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3.81  ·  Rating details ·  12,376 ratings  ·  522 reviews
Just how safe is America's meat supply? Recent health scares and new public awareness have made this one of today's most controversial subjects --- and the basis of Robin Cook's most startling, and important novel.

When a doctor's daughter becomes infected with E. coli, the widespread dangers of bacterial contamination are no longer a subject for debate, but a grim reality.
Paperback, 432 pages
Published February 1st 1999 by G.P. Putnam's Sons (first published January 1st 1998)
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Average rating 3.81  · 
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 ·  12,376 ratings  ·  522 reviews

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I read this book a long time ago and it was a true horror read for me. I found it had excellent writing that became so graphic for me that it was a unexpected wakeup call and after I finished reading this book and I couldn't eat red meat anymore without thinking about this story. So shortly after I stopped eating all meat and became a vegetarian which I am proud to say but it was not a planned move on my part. This book hit my psyche so hard that I had total imagery and guilt and had to find my ...more
Apr 29, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I read this book many years ago after borrowing it from my grandmother's library. It did not make me a vegetarian but it definitely has made me more conscientious about the meat I consume. To this day, I refuse to eat much hamburger or ground meat. I have officially reread it and I now have the upsetting renewal to stay away from all hamburger or ground meat. The story is harrowing as well as completely possible. Hell, it's already happened. The fear of E. coli and its effects is an ever-impendi ...more
Jun 05, 2009 rated it did not like it
I was forced to read this book for my high school English class, and I have decided I will never read anything by Robin Cook again.

The characters are unbelievable and fail to engage the reader. The storyline is typical, lacking anything that would surprise someone, even if they had the IQ of a doorknob.

I stand firm by the belief that (most) doctors should not try their hand at writing and stick to what they do best.
Jan 23, 2022 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4 Stars

Robin Cook never disappoints. I've always loved a good medical thriller and this one provided some food for thought about where we get our burgers.....
Ryan Crompton
Jan 19, 2014 rated it did not like it
This is one of the worst books I've ever read. The author gives us characters that are too dumb to exist in scenarios that go so far past implausible that one's head spins.

Our protagonist is Dr. Regis, a man with an MD that doesn't understand how commonplace e. coli is (in an effort to push the plot forward, the author has Dr. Regis find out key bits of information from a random stranger in an elevator). He gets physically violent with other physicians on several other occasions for no good reas
Aug 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This book is the reason I bought another 20 books written by Cook. Different people will get different things out of it but I know that he hooked me with it. Meat eaters beware since this book will really make you think. This book is about the perfect storm in the meat packing industry and how many broken steps along the way it takes for diseased meat to get to you with the disease still active. When I had read just a few chapters I was compelled to go on with it but that may be because of my ba ...more
Sarah (is only writing short reviews for now)
Okay, the idea that my next hamburger/spag bol/meatloaf could kill me was quite disturbing (I tried to take heart in the fact that I'm Australian and we have really high quality meat and meat producers that I feel we can trust). The main character was pretty unlikeable and not believable. I've read a couple of Cook books (pun not intended) and am well-acquainted with medical terminology thanks to training as a medical transcriptionist, so the medical techno-babble didn't phase me, but the dialog ...more
Paul Talbot
Oct 13, 2009 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 28, 2009 rated it it was ok
This would have been a lot better if it weren't for the kind of strange dialog Cook utilized in this book. The main character's anger explodes for no apparent reason on a regular basis and you have to stop and try to figure out what's going on. But alas, there is no explanation for these burst of violent dialog so credibilty sufferes. ...more
Mar 26, 2014 rated it liked it
As far as a fiction book goes, it's really not good at all. The suspense/action plot is really lame and unrealistic, not at all engaging. Characters are beyond robotic and unlikeable. BUT, I can't stop reading books by this author simply because I love anything medical. This one's about E-coli in a popular hamburger chain and beef market. Made me glad I don't eat hamburgers. ...more
Jun 29, 2009 rated it did not like it
This book was bad. So bad.
Paul Bolton
Mar 22, 2022 rated it really liked it
This is Fun with a capital 'F', serious take on the food industry - no, may make you go vegetarian - maybe, encourage you to your nearest drive through - probably not. It's stupid, brainless but what can I say: I know each and every book is produced from the same boilerplate but I love them. Good, harmless, brainless fun!!!! ...more
Jul 21, 2011 rated it did not like it
Shelves: did-not-finish
This was not a medical thriller. Instead, it was a commentary on the USDA that involved an angry, violent, out of control and unlikeable surgeon. I simply quit reading when Dr. Reggis stormed into the meat processing plant. I'm a reader who, in real life, has enough concerns about the meat industry to buy locally raised, locally butchered meat from people I know. Even with that ideological slant in Cook's direction I was not able to finish this book. Usually when I give up on a book I will skip ...more
Lynn Spence
Jun 12, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very Good Read!
Robin Cook shows us what we already know. What does and will continue to occur when the powers that be turn a blind eye to corporate America's failure to put safety and common sense above the welfare and common good of the people. On the surface it is a a story of 1 sick cow, contamination and a dying child. Digging deeper it is a story of mans blatant disregard for the most elemental laws of God and Nature. Cattle are natural born herbivores. Yet we allow the giant ranching indus
Kim Tarry
Oct 22, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2012
The subject of this book was so shocking and disgusting! I couldn't believe that things like that could really happen and it's scary to think about. There's so much going on behind closed doors that people just believe are being taken care of in the safety and health of the public but in reality none of us know that. This book definitely paints a very clear picture of the potential risks of eating meat and how easy it is to slip up and get sick from something very serious. ...more
Maria Mejia
Nov 29, 2022 rated it really liked it
Wow! This book made me incredibly sick and so heart broken! It tore out my insides and was horrifying. The description of what Becky was suffering was absolutely horrifying 😭 that heart wrenching wail that Dr. Kim let out broke my heart and had me in tears. While I personally didn't really like any of the characters, I can say that the way the story unraveled was precise and terrifying. And what was going on through out the book was sickening and I know it happens. It was my first book by this a ...more
Judy Dhuse
Dec 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
The subject matter itself was riveting and because of that I couldn't put it down. With the recent recall of romaine lettuce the subject matter is still very timely. It fell short when it came to the relationship and behavior of the parents after their daughter died. The things they said and the way they behaved made her death seem trivial to them. Seems like the characters could have been explored and developed a little further instead of just throwing them in randomly to tell a story about the ...more
Most Awesome Robin Cook read again!!!

