Book info

Fatal Cure (1998)

Fatal Cure (1998)
Author
Rating
3.72 of 5 Votes: 2
ISBN
0330337025 (ISBN13: 9780330337021)
languge
English
publisher
penguin books
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Fatal Cure (1998)
Fatal Cure (1998)

About book: I have been a Robin Cook fan since his very first book. I recently reread this one as I am always re-reading old favorites. I am not quite sure what it is I love about this book but I do love it. In the small Vermont town of Bartlet, people are dying mysterious deaths at Barlet Community Hospital and retired doctor (and former hospital administrator) Dr. Hodges wants to know why. He crashes a hospital board meeting, waving the files of several of his former patients, all now dead for strange reasons after staying in the hospital. After being brushed off, he walks home and someone comes to the door. He lets this person in and is beaten to death and then his body disappeared. Dr. Angela Wilson and Dr. David Wilson are a married couple in Boston who are just finishing up their medical residencies. Angela is a pathologist and David is a doctor of internal medicine. They have an 8 year old daughter Nikki who has cystic fibrosis. Since they are finishing up their residencies and need to find jobs, they have narrowed it down to three options- fellowships in Boston, academics in New York (thanks to her doctor father) or jobs in Bartlet, Vermont. In Vermont, Angela would become a pathologist at Bartlet Community Hospital and David would join the clinic practice of the HMO who insures most of the town and is the sole HMO holding up the hospital from bankruptcy. What David and Angela don't know is that the hospital signed a contract where the HMO pays them a set amount per year per person and that is it. The amount was too low and the hospital can't get them to raise the rate. As a result, the hospital is losing money. The board has also been skimming money off the rebuilding efforts and now need a flux of money. One of the patients who died left a 3 million dollar life insurance policy to the hospital. Also, someone is raping nurses in the parking lot but the media does not report it because the hospital asked them not to. There are some extremely unrealistic things that happen at this point. They had the job interviews and while Angela was being interviewed, the hospital administrator had her, David and Nikki in for the interview then walked them to the professional building for David's interview with the HMO where again, the whole family sat in on the interview. They went home thinking of the idyllic peace and quiet of the town to have trouble parking near their Boston walk up (4 flights of stairs) to find that someone had broken in and then Nikki goes to school only for there to be a 6th grade drug dealer shoot a gun on the playground near her. Cook lays it on too thick.It gets thicker when the family decides to revisit Bartlet in light of all of that. Would you believe that David and Angela decide on the spot to take the jobs because Nikki asks for a puppy and one of the townspeople offers to sell them one? Or that when they go to tell the HMO and the hospital that they send them over to the bank where the president is waiting to give them first and second mortgages with no application nor credit approval based on having the two new jobs despite the fact that they are deep in school loan debt to the tune of $150,000? And how about this- the banker sends them to a real estate agent who shows them 5 houses immediately, they settle on one, and the papers are signed, the bank mortgages are put into force, and they close on the property the same day. It just doesn't work that way in real life.The family is pleased to move in but small town life and work at the hospital and the HMO are anything but idyllic and soon becomes a nightmare. On his first day, David is told that the doctor who previously had his office committed suicide in it. Another doctor confides to him that it wasn't done like a suicide and in fact looked like a murder. Angela becomes victim of sexual harassment by her boss. Then the murdered body of the missing doctor is found walled in their basement but the local cops (who hated him) and the local citizens don't care and refuse to investigate. When Angela begins investigating, she is nearly killed in the hospital parking lot. When she hires an investigator, things take a dangerous turn for the worse. Meanwhile, 6 of David's patients who come into the hospital for things like an abcessed tooth or other problems, suddenly become ill with the same symptoms of drooling, seizures, nausea, vomiting and low white blood counts and often fever and then die. When Nikki's young friend Caroline dies there, David and Angela have to race to save Nikki's life while protecting their own.There is a lot of mystery, suspense, thrills and chills in this book. Small towns can hold deadly secrets. Will David, Angela, and Nikki all survive to tell the tale?

