Shock [NOOK Book]

Overview

Two graduate students decide to solve their financial problems by becoming egg donors at an exclusive, highly profitable fertility clinic on Boston's North Shore. But second thoughts and curiosity prompt the two women to find out more ...
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Shock

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Overview

Two graduate students decide to solve their financial problems by becoming egg donors at an exclusive, highly profitable fertility clinic on Boston's North Shore. But second thoughts and curiosity prompt the two women to find out more about their donated eggs. Obtaining employment at the clinic under aliases, they soon discover the horrifying aims of its research, immediately putting their lives—and their sanity—irrevocably at risk…



 



Posited on up-to-the-minute science, Shock is a spine-tingling novel of medicine run amok by the bestselling master of medical suspense.



 



Technology and greed converge in this spine-tingling novel of medicine run amok by the bestselling master of medical suspense. ...Posited on up-to-the-minute science, Shock finds Robin Cook at the uncertain crossroads of medical technology and ethics.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Hoping to help infertile couples and looking for hard cash, two graduate school friends decide to become egg donors. But science students Debbie Cochrane and Joanna Meissner discover that somewhere behind the high walls of the North Shore fertility clinic, their little good deed is being transformed into a ghastly great crime. Cutting-edge science and suspense.
Barnes & Noble Guide to New Fiction
Technology and greed converge in this medical thriller by a master of the genre. When two female grad students decide to solve their financial problem by becoming egg donors, they find that the fate of their donated eggs is pretty murky, ultimately discovering the horrific aims of the clinic's research and putting their own lives at stake.
Publishers Weekly
The medical thriller has come a long way since Cook and Michael Crichton invented it: recent practitioners like Tess Gerritson have polished it into a powerful dramatic and social engine. Alas, Cook appears to have gotten off at the wrong station or missed the train entirely, judging by his latest effort, a crudely conceived, ineptly written and most damning of all totally unexciting story ripped from old headlines. Things have been going to hell at the Wingate Fertility Clinic, housed in a rambling Victorian mansion near Boston, ever since the gifted Dr. Spencer Wingate decided to take some time off to write a novel and chase women. Not only was he unsuccessful at both activities, but the nasty little replacement he left in charge has been doing some weird stuff including paying young Harvard women $45,000 for their eggs and driving down the profits. Spencer returns at the same time as two of these women, Deborah Cochrane and Joanna Meissner, who have been spending their payment on Boston real estate and a year in Venice. Judging by the burly security guards on hand who conveniently dispose of a donor who dies on the operating table (and her friend, too) in the first chapter, Deborah and Joanna aren't about to be greeted with open arms. They manage to join the clinic staff under assumed names, hoping to find out what became of the eggs they contributed. Add a farm straight from The Island of Dr. Moreau, where the Wingate staff experiment on animals when they're not busy applying unethical electric shock treatments to human zygotes, and the result is a medical and literary mess with no redeeming features. Copyright 2001 CahnersBusiness Information.
Library Journal
Ah, the wonders of modern medicine, which have given us, among other things, the medical thriller. Here, two graduate science students decide to earn a little extra money by donating their eggs to a fertility clinic. But then they discover that something is amiss. Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.\
Kirkus Reviews
Bestselling Cook (Vector, 1999, etc.) lets loose another infectious medical thriller, this one a delightfully readable though oddly girlish effort that could well be titled Nancy Drew and the Missing Ovary. Joanna Meissner and Deborah Cochrane, two 24-year-old Harvard grad students working on their Ph.D. theses, decide to sell an egg each to the Windgate fertility clinic on Boston's fancy North Shore, collect their respective $45,000 fees, buy a condo to rent out, and go off to Venice to finish their work via the Internet. Mischievous Deborah studies molecular biology and has all the good lines; solemn economist Joanna plays straight man when not displaying her strong computer skills. Before they leave for Venice, Joanna gives back her engagement ring to Carlton Williams, a Mass. General intern too blinkered by round-the-clock duties to pay her any attention. When the women return to Cambridge 18 months later, dissertations completed and physical appearance of each slightly changed, Joanna has an irresistible urge to know what happened to her egg. Deborah tries to talk sense into her roommate, but she too gets curious when inquiries reveal Windgate as overly crafty about its fertility research, donors, and egg recipients. So our heroines disguise themselves as sexy Georgina (Deborah) and prudent Prudence (Joanna) and take jobs at Windgate to find out where their eggs went. That's about all we can tell you without giving away a twist reserved for the three-quarter mark, aside from the fact that a serial killer gets dragged across one chapter as a red herring, that the story echoes The Boys from Brazil, and that the climax devolves into a long chase scene down halls and tunnels.Administers more of a routine physical than a real shock, but lots of fun anyway, with Deborah a great sidekick. The girls' masterful verbal swordplay is quite enough to keep the pages singing.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781101204009
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 8/27/2001
  • Sold by: Penguin Group
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 117,440
  • File size: 360 KB

