The Cell by Robin Cook (2 out of 5)
I won the new Robin Cook book on a Shelf Awareness giveaway. I hadn’t read him in a long time, and the last one I read six years ago was enough to swear him off. This book, however, sounded like quite a premise so I just had to give it a shot. Until 45 pages before the end, it was a 4 star book. The ending made it lose two stars. I won’t go more into it, because I am not a fan of spoiler alerts, but you feel like you’ve been taken on a wild hayride through Clown Canyon. Meaning- avoid if you can. Such a shame, because he had me all the way until the last 40 pages. And then, well, Bozo fought Darth Vader, SkippyJon Jones ate rancid Jiff peanut butter, and Sharika turned into a frozen banana. All hell broke loose, and there was no recovery, at least for this reader.
George Wilson is a doctor living in Los Angeles when the breakthrough the medical world has been waiting for finally happens. Smartphones are now able to not only do their regular everyday functions, as well as apps, but they’re now able to fully function as a doctor. The diagnosis, the treatment, the whole psychedelic umbrella. It’s called IDoc. (I was hoping for something more ingenious, but since Apple dominates the market and it IS a Smartphone, it can’t be called something else like Jack Quack or Med Shark. I’m normally anti I-anything, so I had to swallow that annoyance and everytime it was referred to in the story as IDoc, I let my imagination do the walking and called it something else instead. This might also help for you. George gets to know the IDoc up close and personal, when his fiancee drops dead after being part of the IDoc beta test. Patients of his kick off after having tests done in conjunction with the IDoc testing process. Is the IDoc a cover for government testing gone amok? Are hackers tapping into the system and killing innocent test subjects? What the hell is going on here? More importantly, can Dr George Wilson stop it, if he can figure out what is going down?
I’ll say this. I was pretty riveted through most of the book. Perhaps because I haven’t read any medical science thrillers in a while. Usually with me, it’s Michael Palmer. Robin Cook, however, did write the excellent COMA, so I’m not against reading a new book by him. This one had great premise, great promise, not fully developed characters, and a whole hell of a lot of lameness at the end. I hate it when authors take the easiest road imaginable, instead of finding some weird sidewalk to walk naked down (while wearing a pink tutu and nothing else). Robin Cook has written a shit ton of books, and I hope this doesn’t signal his newfound lost parade. You really wanted answers out of this book. Instead you are delivered to an ending that feels half-assed and not well delivered, in how the ending is delivered. There are a lot of medical ethical questions in here, and I am hearing from my neighbors who read Robin Cook that he tends to get on the soapbox with medical ethics in most of his books, so that got a little tiresome as the book went on. There were moments after I finished it where I thought maybe he was so busy doing the ruminating on the medical field and health care that he forgot how he was going to end the book, and thus ended it like he did. I realize that is highly unlikely and the ending, well, it’s straight up bunk. I had hoped for better.