Robin Cook has in most aspects, pioneered the intelligent medical thriller. He made his bones years ago with the novel Coma, and that novel has continued to be considered his high watermark, so much so that he has apparently utilized a good bit of the format in writing Host. Not that it detracts from enjoying the present book, but if you haven’t read Coma, it makes it easier to become mesmerized by Host.
Lynn Pierce, a fourth year medical student at Mason-Dixon University, has an otherwise happy life with a very bright future. She’s thrown for a loop when her boyfriend Carl enters the hospital for what appears to be very routine surgery. Due to some unforeseen complication, Carl fails to return to consciousness after the procedure, and an MRI scan confirms brain death.
Lynn enlists the help of a friend of hers, Michael Pender, a fellow medical student, to try and find out the truth of what really happened to Carl. What they discover is apparently a far reaching conspiracy going very far beyond an isolated occurrence during Carl’s operation.
What is really behind Carl’s unfortunate result during a routine procedure and the reasons for it form the major part of the story. Along the path to the truth, Cook’s distrust of Big Pharma becomes part and parcel of the plot involved.
Medical procedures, cause and possible effect, are explained so that the reader who has no medical training can readily understand what has transpired. An all nighter if there is ever one, which inspires a willingness to want to read future novels by this author.
11/15 Paul Lane
HOST by Robin Cook. G.P. Putnam’s Sons (October 20, 2015). ISBN: 978-0399172144. 416p.