Meet the Author

Robin Cook

Doctor and author Robin Cook is widely credited with introducing the word “medical” to the thriller genre, and thirty one years after the publication of his breakthrough novel, Coma, he continues to dominate the category he created. Cook has successfully combined medical fact with fantasy to produce a succession of twenty-seven New York Times bestsellers that have been translated into forty languages. To date, they include Outbreak (1987), Mindbend (1988), Mutation (1989), Harmful Intent (1990), Vital Signs (1991), Blindsight (1992), Terminal (1993), Fatal Cure (1994), Acceptable Risk (1995), Contagion (1996), Chromosome 6 (1997), Toxin (1998), Vector (1999), Shock (2001), Seizure (2003), Marker (2005), Crisis (2006), Critical (2007) and Foreign Body (2008).



In each of his novels, Robin Cook strives to elucidate various medical/biotech ethical issues. Dr. Cook says he chose to write thrillers as a way to use entertainment as a method of exposing the public to public policy conundrums such as genetic engineering, medical economics, in vitro fertilization, research funding, managed care, drug research, organ transplantation, stem cell research, concierge medicine, and M.D. owned specialty hospitals.



There have been numerous theatrical movies, television movies, and mini-series made from Robin Cook’s work. In addition to the successful feature film Coma, in December 1993, CBS-TV aired “Robin Cook’s Harmful Intent”; in November 1994 NBC-TV aired “Robin Cook’s Mortal Fear”; in May 1995, NBC-TV aired “Robin Cook’s Virus,” based on Outbreak; in February 1996 NBC-TV aired “Robin Cook’s Terminal”; in 1997 NBC-TV aired “Robin Cook’s Invasion”; and in October 2001 TNT-TV aired “Robin Cook’s Acceptable Risk”.


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Read an Excerpt


Chapter One


OCTOBER 8, 1999

11:15 PM


                                    So let me get this straight," Joanna Meissner said to Carlton Williams. The two friends were sitting in the dark inside Carlton's Jeep Cherokee in a no-parking zone on Craigie Street along side the Craigie Arms apartment building in Cambridge, Massachusetts. "You've decided that it would be best for us to wait to be married until after you finish your surgical residency some three or four years from now."

    "I haven't decided anything," Carlton said defensively. "We're having a discussion here."

    Joanna and Carlton had been out to dinner in Harvard Square that Friday evening and had been enjoying themselves until Joanna had brought up the sore subject of their long-term plans. As usual, from that moment on, the tone of the conversation had deteriorated. They had been over this thorny issue many times in the past as a consequence of their engagement. Theirs was a quintessentially long affair; they had known each other since kindergarten and had been dating each other exclusively since the ninth grade.

    "Listen," Carlton said soothingly. "I'm just trying to think of what's best for both of us."

    "Oh, bull!" Joanna blurted. Despite her vow to herself to stay calm, she could feel anger brewing in hergut as if she were a nuclear reactor about to go critical.

    "I'm serious," Carlton said. "Joanna, I'm working my tail off. You know how often I'm on call. You know the hours. Being a resident at the MGH is a hell of a lot more demanding than I'd ever guessed."

    "What difference does that make?" Joanna snapped, unable to keep the irritation she felt from being painfully obvious. She couldn't help feeling betrayed and rejected.