What's not to like about Robin Cook. This read is very graphic but dead on in details. I can't say more without giving away spoilers. He is nothing if not accurate in his details. That is what his readers ask for & enjoy in his writing. Please enjoy this book in the manner it was intended.
Jim Swike
Aug 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Returned past Kindle Deadline. Was a great read. Enjoy!
ilgi (Birbilimhatunu)
Nov 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Author wants to show vulnarable reality of meat sector. Effective topic is disscuss the other side of coin. In my opinion, it is not totally fiction. I guess its partial of reality to fast food chain. we dont know is it reliable or not. It was excellently attractive topic.
May 07, 2021 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2021-books-read
I suspect this was a hard-hitting, maybe groundbreaking novel years ago. Now, it's old news and vaguely unsatisfying. There's a whole heap of loose ends, and the book itself pretty much just exists as a scaffold around the message the author wants to convey. ...more
Brenda Jones
Jan 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So Medical mystery books get me every time. A great read, started in Maine, got it from the pool house. I simple enjoy Robin Cooks ability to weave the medical mishap with reality possibilities. Totally enjoyed this.
May 28, 2017 rated it it was ok
This book reminded me that I really don't like to read Robin Cook. Sometimes the medical terminology is just way over the top for me. Sometimes the story reads like commentary instead of a novel. The subject matter in this novel is interesting...I just don't like the way it is presented.

Now, if I can just remember to not pick up another of his books and the second hand stores I shop at... :))
Mar 25, 2017 rated it it was ok
It took me ages to finish Toxin. The idea itself isn't bad at all.
First there is the meat industry who does everything to gain profit and stops at nothing so they won't get shut down. Then there are individuals only thinking about making more money and not thinking about the well-being of others. And then there are the consumers who know nothing about the meat processing and believe the biased media reports.

However the storyline was too over the top for my liking. Some actions of the characters
Jun 11, 2009 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 14, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Robin Cook presents a thriller with situations torn from the headlines. In "Toxin," food-borne illness is the medical problem exacerbated by the cozy relationship between the USDA and meat processing plants.

Dr. Kim Reggis' daughter Becky falls ill after eating an undercooked hamburger, which leads him to an undercover and illegal investigation of the meat processing plant from which the beef originated. USDA officials and cattle barons are soon gunning for him (both literally and figuratively) a
I give it only one star because it felt more like it was for information first and the story line was an after thought. It makes you look twice about burgers but I see no point in stop eating ground meat because there is so much that can kill you. If a burger will make you happy to eat you might as well eat it. I just reread the the description of the book and wonder if I read the same thing because it doesn't seem to be explaining the same book I read because makes it sound alot more exciting w ...more
Oct 04, 2011 rated it really liked it
We all know about Ecoli bacteria and how it can wreck havoc. This book is about how the beef industry in the US is so totally vulnerable to bacterial contamination due to unethical practices such as slaughter of deal cattle without DA approval and due to general unhygienic practices. a Very healthy 10 year old daughter of a cardiac surgeon gets infected and dies within a week after eating a rare cooked hamburger and the father goes about finding the source of the infection and finds more than wh ...more
Alex Weaver
May 31, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This book is an amazing read that makes the reader really think about food and about life and how precious it is. As well as how easily life can be ended by uncontrollable circumstances. The book is quite fast paced and, personally, I could not put the book down. I read this book in less than a day and this book literally made me love to read.

As a good person I suggest everyone read this amazing book! The incite and explicit detail will have any thrill-seeking soul flipping page after page to
Jul 23, 2008 rated it it was ok
So, maybe Robin Cook made it through med school, but he needs to go to writing school! While I enjoyed the concept, the writing WAS SO BAD! It is an easy read because it is so poorly written. This is one of those you could finish on a plane to and fro. Or use it for bathroom reading. Liked the concept, but the details of the story were sometimes convoluted rendering them annoying. The character development was also lackluster. Despite my venom toward Dr. Cook's writing, he ultimately does a fine ...more
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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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“grates. As he worked, he was reminded of the myth of Sisyphus and the cruel king’s terrible fate. No sooner had Kim cleared an area of its filth than it became refouled with a fresh” 0 likes
“Supply and Why We Are Increasingly at Risk
(Basic Books, 1997; Penguin, 1998).”
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