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3.88  ·  Rating details ·  50,198 ratings  ·  950 reviews
The blockbuster bestseller that kickstarted a new genre--the medical thriller--is now available in trade paperback for the first time.

They called it "minor surgery," but Nancy Greenly, Sean Berman and a dozen others--all admitted to Boston Memorial Hospital for routine procedures--were victims of the same inexplicable, hideous tragedy on the operating table. They never wo
Paperback, 384 pages
Published September 23rd 2014 by Mulholland Books (first published 1977)
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Average rating 3.88  · 
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 ·  50,198 ratings  ·  950 reviews

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Dr. Appu Sasidharan
Jul 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: medicine

This is one of the first Medical thrillers I read during my med school days. It is also one of my favorite ones. Robin Cook tells us this story through Susan Wheeler, who is a trainee at Boston Memorial Hospital. Two patients she knows goes into a coma in a perplexing manner after surgery, and she decides to investigate the matter. What follows is a thrilling medical thriller that caused a lot of discussion during the 1970s when it was published. This is a must-read book if you love medical
Oct 28, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
* Coma starts out so well and encompasses such a wonderfully sinister plot that it's a shame it had to be written by Robin Cook. I read the author's Shock not too long ago. In the nearly 25 years that had elapsed between the publication of the books, Cook clearly hadn't learned a thing about creating believable characters or plot complications. Why should he, when his books are bestsellers?

* Cook writes like a bad TV show: if you don't approach it passively, you can't possibly enjoy it. That's h
May 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: suspense
This is an oldie and as far as I'm concerned, it is also a goodie. I enjoyed this. I think that calling this a medical thriller is definitely appropriate. This book is very very dated with transistor radios, 10 cent pay phones, and a $600 hit job, but it was worth the read. The best part for me was the suspense build up. It was well done because I couldn't wait to turn the next page. I also have to say that it was all quite satisfying regarding the "bad" guys. And I loved the attitude of the fem ...more
Terri Lynn
I first read this in 1977 at age 18 when it first came out and was a Robin Cook fan thereafter. I decided to re-read it this month and compare what my 18 year old self thought with what my 53 year old self thinks.

Third year medical student Susan Wheeler , along with 4 male medical school classmates, are assigned to Boston Memorial Hospital to begin learning first hand about surgery and patient care.

There are some aspects of this book and about women in medicine that I really want to discuss. I
Nov 08, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Every male in this book is a a sexist and a chauvinist. So it makes it difficult to circumvent their attitudes to get the feel and fuel of the story. In the middle of the mystery the author has taken liberty to create an unimaginable romantic relationship with the (hero), and one of these misogynists (very unlikely). However there is some really nice action sequenced moments that allow you to keep on reading. But unfortunately the author ruins the ending by trying to do the unexpected. I like th ...more
Aug 26, 2022 rated it liked it
This was written in the 1970s, and I'm all for not judging old novels by modern standards... But yeesh... I've read books from the 1940s with more, shall we say, enlightened attitudes espoused between the covers. Take away that and the writing style, and you might just have a great little story here. ...more
Nov 14, 2021 rated it liked it
As a mystery/thriller Coma was very entertaining. As with most thrillers it did strain credulity at times but that is an expected aspect of the genre. I enjoyed it.

I can recommend it to those who are interested with one caveat. Coma was written in the 1970s by an American man and has a strong female protagonist. Unfortunately he put some dubious thoughts in her head. Author Robin Cook was just not up to the task of creating a convincing female perspective when he wrote the book.
Jan 30, 2015 rated it did not like it
Okay, after three books I'm calling it. Time of death is 19:47 hours. How on Earth is Cook a best-selling novelist instead of someone printing up stories in his garage to send to family at Christmas?