    "It makes a lot of difference," Carlton persisted. "I'm exhausted. I'm no fun to be with. I can't have a normal conversation outside of what's going on in the hospital. It's pathetic. I don't even know what's happening in Boston, much less the world."

    "That kind of comment might have some validity if we were dating casually. But the fact of the matter is we've been seeing each other for eleven years. And up until I broached this delicate issue of setting a date tonight, you were enjoying yourself, and you were perfectly fun to be with."

    "I certainly love seeing you ..." Carlton said.

    "That's reassuring," Joanna interjected sarcastically. "What I find particularly ironic about this situation is that you're the one who asked me to marry you, not vice versa. The trouble is, that was seven years ago. I'd say that suggests your ardor has significantly cooled."

    "It hasn't," Carlton protested. "I do want to marry you."

    "I'm sorry, but you're not convincing. Not after all this time. First you wanted to graduate from college. That was fine. No problem. I thought that was appropriate. Then you thought you should just get through the first two years of medical school. Even that was okay with me since I could get most of my Ph.D. coursework out of the way. But then you thought it best to put things off until you got yourself all the way through medical school. Are you detecting a pattern here or is it just me? Then the issue became getting the first year of residency behind you. Stupid me even accepted that, but now it's the whole residency business. What about the fellowship deal you talked about last month? And then after that you might even think it best to wait while you set up your practice."

    "I'm trying to be rational about this," Carlton said. "It's a difficult decision, and it behooves us to weigh the pros and cons ..."

    Joanna was no longer listening. Instead her emerald-green eyes wandered away from the face of her fiancé who, she recognized, wasn't even looking at her as he spoke. In fact, he'd avoided looking at her throughout this conversation; as far as she could tell, he'd only guiltily met her glare during her monologue. With unseeing eyes she stared straight ahead into the middle distance. All at once it was as if she had been slapped across the face by an invisible hand. Carlton's suggestion of yet another delay in setting a marriage date had spawned an epiphany, and she found herself laughing, not out of humor but disbelief.

    Carlton halted in midsentence while enumerating the pros and the cons of getting married sooner rather than later.

    "What are you laughing about?" he asked. He raised his eyes from watching himself fumble with the ignition keys and gazed at Joanna in the car's dim interior. Her face was silhouetted against the dark side window by a distant streetlamp whose light fingered its way through the windshield. Her sleek and delicate profile was limned by her lustrous flaxen hair, which appeared to glow in the half light. Diamond-like flashes glistened from her starkly white teeth just visible through her slightly parted, full lips. To Carlton, she was the most beautiful woman in the world even when she was badgering him.

    Ignoring Carlton's question, Joanna continued her soft, mirthless laugh as the clarity of her revelation sharpened. Precipitously, she'd come to acknowledge the validity of what her roommate Deborah Cochrane and her other female friends had been hawking all along, namely that marriage in and of itself should not be her life's goal. They'd been right after all: she'd been programmed by the totality of her suburban Houston upbringing. Joanna couldn't believe she'd been so stupid for so long and so resistant to question a value system she'd so blindly accepted. Thankfully, while treading water waiting for Carlton, she'd been smart enough to lay the foundation of a rewarding career. She was only a thesis away from a Ph.D. from Harvard in economics and she had extensive computer skills.

    "What are you laughing about?" Carlton persisted. "Come on! Talk to me!"

    "I'm laughing at me," Joanna said finally. She turned to look at her fiancé. He appeared perplexed, with his brows tightly knit.

    "I don't understand," Carlton said.

    "That's curious," Joanna said. "I see everything rather clearly."

    She glanced down at the engagement ring on her left hand. The diamond solitaire sucked in the weak available light and threw it back at Joanna with surprising intensity. The stone had been Carlton's grandmother's, and Joanna had been thrilled with it, mostly because of its sentimental value. But now it seemed like a vulgar neon reminder of her own gullibility.

    A sudden sense of claustrophobia gripped Joanna. Without any warning she unlatched the door, slid out, and stood up on the curb.

    "Joanna!" Carlton called. He leaned across the car's center console and peered up into Joanna's face. Her expression was one of fierce resolve. Her usually soft lips were set in grim determination.

