Book Review - Host by Robin Cook
I don't know why I do this to myself... I read a Robin Cook novel, thinking I'll like the story (I enjoy medical thrillers). But as I get deeper into it, I find myself disliking the book as it's nothing more than a skeleton to push some medical injustice or soapbox that Cook has picked out. I swear I won't read another one... until the "another one" comes out and I try again...
... and I end up with Host.
The storyline isn't bad. Actually, it's the only thing that kept me reading. Healthy younger guy goes into the hospital for a relatively minor surgery (knee repair). Something goes horribly wrong, and he ends up in a coma. Two medical students (one of which is his lover) decide that they need to dig into his case to see how something could go so wrong. What they uncover is a conspiracy that links the hospital and a pharmaceutical firm in a scheme that is unthinkable (and of course, highly illegal).
There's some soapboxing here about the evils of drug companies, the amounts they charge, and the way they spend their money. I'm used to that, and I'll forgive a bit of it. What really turned me off was the characters and dialogue. The two students, best friends, are extremely smart and top of their class. They are fourth year med students, so I'd expect them to know a lot. But it seems like basic medical conditions and terms seem to be beyond them (causing lots of late-night research). I got *very* annoyed with the dialogue, as it was stereotyped and completely unrealistic. Michael is a large black guy, and his "hip and cool" phrasing goes completely overboard. Even if they are friends, I can't imagine people talking like that. Lynn isn't much better, though. She's attacked later in the story, and she's telling Michael what happened. Saying things like "We've stumbled onto a hornets' nest, and my tete-a-tete with the goon got worse." Really? You've just escaped getting raped, and you're saying stuff like that? Couple the dialogue with a large number of situations where you have to suspend belief beyond what is normal, and it was just too much.
I might be a bit more forgiving with a first-time author trying to get it right and find their style. Cook should do far better at this point. I think I'll likely stay away from future Cook novels... just like I've said in the past.
Obtained From: Library