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3.76  ·  Rating details ·  7,511 ratings  ·  202 reviews
Both of them suspected that something was wrong--terribly wrong--in the great medical research center where they worked. Both of them wondered why a beautiful young woman had died on the operating table and her brain secretly removed. Both of them found it impossible to explain the rash of female patients exhibiting bizarre mental breakdowns and shocking behavior. Both of ...more
Paperback, 307 pages
Published January 4th 1982 by G.P. Putnam's Sons (first published 1981)
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Average rating 3.76  · 
Rating details
 ·  7,511 ratings  ·  202 reviews

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“Sure can. Just ask the computer. That thing will do just about everything but polish your shoes.”
― Robin Cook, Brain

I've read a few others by this writer and have decided medical thrillers are not my thing.

With "Brain", I did find myself involved in the story but the central premise was somewhat to creepy for me and the book in general was a downer. That is not to take anything away from the book because Brain is a book that likely anyone who is a fan of medical thrillers would enjoy.

I was tes
Ryan Lieske
Ridiculous and fun. I wish all of Cook's novels were this whacked out and macabre. It's no "Coma", but it has the same outlandish thrills as "Mindbend" and "Shock", which is fine by me. I don't expect great literature from Dr. Cook; hell, I don't even expect great storytelling. But "Brain" has just the right amount of B-movie silliness to keep the pages turning. And, since the book was released in the early 80s, a lot of it is hilariously outdated (which, obviously, adds to the fun).
Sep 28, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: friends of (medical) thrillers
Let me begin by stating that I did enjoy this book significantly. I for some reason had a preconceived notion that the story would be much trashier than it turned out to be, which might have influenced my opinion in a positive way; I was pleasantly surprised, ergo inclined toward a kinder review. My grievances are, in the end, minor ones, even though they did affect my reading experiences negatively.

Brain takes place over three days in the life of Dr. Martin Philips, a radiologist who has fared
Oct 07, 2010 rated it really liked it
The story starts with a girl Kathereine Collins going to a GYN clinic where she undergoes treatment for some Gynac ailments. She has starts having seizures where she smells a repulsive but familiar odor and then loses consciousness. As the book goes on it tells about other young women around the same age with the exact same symptoms. The story's main character is Dr. Martin Phillips, a doctor in neurophysiology at a New York City hospital. He is working on a self-diagnostic x-ray machine along ...more
Aug 28, 2010 rated it liked it
Brain was entertaining, intelligent and completely ridiculous in equal measures. I admit I enjoyed it, despite never buying the premise for a single moment. Cook has a talent and it's for telling a good yarn that keeps the pace going. It's not so much that he's believable or a good writer (although I've read worse working in the thriller genre). Also, I think I understand TeeVee shows like House a little better having read this.
Sep 16, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A shocking medical thriller!
James  Love
This novel is Dr. Cook's 4th published novel (Year of the Intern, Coma & Sphinx) and his 2nd medical thriller. It came out 4 years after Coma. It is a mixture of Quincy, ME; Medical Center; Emergency! & Trapper John, MD with a little St. Elsewhere and ER thrown in.

The interesting medical & victimology aspects are: all female, have abnormal pap smears, develop a form of epilepsy & have an attack post OB/GYN exam. Warning: Chapter 6 is particularly graphic for people with weak stomachs.

May 16, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
From the beginning Lisa Marino's surgery to the end I was in suspense. The pace calmed a little until Dr Martin Philips followed Helmut Werner, a creepy character. Then the plot took off from there. A very disturbing read.
Oct 12, 2019 rated it liked it
M.M. Strawberry Library & Reviews
Sigh. Why do I keep reading Robin Cook? Oh that's right, his books keep turning up in my neighborhood's Little Free Library, and I keep hoping that he writes something that doesn't involve a conspiracy.

Unfortunately, this book was exactly just that. It's obvious that Mr. Cook knows his medical stuff, and it shows in here, him being a doctor and all, but the story itself fell flat at the end with the big reveal that YES ITS ALL A CONSPIRACY BECAUSE THE PEOPLE BEHIND IT ARE GREEDY.

Now, it's not th
Vandan Revanur
Jul 24, 2016 rated it liked it
A novel that is well paced , talks about the incredible powers the brain harnesses. A peek into the futuristic synergy of the biological brain and the computers. An impending biologically cybernetic future. Does definitely involve a lot of Medical terms and literature. Definitely requires a medical dictionary or Google at disposal. The end is quite predictable. A satisfactory read.
Debbie Bradford
Sep 07, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It may have been outrageous as some people have suggested but the prologue in the end bothered me. It certainly makes one think and wonder about human experimentation and exploitation. Truly was a good read with the afterthoughts compelling.
Sherri Losee
May 27, 2014 rated it did not like it
Stilted narrative, sterotypical characters . . . Stick with medicine, Dr. Cook.
Wendy Gamble
Apr 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Extremely enjoyable. Real-life technology now approaches the results in the novel, but it’s possible that mutilated bodies would be cheaper than expensive cameras, lasers, programming and such.
The characters in Brain were very appealing. I don’t mean I’d personally want to meet all of them, but Mannerhiem added a lot of drama, Phillips was a wonderfully imperfect hero. I can’t help but wonder, though, if the more people read about a divorce making people happy the more it will happen. I’m not s
Chaitalee Ghosalkar
Jun 06, 2018 rated it it was ok
Some books are so bad that they don't deserve the time one takes to write their reviews. Brain easily falls into this category.