    Carlton started to ask Joanna what was the matter, although he knew all too well. Before he could even get the sentence out, the car door slammed in his face. Pushing himself back upright, he groped for the passenger-side window button. When the window opened, Joanna leaned in. Her expression hadn't changed.

    "Don't insult me by asking what's the matter," she said.

    "You're not being very adult about this," Carlton stated firmly.

    "Thank you for your unbiased assessment," Joanna retorted. "I also want to thank you for making everything so clear for me. It certainly makes it easier to make up my mind."

    "Make up your mind about what?" Carlton asked. The newly found firmness of his voice vanished. In its place was a definite quaver. He had a premonition about what was coming, and it was accompanied by a sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach.

    "About my future," Joanna said. "Here!" She extended her clenched fist with the obvious intention of giving something to Carlton.

    Carlton reached out hesitantly with a cupped palm. He felt something cold drop into his hand. Glancing down, he found himself staring at his grandmother's diamond.

    "What's this all about?" Carlton stammered.

    "I think it's pretty clear," Joanna said. "Consider yourself free to finish your residency and whatever else your little heart desires. I certainly don't want to think of myself as a drag."

    "You're not serious?" Carlton questioned. Caught completely off guard by this sudden turn of events, he was befuddled.

    "Oh, but I am," Joanna said. "Consider our engagement officially over. Good night, Carlton."

    Turning on her heels Joanna walked back along Craigie Street toward Concord Avenue and the entrance to the Craigie Arms. Her apartment was on the third floor.

    After a brief struggle with the door release Carlton leaped from his Cherokee and ran after Joanna, who'd already reached the corner. A few deep red maple leaves, which had fallen from the tree that very day, wafted in his wake. He caught up to his former fiancée as she was about to enter her apartment building. He was out of breath. He was clutching the engagement ring in his fist.

    "All right," Carlton managed. "You've made your point. Here, take the ring back." He extended his hand.

    Joanna shook her head. Her grim determination had disappeared. In its place was a tenuous smile. "I didn't give the ring back as a mere gesture or machination. Nor am I actually angry. You obviously don't want to get married now, and all at once, I don't either. Let's give it a rest. We're still friends."

    "But I love you," Carlton blurted.

    "I'm flattered," Joanna said. "And I suppose I still love you, but things have been dragging on for too long. Let's go our separate ways, at least for now.

    "But ..."

    "Good night, Carlton," Joanna said. She pushed herself up onto her tiptoes and gave Carlton's cheek a brush with her lips. A moment later she was in the elevator. She hadn't looked back.

    Putting her key in her apartment door she noticed she was trembling. Despite her airy dismissal of Carlton, she felt her emotions rumbling just below the surface.

    "Wow!" her roommate Deborah Cochrane exclaimed. She checked the task bar on her computer to see the time. "Rather early for a Friday night. Wussup?" Deborah was dressed in oversized Harvard-emblazoned sweats. In comparison with the soft, porcelain femininity of her roommate she was mildly tomboyish with short dark hair, Mediterranean olive complexion, and an athletic build. Her facial features contributed by being stronger and more rounded than Joanna's yet still unerringly female. All in all the roommates complimented each other and emphasized each other's natural attractiveness.

    Joanna didn't respond as she hung up her coat in the hall closet. Deborah watched her closely as she came into their sparsely furnished living room and collapsed on the couch. She tucked her feet under herself and only then met Deborah's inquisitive eyes.

    "Don't tell me you guys had a fight," Deborah said.

    "Not a fight per se," Joanna said. "Just a parting of ways."

    Deborah's jaw dropped. For the six years she'd known Joanna, from freshman orientation onward, Carlton had been a fixture in Joanna's life. As far as she was concerned there'd not been the slightest hint of discord within the relationship. "What happened?" she asked with astonishment.

    "I suddenly saw the light," Joanna said. There was a slight trill to her voice that Deborah noticed instantly. "My engagement is off, and, more importantly, I'm not going to count on getting married, period. If it happens, fine, but if it doesn't, that's okay too."