Coma is a wretched book. Cook couldn't write an interesting, strong, or likable character if you held a gun to his head. The words in the book repeatedly tell us how beautiful and (more importantly) how smart the protagonist, Susan, is. But the actual words that represent what she thinks and says te
Asghar Abbas
Apr 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing

I am not even hesitant to grant it a well-deserved five-star rating. What a truly scary book this was, about what humanity does best; subject their own kind to man-made horror, and that's the worst kind. A frightening tale Herr Docktor had cooked for us ( tell me you saw what I just did there, hehe anyway ) because not only it's possible but probable that we are capable of this. It's all about the possibilities, isn't it? No, wait. It's all about the endings. Parallels could be drawn that trusti
Aug 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Read it years ago. One of my fave movies - have seen it many times.
Jan 29, 2022 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
If you like medical jargon and a ton of casual misogyny, then you’re going to love this book. It’s honestly one of the worst books I’ve ever read, and if I could give it zero stars I would. How Cook got this published is beyond me, just to get through the last half of it I made a drinking game where anytime anyone said something misogynistic I took a drink, and I was hammered by the end of it.

The main plot seemed interesting enough, but it’s so overloaded with doctors talking about things you’d
Okay, who hasn't read this book or seen the movie? It was a phenomenon in its day. And it was a decent suspense, thriller novel. But the only Cook novel I ever read. ...more
May 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Good. Couldn't put it down. ...more
Paul Ataua
May 17, 2021 rated it liked it
‘Coma’ the movie was one that impressed me when it came out in 1978, and I must have watched two or three times over the years. On reading the book, it was obvious that the movie just took all that was good about the book, a fairly solid medical thriller where a young medical student /doctor is struck by and investigates the excessive number of comas following minor operations. What the movie played down was the constant references to sex and gender that seemed to arise out of the author’s attem ...more
Sep 10, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Coma" is a medical mystery/thriller by Robin Cook. It was the initial book that earned him the reputation as a successful author. It's a pretty good book. A little weird in places. And the main character has all the common sense of a doorknob.

Susan is a third year medical student in Boston just starting her first day at Memorial hospital. She soon comes into contact with two patients who have inexplicably ended up in comas. For some reason, she immediately becomes obsessed with these comas and
Bren fall in love with the sea.
“She thought about how marvelous is would be to have a wife keeping the house in order, the meals on the table. At the same time it seemed ridiculously unfair that she could never have a wife. In fact, if she married, she would be expected to be the wife.”
― Robin Cook, Coma

This is the only medical thriller I have ever read that I actually moderately liked. I am not usually a reader of this Genre although I did try to be quite awhile ago and discovered it really is not for me.

However I did a rer
Jen_Ken a.k.a....Jenny from the block
I'm going with 3.5 stars for this 70's classic. Well conceived story that is truly a scary thought. The ending was brilliant. My only knock is the technical jargon; for example, you do not need to name the bones of the hand when you are using a pair of sizers as a weapon and you drive it through the hand.
But other than that the characters were believable and well developed. Also, my days of BBQ in an apartment was spot on and did bring back some fond memories.
Jul 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Robin Cook pretty much owned the medical thriller. Hmm, I wonder who owns the genre now? This was perhaps his best book.
Oct 11, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
I enjoyed it,it was my first medical thriller by Robin Cook.But after that,I tried a few more of his books,only to discover that they are very similar.
Joseph Spuckler
Sep 06, 2022 rated it really liked it
A great 70’s novel that has aged very well.
Julia Madeleine
Mar 16, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was huge when it first came out. I read it when I was in my teens and loved it. It was probably the first medical thriller I've ever read. I saw the movie when it was released staring Michael Douglas (love those books to movies), and back then it was pretty scary. Probably that was due in large part to my youth. Everything is scarier when you're a kid.

