 1 year ago
In this twist of Cook¿s signature ¿doctors-gone-wild¿ plotline, unsuspecting patients of a rural hospital are plagued by sudden unexplainable deaths as a duo of doctors digs up the dirt. Literally. Although many of Cook¿s plots are quite similar, his style is fast-paced suspense that will have the readers guessing at the bad-guy until the last turn. I¿m generally not a fan of redundant plotlines or recycled characters, but I¿ve recently noticed Cook¿s works embody a gigantic medical ethics course. Each book explores a new ethical dilemma. Fatal Cure suggests to the reader that although America¿s medical system needs to be renovated, we may be driving it down an even more dangerous superhighway¿one with very few exits. This is not one of Cook¿s best works. His introduction to the hospital backdrop limps through a few <gag!> administrative meetings. I¿m already having nightmares about administrative meetings, thank-you, I don¿t need to read about them at bedtime. Once the readers zone out (or check their blackberries) through this sludgy beginning, the plot quickly picks up pace. I recommend this book to any avid Robin Cook fan.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was a pretty good book, not Cooks best though. It leaves you hanging at the end (some things it doesn't cover). Other than that it is a page turner and scares you what hospitals try to do. But Cook finds some way to show you these things in many of his books.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was very good. This was the first book I ever read by Robin Cook and I've been a fan of his every since. I was looking for a new author to read at the time. I was looking around the bookstore and almost didnt pick this book up. But I'm glad I did. I've enjoyed this book more than once. The story kept me guessing till the end