    "My word!" Deborah said, unable to keep the glee from her voice. "This doesn't sound like the `butter cream frosting, silky bridesmaids' dresses' girl that I've come to love. Why the change of heart?" Deborah considered Joanna's march toward marriage almost religious in its unswerving intensity.

    "Carlton wanted to postpone the wedding until after his residency," Joanna said. In short order, she recounted the last fifteen minutes of her date with Carlton. Deborah listened with rapt attention.

    "Are you all right?" Deborah asked when Joanna fell silent. She leaned forward to peer more directly into Joanna's eyes.

    "Better than I would have guessed," Joanna admitted. "I feel a little shaky, I suppose, but all things considered, I'm doing okay."

    "Then this calls for a celebration," Deborah exclaimed. She stood up and bounced into the kitchen. "I've been saving that bottle of champagne cluttering up the fridge for months," she called over her shoulder. "This is the time to open it."

    "I suppose," Joanna managed. She didn't feel much like celebrating but resisting Deborah's enthusiasm would have taken too much effort.

    "All right!" Deborah exclaimed as she returned with the champagne in one hand and two flutes in the other. She knelt at the coffee table and attacked the bottle. The cork came away with a resounding pop and caromed off the ceiling. Deborah laughed but noticed Joanna didn't.

    "Are you sure you're okay?" Deborah asked.

    "I have to say, it's a big adjustment."

    "That's an understatement," Deborah averred. "Knowing you as well as I do, it's the equivalent of Saint Paul falling on the way to Damascus. You've been programmed by the Houston social scene toward marriage since you were nothing but a twinkle in your mother's eye."

    Joanna laughed despite herself.

    Deborah poured the champagne too quickly. Both glasses filled, mostly with fizz, and spilled out on the table. Undeterred, Deborah snatched the flutes and handed one to Joanna. Then she made Joanna clink glasses with her.

    "Welcome to the twenty-first century social scene," Deborah said.

    Both women lifted their stem ware and tried to drink. They coughed on the foam and laughed. Not wanting to lose the moment, Deborah quickly took both glasses into the kitchen, rinsed them, and returned. This time she poured more carefully by letting the champagne run down the side of the glass. When they drank it was mostly liquid.

    "Not the greatest bubbly," Deborah admitted. "But it's not surprising. David gave it to me way back when. Unfortunately he was a cheapskate from the word go." Deborah had broken off a four-month relationship with her most recent boyfriend, David Curtis, the week before. In sharp contrast to Joanna's, her longest relationship had been less than two years and that was way back in high school. In many ways the two women couldn't have been more different. Instead of the affluent southern suburban social scene complete with debutante balls funded by oil money which Joanna had enjoyed, Deborah grew up in Manhattan with a bohemian single parent who was immersed in academia. Deborah had never known her father, since it was her imminent birth that had ended her parents' relationship. Her mother hadn't married until relatively late in life, after Deborah had left for college.

    "I've not been much of a champagne fan anyway," Joanna said. "I actually wouldn't even know if it were good stuff or not." She twirled the glass in her fingers, momentarily mesmerized by the effervescence.

    "What happened to your ring?" Deborah asked, noticing for the first time that the jewelry was gone.

    "I gave it back," Joanna said casually.

    Deborah shook her head. She was amazed. Joanna had loved the diamond and everything it stood for. She'd rarely taken it from her finger.

    "I'm serious about this," Joanna said.

    "I'm getting that impression," Deborah said. She was momentarily speechless.

    The phone shattered the short silence. Deborah stood up to get it.

    "It's probably Carlton, but I don't want to talk with him," Joanna said.

    Over at the desk Deborah checked the caller ID screen. "You're right, it's Carlton."

    "Let the answering machine get it," Joanna said.

    Deborah returned to the coffee table and plopped herself back down. The two women eyed each other as the phone continued its insistent ring. After the fourth ring the answering machine picked up. There was silence while the outgoing message played. Then Carlton's anxious voice along with a bit of static filled the ascetically decorated room.

    "You're right, Joanna! Waiting until I finish my residency is a stupid idea."

    "I never said it was a stupid idea," Joanna interjected in a forced whisper as if the caller could hear.