I continue to read Robin Cook's novels because they are always suspenseful, with clearly drawn characters, some of whom are the goody-goodies, and others who are the villains. Also he brings something a little different to the thriller by writing about medical situations, an area he knows about as he is a physician. Fatal Cure, insofar as all of this is concerned, is no exception. I read it in only two days so clearly it is a suspenseful story. However, I never think of his novels as being worthy of more than two and a half stars. Wooden dialogue, characters who are often too good or too evil, unlike most real people, and endings that don't quite tie up all the loose strings (well, DID Dr. Portland kill himself or was he murdered????) and, in this particular novel, I have a few specific complaints: the family is offered jobs in a seemingly idyllic town in Vermont and all of a sudden, in one week, Boston, the big, bad city, is a nightmare, with break-ins, sixth graders selling drugs, etc., etc., and conveniently, Cook forgets why people live in big cities and put up with such issues, things like the museums, the nightlife, the cultural activities, the restaurants. In Fatal Cure the family moves to a fictional Vermont town with exactly one movie theatre and two restaurants. That's idyllic? Also, the couple in the story, two of the stupider characters Cook has made up, are both doctors, and the wife has the more lucrative position and earns twice as much as her husband. I suppose that makes Cook think he is liberated, to write such a character, but guess who does 90% of the cooking in the story? Guess who is accused by her husband, at least ten times throughout the story, of being a hysteric? They find a dead body in their basement and he accuses her of being hysterical. C'mon now, she wasn't hysterical enough. Nevertheless, the suspense is why I don't just stop reading his novels. I just wish, after all these years, and all his books, Cook had improved some of the more flawed aspects of his writing.
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Reviews
Amanda
The good thing about Cook's books is that I don't feel so guilty about reading them instead of studying. You always end up learning something. The storyline is interesting and I really liked the characters, the were outlined well. Although I have to say, it was weird reading a Cook book without his recurring pathologists, not necessarily weird in a bad way.On the downside, I don't think the critiche that Cook wanted to do about the American Healthcare system just fell a bit short on my opinion, it got repetitive and a bit over the top sometimes. The other thing that bothered me is that I couldn't believe noone connected the dots between all the patients, so about halfway of the book I just kept being frustrated with the main character. It's an interesting read, not one of those books that keep you up filled with interest but it was a nice and easy read... a book to read when you're not looking to think too much.
Jayme Damm
In this book, Robin Cook did an amazing job of keeping you on the edge of your seat. The Wilson’s family moved to Bartlet after a serious of unfortunate events in their life. Bankruptcy and a robbery were just a part of the life they were living. They moved to Bartlet in hopes that it would be a better life for them but something different than what they were asking for. The first few days were awesome until things around the town started seeming suspicious. A suicide of a doctor occurs because all his patients are dying for no apparent reason. When this starts showing up for David Wilson he doesn’t know what to do. A murder crime scene is made in the basement of their house when they find a dead body behind of handmade wall. But this is just the beginning…Robin Cook had a great way of showing you through words that dreams aren’t always good. Don’t expect too much out of situation because sometimes it can turn on you and you’ll be the one at stake. I loved the way she put the characters in a situation that may actually happen in life. Thousands of people are murdered and hidden every year and in this book that one body changes their whole life. I liked the way you could easier put yourself in a characters position and try to feel what they might have felt. If I had a choice to recommend this book to others, I defiantly would.
Mazel
Bartlet est une charmante petite ville américaine. Pourtant, David et Angela Wilson, deux jeunes médecins plein d'espoir et de confiance dans la science, vont bien vite regretter de s'y être installés. Ils commencent par découvrir que, plus qu'ailleurs, mieux vaut y être riche et en bonne santé que pauvre et malade : on réprimande les médecins prescrivant des actes jugés onéreux et les remboursements sont plus qu'aléatoires. Plus grave : les malades de David commencent à mourir un peu trop rapidement et le cadavre de l'ancien directeur de l'hôpital ne trouve rien de mieux à faire que de réapparaître dans la cave des Wilson. Très vite, David et Angela sont eux-mêmes menacés... Chirurgien de formation, c'est tout naturellement que l'Américain Robin Cook (à ne pas confondre avec son homonyme anglais) a fait du thriller médical son genre de prédilection en signant une bonne douzaine de best-sellers dont Vertiges ou Fièvre. Inspiré de faits réels, ce roman dénonce une médecine prise en otage par l'argent ainsi qu'une machination hélas parfaitement crédible
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