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Vector (Jack Stapleton Series #4)

Vector (Jack Stapleton Series #4)

4.2 31
by Robin Cook

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New York City cab driver Yuri Davydov is a disgruntled Russian emigre poised to lash out at the adoptive nation he believes has denied him the American Dream. A former technician in the Soviet biological weapons system, Biopreparat, Yuri possesses the knowledge to wreak havoc in his new home. But before he executes his planned piece de resistance of vengeance, he


New York City cab driver Yuri Davydov is a disgruntled Russian emigre poised to lash out at the adoptive nation he believes has denied him the American Dream. A former technician in the Soviet biological weapons system, Biopreparat, Yuri possesses the knowledge to wreak havoc in his new home. But before he executes his planned piece de resistance of vengeance, he experiments first on his suspicious live-in girlfriend, then on a few poor-tipping fares.... Dr. Jack Stapleton and Dr. Laurie Montgomery (both last seen in Chromosome 6) begin to witness some unusual cases in their capacity as forensic pathologists in the city's medical examiner's office: a young, healthy black woman dies of respiratory failure, a Greek immigrant succumbs to a sudden, overwhelming pneumonia. At the same time, the pair are pressured from above to focus on a high-profile string of suspicious deaths of prisoners in police custody. When an unexpected breakthrough persuades Jack that these seemingly unrelated deaths are really connected murders, his colleagues and superiors are skeptical. Only Laurie is somewhat convinced. But the question soon becomes whether the pair will solve the puzzle before Yuri unleashes into the streets of New York the ultimate terror: a modern bioweapon. With signature skill, Robin Cook has crafted a page-turning thriller rooted in up-to-the-minute biotechnology. Vector is all-too-plausible fiction at its terrifying best.

Editorial Reviews

After Richard Preston's The Cobra Event, you'd think bestselling authors would give the abused citizens of New York City a little break. Well, not so. In Robin Cook's Vector, the Big Apple is locked in the sights of a twisted citizen who feels he's been deprived of the American dream. Get ready to be terrified once again.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In this age of lethal bioweapons, there's a frightening logic in the idea that your next breath might kill you. Alas, Cook's latest, about an impending bioterrorist attack in New York City, is more ho-hum than horrifying. The premise has promise: cab driver Yuri Davydov is a disillusioned Russian immigrant haunted by his involvement in a tragic accidental release of government-produced anthrax that killed hundreds, including his mother. Armed with hatred for America and practical skills in how to build a biochemical weapon, he's joined forces with Curt Rogers and Steve Henderson of the People's Aryan Army. This catastrophic coalition aims to attack the Jacob Javits Federal Building and the Upper East Side; but for starters, Davydov tests his weapons on his own much-maligned wife and random, innocent rug merchant Jason Papparis. When medical examiner Jack Stapleton (last seen in Cook's Chromosome 6) does an autopsy on Papparis, the first of a series of plot-deadening coincidences occurs--he meets Davydov, who just happens to be cruising by to see if Papparis is dead. Too much "just happens" throughout this novel; worse, the investigators maddeningly bumble around obvious clues the reader has long since pieced together. Stapleton just happens to play basketball with the brother of Davydov's murdered wife; when autopsying the body of Aryan Army informant Brad Cassidy, he has a contrived hunch, and tests the body for anthrax poisoning. The whole plot, including the finale, hinges on happenstance, and Cook seems to know it--his characters say things like, "What kind of weird coincidence could this be?" Cook's biotechnology research is rewarding, the pace is as pleasingly hectic as you'd expect from the author of Toxin, etc., and some of the characters are well drawn. But in the end, this potentially spine-tingling premise is undermined by a disappointing plot manifesting authorial machination rather than authentic, character-driven events. (Mar.)
Library Journal
Medical thriller master Cook (Toxin) explores the ramifications of biological weapons as forensic pathologist Jack Stapleton deals with three seemingly unrelated deaths. The first involves a rug importer mysteriously infected with anthrax. The second is a particularly horrific murder of a white supremacist, while the third begins as a routine asthma death that becomes suspicious. Attempting to find the asthma victim's actual cause of death, Jack races against time when he uncovers a plot masterminded by a neo-Nazi group working with a bitter Russian immigrant to release anthrax spores into New York City. Although some of the plot developments are implausible and some of the characters stereotypical, the chillingly realistic premise combined with Jason Culp's accurate portrayals of a large cast of characters makes this a compelling tale that will be popular in all fiction collections.--Susan McCaffrey, Haslett H.S., MI Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Beth Amos
March 1999

Cookin' Up Some Terror

For more than 20 years, Robin Cook has been the undisputed master of the medical thriller, coming up with plots that tap into our darkest fears and exploit our greatest vulnerabilities. His latest book, Vector, is no exception, offering up the specter of biological terrorism as its premise. Bringing back forensic pathologists Jack Stapleton and Laurie Montgomery, who were last seen in Chromosome 6, Cook delivers a tale of ultimate terror nestled in the comfort of some of his best-known and most likable characters.