    "And you know what?" Carlton continued. "Why don't we go ahead and plan for this June. As I recall, you always said you wanted a June wedding. Well, June's fine by me. Anyway, give me a call as soon as you get this message, and we can talk about it. Okay?"

    The answering machine made a few more mechanical sounds before the little red light on the front of the console began to blink.

    "That shows you how much he knows," Joanna said. "There's no way my mother could put together a proper Houston wedding in eight months."

    "He sounds a little desperate," Deborah said. "If you want to call him back and want some privacy, I can make myself scarce."

    "I don't want to talk with him," Joanna said quickly. "Not now."

    Deborah cocked her head to the side and studied her friend's face. She wanted to be supportive but for the moment was confused how best to play that role.

    "This isn't an argument he and I are having," Joanna explained. "Nor is it some kind of lover's game. I'm not trying to be manipulative, and frankly, I'd feel uncomfortable if we did get married now."

    "This is a total switch."

    "Exactly," Joanna said. "Here he is trying to move the date up and I'd be arguing to postpone. I need some time and space."

    "I understand completely," Deborah said. "And you know what? I think you're being smart not to let this situation turn into a petulant debate."

    "The problem is I do love him," Joanna said with a wry smile. "If there was any debate, I might lose."

    Deborah laughed. "I agree. You're such a new convert to a more modern, sensible attitude about marriage, that you're vulnerable to a relapse. You definitely need time and space. And you know what? I think I have the answer."

    "The answer to what?" Joanna asked.

    "Let me show you something," Deborah said. She climbed to her feet and picked up the latest issue of the Harvard Crimson lying on her desk. It was folded lengthwise in the classified section. She handed the paper to Joanna.

    Joanna scanned the page and read the circled ad. She looked up at Deborah questioningly. "Is this ad from the Wingate Clinic what you wanted me to see?"

    "It is indeed," Deborah said enthusiastically.

    "This is an advertisement for egg donors," Joanna said.

    "Precisely," Deborah said.

    "How is this the answer?" Joanna asked.

    Deborah came around the coffee table and sat down next to Joanna. With her index finger she pointed to the offered compensation. "The money is the answer," she said. "Forty-five thousand dollars a pop!"

    "This ad was in an issue of the Crimson last spring and caused a buzz," Joanna said. "Then it never reappeared. Do you think it's legit or some kind of college prank?"

    "I think it's legit," Deborah said. "Wingate is an infertility clinic in Bookford, Massachusetts, out beyond Concord. That's what I learned form their website."

   "Why are they willing to pay so much money?" Joanna asked.

    "The website says they have some wealthy clients who are willing to pay for what they consider the best. Apparently these clients want Harvard coeds. It must be something like that sperm bank in California where the donors are all Nobel laureates. It's lunacy from a genetic point of view, but who are we to question."

    "We're certainly not Nobel laureates," Joanna said. "Technically, we're not even Harvard coeds. What makes you think they'd be interested in you and me?"

    "Why wouldn't they be?" Deborah asked. "I think being grad students qualifies us as Harvard coeds. I can't imagine it's just undergraduates that they're looking for. In fact, the website specifies they're interested in women twenty-five and younger. We just make it under the wire."

    "But it also says we have to be emotionally stable, attractive, not overweight, and athletic. Aren't we stretching reality a bit here?"

    "Hey, I think we're perfect."

    "Athletic?" Joanna questioned with a smile. "Maybe you, but not me. And emotionally stable. That's pushing the envelope, especially in my current state."

    "Well, we can give it a go," Deborah said. "Maybe you're not the most athletically inclined female on campus, but we'll tell them we'll only consider donating as a pair. They have to take both of us. All or nothing."

    "Are you truly serious about this?" Joanna asked. She eyed her roommate who could be a tease on occasion.

    "I wasn't at first," Deborah admitted. "But then I got to thinking about it earlier in the evening. I mean, the money is enticing. Can you imagine: forty-five grand apiece! That kind of money could give us some freedom for the first time in our lives even while we write our theses. And now that you have so recently opted out of the economic security of the marital goal, the idea should be even more seductive from your perspective. You need some equity besides your education to maintain your resolve and, frankly, to begin planning for the life of a single individual. This kind of money could be the start."

