Critical by Robin Cook

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Critical by Robin Cook

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Category: Crime
Rating: 3/5
Reviewer: Eileen Shaw
Reviewed by Eileen Shaw
Summary: An efficient thriller based on medical skulduggery with some scary moments for its female protagonist. Light on characterisation, but well-paced throughout.
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Yes
Pages: 277 Date: August 2008
Publisher: Pan Books
ISBN: 978-0330457545

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A slick, confident, medical thriller, Critical ticks the right boxes in terms of complexity but fails in the region of character development and exposition. Partly because the nature of all thrillers is to concentrate on the action, the human dimension is often in thrall to intensifying the anxiety of victims and perpetrators at the expense of verisimilitude - therefore delivering the goods according to something of a template.

That said, Critical has a well-rounded scenario, with New York Medical Examiner Laurie Montgomery stumbling upon a puzzling spate of MRSA cases in a complex of private hospitals owned by Angels Healthcare. Angels is desperate to continue in business for if they can hang on for a few more weeks they will be launched on the stock exchange and everyone will be wealthy beyond their dreams. But they need more funding, which is where Angels' CEO Angela Dawson's mob-connected ex-husband comes in - and, almost by accident, where a certain rival mob outfit proves unexpectedly useful to the cops. Along the way, the reader is treated to some visceral moments in the public morgue and an absorbing set of plot-lines.

The puzzling political insinuation inserted at the end of the book comes as a surprise. It doesn't signify anything much, though it does point-up the author's lack of engagement in any real human-interest angle.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag.

This book is a little better than Crisis by Robin Cook. You might also enjoy I'm Thinking of Ending Things by Iain Reid.

If this type of book appeals to you then we think that you might also enjoy The Fifth Vial by Michael Palmer and The Last Town on Earth by Thomas Mullen. Deep State by Chris Hauty is pretty much on a par with Critical.

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