Like so many other immigrants, Russian Yuri Davydov came to the United States in search of the great American dream. What he found instead was a capitalistic and segregated society that leaves him eking out his existence as a New York City cabdriver rather than utilizing his extensive knowledge and training in bio-weapons research. Forced into a marriage of convenience so he can stay in the country, Yuri has grown bitter and resentful. As a result, he has decided to return to Russia, but not before seeking revenge against his adoptive nation by putting his superior knowledge to use in a way that will immortalize him and make him a hero back in his homeland.

When fate hooks Yuri up with members of a neo-Nazi group that call themselves the People's Aryan Army, it seems a match made in heaven. The PAA is anxious to exact its own revenge upon the American government in retribution for the incidents at Ruby Ridge and Waco. The PAA has targeted the Jacob Javits Federal Building in New York City for its terrorism; Yuri is prepared to unleash his revenge upon the general populace by releasing a biological agent in Central Park.

The weapon of choice is anthrax, a potent and deadly bacteria capable of killing within a day or two of exposure. Yuri's knowledge of how to culture and package the deadly bacteria, combined with the PAA's intricate plan for dispersing it, will mean the deaths of hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers in a matter of days. But before this unlikely band of terrorists implement their deadly act, they want to make sure the bacteria will have the desired effect. Yuri tests his homegrown killer on an unsuspecting Greek rug dealer, who dies within 24 hours of exposure. Thrilled with their success, the terrorists start the clock ticking as New York City's citizens go about their business, totally unaware of the havoc about to be unleashed.

Dr. Jack Stapleton, a politically incorrect forensic pathologist and infectious-disease expert in the New York City Medical Examiner's office, has his mind on other things. His ongoing love interest and coworker, Dr. Laurie Montgomery, has been unusually cool and distant for the past month or so. Then she does a sudden about-face, inviting Jack out for dinner to share some exciting news that has her acting positively jubilant. Fearing that Laurie may be leaving to take a position on the West Coast, Jack becomes despondent. But when he finds out the real reason behind Laurie's joy, the shocking news leaves him confused and devastated.

Ever the workaholic, Jack distracts himself with his job. When the rug dealer's body ends up on his autopsy table, Jack quickly identifies the cause of the man's death. But Yuri was clever enough to choose a victim for whom exposure to the unusual bacterial strain is easily explainable and little cause for panic. Still, nagging doubts about the case prompt Jack to investigate a little deeper. As other mysterious deaths occur, Jack and Laurie are drawn together in a race to solve the puzzle. When Jack is forced to step beyond the boundaries of procedure, protocol, and politics, it will ultimately jeopardize both his job and his life. And as the terrorists carry out the final phase of their plan, Laurie and Jack find themselves in a race against death, trying to save not just their own lives but those of the American people.

Vector is a riveting read that will leave readers both frightened and enthralled. With today's headlines hawking both the threat and reality of bio-terrorist attacks, such as the release of sarin gas in a Tokyo subway and the existence of Iraq's bio-weapons production facilities, Cook has once again zeroed in on an all-too-real scenario that makes for the most terrifying of fiction.

--Beth Amos

Beth Amos is the author of several mainstream suspense thrillers, including Second Sight, Eyes of Night, and Cold White Fury. She lives in Richmond, Virginia.

Kirkus Reviews
Doctor Cook, King of the Mind-bending Medical Thriller (from Coma to Invasion to Toxin), returns with a swoon-worthy killer-poison more dangerous than any before it.

A vector, as in the title, is a carrier that transmits an infectious agent from one host to another. Back from Chromosome 6 (1997) are Drs. Jack Stapleton and Laurie Montgomery, forensic pathologists in the New York Chief Medical Examiner's office. The first victim to come under their scope is Jason Papparis, a rug dealer who inhaled a fatal dust sent to him in a small box-how grisly, how amusing, a rug dealer murdered by dust! Also on hand at the morgue is dead and mutilated young skinhead Brad Cassidy, victim of the People's Aryan Army, which has been recruiting skinheads as shock troops and "tapping into that well of hatred and violence the music has engendered" (in Cookprose, music can engender a well). The pathologists find that Papparis died of anthrax. As it happens, a disaffected Russian, Yuri Davydov, once a low-level worker in a Russian bioweapons lab, has managed to get himself into the US and turn Manhattan cab driver. An anti-Semite, Yuri feels dismissed as a human being by American Zionists and has set up a bioweapons lab in his basement in Brighton Beach, undertaking what he calls Operation Revenge.