    Joanna tossed the school newspaper onto the coffee table. "Sometimes I can't tell when you are pulling my leg."

    "Hey, I'm not joking. You said you need time and space. This kind of money could provide it and more. Here's the deal. We both go out to this Wingate Clinic, give them a couple of eggs, and collect ninety K. Of that we take about fifty K and buy a two-bedroom condo in Boston or Cambridge, which we rent out to pay the mortgage."

    "Why would we buy a condo to rent it?" Joanna asked.

    "Let me finish," Deborah said.

    "But wouldn't it be better to just wisely invest the fifty K? Remember: I'm the economist and you're the biologist."

    "You might be getting a Ph.D. in economics, but you're a babe in the woods in relation to being a single female in the twenty-first century. So shut up and listen. We buy the condo to begin establishing some real roots. In the previous generation females looked to marriage for that, but now we have to do it for ourselves. An apartment would be a nice start as well as a good investment."

    "My word!" Joanna exclaimed. "You're way ahead of me."

    "You bet your sweet ass," Deborah said. "And there's more. Here's the best part: We take the other forty K and go to Venice to write our Ph.D. theses."

    "Venice!" Joanna cried. "You're crazy, girl!"

(Continues...)

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Customer Reviews

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  • Posted September 1, 2012

    I Also Recommend:

    I've read most all Cook's books, and I think the low ratings I s

    I've read most all Cook's books, and I think the low ratings I see here are not fair.....I read the book in one sitting, loved the rapport between the two female characters....thought the ending, if a bit drawn out, was suspenseful, and I like books where I can more or less decide the outcome.....it leave's it up to our imagination....The book reminded me a bit of an "adult" Nancy Drew mystery, and since I devoured all of them, maybe that's why I liked this book.....lent it out to co-workers who also liked it very much.....

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 12, 2013

    PLEASE FIND SOMEWHERE ELSE TO PLAY!!!

    Come ON, children. This forum is for people who have read a book to post reviews. It is NOT intended to be the personal message board for a group of childish, immature idiots pretending to be kitty cats (or whatever the heck it is you are supposed to be).
    GROW UP or at least play your little roll playing crap elsewhere. The rest of us whi actually read are getting sick and tired of you.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 10, 2013

    Great

    But a lttle boring

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 10, 2013

    Mosstar to shockfang

    I love ur idea!!!!

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 9, 2013

    Trying to become a warrior

    Any takers for my join invitation??????

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 10, 2013

    Boring

    Nobody wants to know what ya look like or what ya play. WHAT DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THE NO MERCY BAND AND THE ELITE STUFF??

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 21, 2005

    1 star is 1 too many...

    This is only one of two books I've ever decided to just put down and not finish. I thought it started out poorly and seemed to be getting worse. I have a vivid imagination and am willing to keep an open mind as a story progresses, but the most unbelievable, impossible, inconceivable scenarios were happening in this story which was supposed to be realistic, that made it a joke to me and hard to get past in order to keep reading. My husband, who had read it, told me it was only going to go down hill from there. Skip it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 14, 2003

    What happened at the end.

    The book was basically very good but like a few of the others who wrote a review I felt that Dr. Cook got a bit(yawn yawn) of this book and just left people kind of hanging. I wonder if this book has been made into a movie. If it has or it does end up as a movie the ending got to be much better for our Ivy League heroines.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 11, 2003

    disapointing

    this... was bad. i read toxin and i loved it so i got the next cook book out *shock* and words cannot describe it. it just doesnt have cook's usual flavor. really bland.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 28, 2003

    A weak finish to a once-distinguished author

    Poor character development, a lack of suspense, predictable actions, lack of the 'is this likely' test, weak dialog and absolutely no denouemant, make this the worst Robin Cook novel I've ever read. Are you sure it wasn't ghost-written?