Several young women show atypical Pap smear results, only to experience seizures that eventually cause death/disappearance. On a parallel path, Martin Philips, the protagonist who is the Assistant director of Neuroradiology is developing an X-Ray reader that eliminates the need of humans to read them. While this is interesting, the execution fails badly.

In an attempt to
Randall Reese
This book had real promise. About half way through the book, I actually thought it might be the strongest Robin Cook I've read to date. We were still doing pretty well even 75% through the book. Then things got weird. Super weird. (view spoiler) ...more
David Zimny
Nov 04, 2019 rated it it was ok
Robin Cook is one of the few writers in which I think his later novels are better than his earlier ones. His first book, "The Year of the Intern", is dry as a bone. His second, "Coma", I read so long ago I don't remember anything about it. "Brain" is his fourth novel, and is quite forgettable. Wooden characters- actually there are only two main characters, a fortyish radiologist man, and his late twenties female doctor love interest. Several characters are introduced who seem pretty interesting, ...more
Steven Hall
Jul 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
A medical suspense novel that although it is a little dated, still is very much valid in terms of diagnosing and symptoms related to brain diseases. The cases represented are fascinating to read about the diagnosis, and the description of the symptoms the patient experiences, especially since I am all too familiar with them. Some of the medical descriptions are a bit wordy for my taste, but the author did a great job in keeping the jargon to a minimum and easy to read and understand without havi ...more
Jun 29, 2020 rated it it was ok
Yeesh. First Robin Cook novel, and I was left underwhelmed. Was hard to follow at points, characters would show up then never reappear. Characters were cardboard cutouts, didn’t really care that much. Sometimes got a little too descriptive to the point where I wasn’t even sure what the hell was happening. Plus, he would frequently change how he referred to characters throughout the book, and because they weren’t well established (and all talked the same), it became difficult to tell who was who. ...more
Michael Adamchuk
A college student disappears in NYC medical center while attempting to get her medical records. Her parents call the NYPD and wants them to investigate. In the medical center, a radioneurologist feels stuck in his position and underappreciated. He is working on a revolutionary computer program with a computer nerd that will read and diagnose neurological x-rays. Meanwhile, several more girls with similar brain lesions conditions go missing. Medical staff concerns about the missing women go ignor ...more
Oct 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: medical-fiction
Some college co-eds are going into the GYN clinic and experiencing unexplainable neurological deficits shortly thereafter. Some have died. The Chief of Neurology, Dr Michael Phillips, is intrigued by certain strange spots on the Xrays. Being a keen researcher, he wants to explore this anomaly. Unbeknownst to him, there is a conspiracy to keep certain things secret and he finds his life in danger.
I like the build-up of various background layers. Near the end, it was a guessing game as to who w
Jenny Kay
Apr 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
I liked this book in spite of myself.

It started rough, and I was really worried about where it was all going with the whole gynecological element, given the b-movie flavour of this story, but yeah; I kept coming back to it, despite everything. It's definitely a product of its time, occasionally laughably so, and the David Cronenberg-level of body horror was . . . gothic in its total gross-outedness, but somehow it was a compelling read, especially with the endnotes.
Apr 27, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
I had saved this book from my days of high school reading and finally returned to it. It was still decent almost 20 years later.

The characters were engaging and overall likeable. I was foreshadowing in my brain what was going to happen through the book and I was only a little off. The relationship between the male and female in this book was a bit of a stretch but it was cute.

I look forward to reading more from Robin Cook.
lori mcbride
Jan 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book kept me interested from the beginning. The story was centered around two Drs. Falling in love and worked at a big hospital as Radiologists and Dr Phillips came across a strange area on

I chose the 5 star for this book because it became interesting from the beginning to the end. It had me on the edge of my seat near the end. A very well written book full of suspense. A rather shocking ending. A must read. Lori McBride
Jan 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Robin Cook is an exceptional writer of the thriller/horror genre. Tension is always presents as the story builds into a terrifying climax. Using his medical knowledge to create horror in an specialized field that is trusted so openly, he wields a tale so frighteningly real that it makes you question the world of medicine in general. I could not put this book down. It was that good. Highly recommended.
Carol Lynn
Jul 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Hair-raising medical intrigue

How to fit the puzzle pieces together? Another of Robin's excellent "medical thrillers" ... until close to the end . Then it got scary. And scarier.
Don't stop reading at the end. The epilogue will ruin your night's sleep.
I'm off to start a bit of "horse fluff" so I can sleep in a little while.
Thanks, Robin, for giving me the willies.
Damian Herman
Not bad for one of his older books, but not great either. I thought he wrote the suspense very well and he does a great job at making the reader feel what a nervous patient feels. However, the techncial medical details throughout the novel were a bit more extensive than necessary for storytelling purposes.
Mar 25, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Medical Thriller Fans
Enjoyable read about a diabolical medical scheme! I didn't expect the "bad guy" to be who it ended up being in the book! Not my favorite by Robin Cook and so I only gave it three stars but still a decent read.
Dec 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My first medical thriller!! Was a bit skeptical before taking it up(thanks to certain movies) but ultimately it turned out to be a good read. The story built up was good but it ended up quite abruptly.
Red Heaven
Apr 19, 2020 rated it liked it
For two thirds of the book, this wasn't particularly interesting and the hero was somewhat bland, but it really picked up with an exciting ending. Cook's writing is very acceptable and he moves the story along without it excessively dragging.
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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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