Meanwhile, he falls in with ex-military noncoms Steve Henderson and Curt Rogers, who are now NYC firemen as well as followers of the People's Aryan Army. The three hatch a plot to avenge Ruby Ridge by releasing Yuri's anthrax into the ventilation system of the 40-story Jacob Javits building, while Yuri also really wants to stick it to Manhattan's Jews by encircling Central Park with a ring of the incredibly infectious toxin.

What can a mere pair of pathologists do to stop this crew of nuts? Cook himself believes that a bioterrorist event is, without question, locked into our future. Not really a thought to minimize, as his cautionary tale observes.

Product Details

Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
Jack Stapleton Series , #4
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
4.35(w) x 6.79(h) x 1.18(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

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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Vector 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 31 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Robin Cook's Vector is a good thriller that held my attention to the end. I had a minor problem with noticeably hackneyed verbiage just one time. Telling most readers that orifice can be a malapropism for office detracted me from the author's craftsmanship. I had a major problem with Cook wanting me to believe that a single lab technician from Biopreparat's Sverdlovsk Compound 19 could produce both weaponized anthrax and botulinun toxin in quantity, in his basement, in a short time, all the while consuming prodigious amounts of vodka. It is not that easy. Many public documents, available to Cook and many readers, report Compound 19, and the connected Compound 32, employed close to 10,000 (15,000 people resided inside the two compounds). These scientists and technicians had help from institutes and universities throughout the Soviet Union. Cook's Yuri wasn't good enough to keep his job in this group. If fermenting anthrax using beer production methods could work, why didn't the Soviets (or Iraq, for that matter) just put a big fence around one of their many breweries? Cook could have made Yuri a lot more credible, and bio-weapons more real, with better research.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a very interesting medical thriller that grabs your attention but I felt it was not quite as well written as others out there. I read this right before I read Critical Judgment by Michael Palmer and I found that Critical Judgment was a better novel overall due to the fact that the story seemed be very specific rather than being to general. Nevertheless, this is a very good book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
It is a good book. I read it during my freashman year in high school this year. Even though I put it down for a few weeks once I pick it back up and couldn't put it back down. It was the best book I have ever read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this book in high school and could not put it down. By far the best book I have ever read!!! Highly recommended!
GrammieSE More than 1 year ago
I have been a fan of Robim Cook since reading COMA...nice read for a lazy afternoon
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Interesting book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Enjoyable, but a little predictable. Very engaging.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
Outstanding, well done Dr. Cook! More twists and turns than a bag of pretzels. I just could not put this book down it is a real edge of the seat read. The pages just fly by with intense entertainment.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Vector by Robin Cook is forgettable at best. It's not that its really all that bad its just that its like a mediocre action film, theres nothing special here. In fact, I thought it was rather boring.
Guest More than 1 year ago
An okay plot that is somewhat hampered by the story's predictability, somewhat wooden characters, and convenient coincidences. The writing is better than some other recent Cook thrillers, but still not as well crafted as some of his earliest works. Rather than forging new ground, this once again follows the latest headlines.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Another awesome book written by Robin Cook. A edge-of-your-seat thriller! I couldn't put the book down!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was the best thriller I have ever read. Its a pity that this is not made into a movie. It would be good for moral because of 9/11. It does hit close to home, and it scared me to know how easy it is to grow anthrax in your basement. This novel seemed realistic and I think that everyone should read it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I'm a big SK fan but i decided to take a break and i read vector. It was awesome! It had an interesting plot and a good ending! Even if you dont enjoy reading get this book and you'll want to read books like crazy(trust me).
Guest More than 1 year ago
I tried--really tried--to enjoy this book. I told myself I would focus on the premise and ignore the wooden characters, plot contrivances, loose ends, and ludicrous dialogue. I already knew that Robin Cook couldn't pass freshman comp. But thrillers don't thrill when you laugh out loud at the pathetic prose. Example: 'The man's expression changed from one of indignation to one of anger. His cheeks empurpled.' Doesn't anyone edit this turkey?
Guest More than 1 year ago
Incredible author. Dr. cook bravely touches on sensitive true issues such as the zionist-controlled America. also, he masters the art of thrilling. you will enjoy reading any of his many writings.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is one of Cook's better books. The graphic portrayl of the skinheads in the book and their overwillingness to kill was deeply unsettling. The possiblity of a bioweapons attack is so real and the ability to see how 'easy' one could happen is very scary. This book will defineately make you think the next time you get into a taxi cab or think about foreign relations!
Guest More than 1 year ago
His writing about biological weapons is an incredible story. I found this book to be exciting from the begining. The thought that biowarfare could be a reality as he so mentioned in the book, makes the reading much more powerful. Great book to read!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was cleverly written. I was amazed by the number of twists and turns in this book. All the words on every page are important to the story, though it might not be evident at the time. You'll find the doctors' social lives quite amusing (and yes, their social lives do get implemented in the main plot) Please do your self a favor and get this book. You'll kiss yourself for doing so.