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Murder and mystery reach epidemic proportions when a devastating plague sweeps the country.

Dr. Marissa Blumenthal of the Atlanta Centers for Disease Control investigates—and soon uncovers the medical world's deadliest secret.

340 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 1987

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About the author

Robin Cook

127 books4,075 followers
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 thriller genre of writing. His books have been bestsellers on the "New York Times" Bestseller List with several at #1. A number of his books have also been featured in Reader's Digest. Many were also featured in the Literary Guild. Many have been made into motion pictures.

Cook is a graduate of Wesleyan University and Columbia University School of Medicine. He finished his postgraduate medical training at Harvard that included general surgery and ophthalmology. He divides his time between homes in Florida, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts where he lives with his wife Jean. He is currently on leave from the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary. He has successfully combined medical fact with fiction to produce a succession of bestselling books. Cook's medical thrillers are designed, in part, to make the public aware of both the technological possibilities of modern medicine and the ensuing ethical conundrums.


Cook got a taste of the larger world when the Cousteau Society recruited him to run its blood - gas lab in the South of France while he was in medical school. Intrigued by diving, he later called on a connection he made through Jacques Cousteau to become an aquanaut with the US Navy Sealab when he was drafted in the 60's. During his navy career he served on a nuclear submarine for a seventy-five day stay underwater where he wrote his first book! [1]


Cook was a private member of the Woodrow Wilson Center's Board of Trustees, appointed to a six-year term by the President George W. Bush.[2]


[edit] Doctor / Novelist
Dr. Cook's profession as a doctor has provided him with ideas and background for many of his novels. In each of his novels, he strives to write about the issues at the forefront of current medical practice.
To date, he has explored issues such as organ donation, genetic engineering,fertility treatment, medical research funding, managed care, medical malpractice, drug research, drug pricing, specialty hospitals, stem cells, and organ transplantation.[3]


Dr. Cook has been remarked to have an uncanny ability to anticipate national controversy. In an interview with Dr.Cook, Stephen McDonald talked to him about his novel Shock; Cook admits the timing of Shock was fortuitous. "I suppose that you could say that it's the most like Coma in that it deals with an issue that everybody seems to be concerned about," he says, "I wrote this book to address the stem cell issue, which the public really doesn't know much about. Besides entertaining readers, my main goal is to get people interested in some of these issues, because it's the public that ultimately really should decide which way we ought to go in something as that has enormous potential for treating disease and disability but touches up against the ethically problematic abortion issue."[4]


Keeping his lab coat handy helps him turn our fear of doctors into bestsellers. "I joke that if my books stop selling, I can always fall back on brain surgery," he says. "But I am still very interested in being a doctor. If I had to do it over again, I would still study medicine. I think of myself more as a doctor who writes, rather than a writer who happens to be a doctor." After 35 books,he has come up with a diagnosis to explain why his medical thrillers remain so popular. "The main reason is, we all realize we are at risk. We're all going to be patients sometime," he says. "You can write about great white sharks or haunted houses, and you can say I'm not going into the ocean or I'm not going in haunted houses, but you can't say you're n

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