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 31, 2003

    Where is the ending

    I just finished this book last night. I purchased it 4 days ago and read through for three nights. The story line was interesting and capitivating and I enjoyed the friendship between Joanna and Debra. But like the other reviewers I was left hanging at the ending. I have read many books and by far this was the worst and most inept ending I have ever experienced. I bought the book at a second hand store and literally thought that someone tore out pages at the end of the book. Robin where did you go and what were you thinking in ending your story like this. I sensed you were tired of writing this story and decided to simply stop.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 8, 2003

    Not THAT bad!!

    I really enjoy Robin Cook's books, and this one, although not his best, was entertaining. It was easy to visualize the characters and played out almost like a movie. My only real disappointment was the weak ending. The buildup was great, but I was left saying, 'Is that it??' It could have been expanded to an explosive ending.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 29, 2003

    'Shocked' but Disappointed

    I have read five or six of Robin Cook's books and enjoyed them all--except for this one. My recommendation to anyone looking for a good book would be to avoid this one. From the outset, the plot was unrealistic. I had a difficult time making myself read it, but I kept thinking it would get better. I didn't lose hope until I was pages from the end and realized there was no way all those loose ends could be tied up. There were so many intriguing things introduced that were left totally undeveloped. What happened? I was left feeling as if Dr. Cook got called out on an emergency and decided to forget about the last chapter or two. There really should have been an other fifty pages so the reader would not have been left hanging. This isn't a book I'll be passing along to anyone.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 31, 2002

    Who are you and what have you done with Robin Cook?

    I believe I have read most books written by Robin Cook. I usually love them and find them interesting, challenging and sometimes surprising. Not so with this book. I hope the relatively unresolved ending does not imply a sequel. There were too many cutesy and/or stilted interactions between the main characters, not akin to anything I experience with my adult friends. I found it implausible that these graduate students, women of apparent above-average intelligence, would make some of the decisions they did at different junctures in the plot.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 24, 2002

    What's the point? Shanked, not shocked

    A rather anemic effort from such a talented writer. Rather than being the usual action-packed novel from Cook, I found this book rich in fluff and filler, using verbosity, word repetition, and unneccesary descriptiveness instead of meaningful plot. I found the ending barely satisfactory and did not feel that I was left hanging since my own imagination could fill in the missing pieces. As a medical doctor myself, I liked the premise (which had tremendous potential) but not the plot.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 29, 2002

    Weak Trash Best Left On Shelf

    Shock was a disappointment from the beginning and finished a chapter or two short of completion. The plot and character development was the weakest of any of the Robin Cook novels I have read (most of them). The worst part was the lack of a conclusion; the ending was so incomplete I kept looking at my copy to see if the last chapter had been ripped out. After 40 years of novel reading I have never seen such a drop in quality toward the end of a book. It appeared as if the last two pages were written on the way to the publisher.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 17, 2003

    Good book, but where's the ending??? Anyone know of a sequel?

    This is my first Robin Cook book. I really liked the story. I thought it was well written. The only troublesome part is that the ending left you hanging or left you to draw your own conclusion. I was very disappointed in the ending. The LEAST he could have done is tell us to look out for an upcoming conclusion right? 370 pages only to find out that the ending was rushed and closed within 5 pages. I actually was getting worried towards the end of the book because I was thinking "how can this book expect to wrap up when I only have 10 pages left to read?". I want to know what happened to the girls and what happened to the Doctor's. Do we assume? How terrible to make someone so interested in finding out what happens, not to find out anything at all? And, the crematorium.....we never "really" found out if the missing girls and the crematorium had any relation. Ugh! Does anyone know a web site I can check out to find out if Robin Cook will be publishing another book as a follow up or conclusion to this one? I would appreciate any information that anyone has.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 18, 2002

    What a waste of my time!

    I have read and enjoyed many of Dr. Cook's novels. This one started very interesting, the theme developed well, but I get the sensation that he had a deadline to meet so he just cut the book short and left the reader hanging. I myself felt cheated and dissapointed.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 14, 2002

    shocked by ending

    my interest level constantly fluctuated. I thought the dialogue was on a nancy drew mystery level. Not very exciting and the greatest shock was the ending...just left you hanging!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 22, 2002

    Shock Shocker Shocked

    Now I have loved Cook ever since I started spelling science.I can claim I know him better than he knows himself.Coma was his best. Shock is no Coma but is not too bad.

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