The premise of this book is wicked; going into the hospital for routine surgery and never waking up from the anesthetic. I think that ap
Ryan Meloche
Dec 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
Susan Wheeler manages to paradoxically make and break this novel. From the very beginning she is abrasive, overly emotional, over-ambitious, and even a tad conceited. She views herself as a rational individual, an intellectual - yet she responds to every confrontation or negative situation with an instant emotional knee-jerk reaction. In truth, despite my criticisms this served to draw me in more rather than repel me, it seemed like an honest interpretation of what people are really like. It's s ...more
Jan 06, 2021 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller
I know this was a landmark work in that it became a best seller and was made into an iconic movie in the 70s, but it definitely did not age well and Cook's continued success has me baffled. I remember reading this in the 80s and seeing the movie but I was surprised upon rereading it just how sexist and stereotypical the characters come off today. Our lead, Susan Wheeler is a female third year medical student just entering the hospital after two years of classroom learning. Susan could be a text ...more
Revolutionary for its time. This book and the derivative movie actually changed the culture and direction of an entire Nation of people. As a result, it should be considered a land mark work - regardless of "literary" merit.

Not so science fiction now that violent and nonconsensual organ harvesting is taking place in China on a very real and massive scale. They are the number one importer of organ transplant anti-rejection drugs yet also one of the lowest for voluntary organ donation due to the m
Nov 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Who knew that I would enjoy a medical thriller? This genre is new to me. And I recently read a book about a coma in a totally different genre ("Anything But Ordinary" by my lovely neighbour Lara Avery) and when I found this book on my bookshelf my interest of comas and the mind during comas (it's so fricken mysterious) made me pick it up. And BOY OH BOY am I glad I did!

The following may or may not contain spoilers.

Susan Wheeler is a young and beautiful (of course) medical student who discovers t
Michael Sorbello
This book takes “dirty hospital politics” to extreme levels of grotesque absurdity and that’s what made it such a fun read. Some of the dialogue and character interactions come off as strange and stilted, but the book was written during a different time when politics and social issues were completely different than what we deal with now so that’s to be expected to a certain degree.

It’s certainly a bit outdated in some areas, but the main thriller that serves as the center of the plot is still t
♛ Garima ♛
Feb 07, 2017 marked it as to-read

My father is huge fan of Mr. Cook, I'm still bit skeptical trying - what if I don't like it? ?
Oct 12, 2022 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror, own, read_2022
Savvy and seductive third year medical student, Susan Wheeler has just started working at the Boston Memorial Hospital when, on her first ward round she falls for a patient about to head into the OR for surgery. Little did she know that her all too brief conversation with the dreamy patient was to be her last, as, like too many other patients at the Memorial, he falls into a coma during surgery.

Something isn't right, Susan just knows it - and it's not her overly active womanly emotions leading
Ellie McCabe
Jul 23, 2018 rated it did not like it
Wow. Scribd recommend this tome, but it is one of the most sexist books I have ever experienced. The first chapter I thought it was a joke, so stereotypical of how a man writes a main women character were is speaks about her body like it turns her on. Here are some great quotes:

"As she sat there, her circulatory system dissipated her body heat into the cold
room, making her nipples rise up from the summits of her shapely breasts.
Goose pimples appeared from nowhere along the insides of her naked
Jenny Baker
Sep 27, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This wasn't as good as Mortal Fear, but still enjoyable. The first 12 pages hook you, but then the book slows down until about midway. Half way through, the book picks up speed and hooks you again. After reading two Robin Cook novels in a row, his books sounded formulaic, so I don't recommend reading his novels back to back if you're easily annoyed by formulaic writing. I still love his novels and plan to read more, but now I need something else. If you're in a reading rut, a medical thriller is ...more
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Classic Trash: Coma: In Progress (No Spoilers) 7 9 Jan 01, 2022 01:08PM  
Classic Trash: Coma: Finished (Spoilers) 8 6 Nov 08, 2021 02:37PM  
Coma 7 43 Apr 27, 2014 12:32AM  

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Librarian Note: Not to be confused with British novelist Robin Cook a pseudonym of Robert William Arthur Cook.

Dr. Robin Cook (born May 4, 1940 in New York City, New York) is an American doctor / novelist who writes about medicine, biotechnology, and topics affecting public health.

He is best known for being the author who created the medical-thriller genre by combining medical writing with the thri

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