Review: Charlatans by Robin Cook

Medical mysteries are a dime a dozen these days. Great ones, however, are a different story. Robin Cook is one of the best, a master of the genre.

Boston Memorial Hospital. Noah’s finally achieved his dream of working at this state of the art medical institution. And everything is going his way. He’s busy and has almost no social life to speak of, sure. But he’s rapidly moving up the ranks and earning quite a reputation as a surgeon. And then several unexpected deaths occur. Not under his hand, but when he’s called upon to help investigate these deaths he finds himself right in the thick of it.

Enter Dr. Ava London. The highly regarded anesthesiologist is under suspicion of negligence and must prove her innocence. When Noah becomes involved with Ava, matters definitely become more complicated. As their relationship intensifies, Noah’s suspicions about Ava begin to grow. He starts to question himself. Is he just being paranoid or is she really hiding something?

This story reads like vintage Robin Cook. Medical jargon, secrets, murder, suspense…it’s all there. I did feel like the ending was rushed and left too many unanswered questions. Still, a good one!


Buy It Now: Charlatans

Review: Don’t Wake Up by Liz Lawler


I love medical mysteries.  Some of my classic favorites are from Robin Cook, the master of the genre.  So when I read the description of this new one, I just knew it was for me.

When Dr. Alex Taylor wakes up on an operating table, she’s naturally confused.  Did she suffer an accident that she can’t remember?  Nope, it’s something much more sinister.  Or at least that’s what she believes.  But her story of abduction by a madman is so absurd that nobody believes her, even though she’s a highly respected surgeon.  And then when strange things continue to happen, her credibility is further damaged.  And her sanity is called into question.  Can she get anybody to believe that her experience is somehow connected to a series of mysterious deaths?  And will it be too late to save herself?

This is a classic thriller.  It has all the elements needed for a suspenseful who-dunnit.  A great summer read!


Buy It Now:  Don’t Wake Up

Review: Girl Missing by Tess Gerritsen


Tess Gerritsen doesn’t write a bad story. From her Rizzoli & Isles series to her countless stand alones, she’s a master at her craft. This older thriller is no exception.

When bodies start showing up in Boston, it doesn’t cause too much of a ripple. Boston is a large city, after all. And some of the dead did lead questionable lifestyles. Medical examiner Kat Novak thinks there’s more to it than just random murders, however. She fears that a serial killer is at large. Convincing the higher authorities is difficult. The mayor isn’t interested in hearing her theories, especially ones that cast a bad light on the city.

While this doesn’t rank as one of her best for me, it’s nonetheless very good. The author is able to create characters who take control of the story, pulling you along with it. Her stories all fall into the “just one more chapter I can’t put it down” category, and this one is no exception.


Buy It Now:  Girl Missing

Review: Inside the O’Briens by Lisa Genova

inside-the-obriens-9781476717777_lgI’m normally not the kind of person who gets scared while reading a book. Zombies, ghosts, vampires, end of the world…bring it on. But books about something that is a very real risk are in another category. This newest story by Lisa Genova is one of those books, one that will keep you thinking long after the last page has been turned.

Joe O’Brien is a happy man. He’s a proud member of the Boston police force, and his few days off are spent with his wife Rosie and their large family. They’re a classically close Irish family, even eating Sunday dinner together every week. Things aren’t perfect, and life is hard. But Joe understands it’s the small things that matter, things like watching baseball with his sons or watching his daughter dance with the Boston ballet.

But then things start to go wrong. At first it’s hardly noticeable, a forgotten word here and there. Things gradually get worse as Joe starts to experience extreme mood swings, stumbling from time to time, forgetting things on a regular basis. When Rosie finally persuades Joe to go to the doctor, neither one of them is prepared for the diagnosis of Huntington’s disease. So begins their adjustment to living with a progressive and fatal disease.

That’s not the worst part for Joe, though. He has to live with the fact that each of his four children has a 50% chance of carrying the gene for Huntington’s and eventually developing symptoms. Not only do they all have to live with this shadow looming over them, but they also must each decide if they want to be tested, to find out if they carry the gene that will eventually cause their premature death.

Without giving away too much, I will say that I was very satisfied with how this story ended. Rather than wrapping everything up in a nice, neat package for the reader, the author leaves us wondering a bit, deciding for ourselves just how we want it to end. There’s enough of a resolution to avoid a cliffhanger without making the conclusion seemed forced.

Genova has a way of getting right to the heart of the matter, whether it’s Alzheimer’s, traumatic brain injury, or Huntington’s disease she’s writing about. As a neuroscientist she brings an air of credibility to her writing that makes the stories so much more authentic. But she also brings plausibility to her characters and makes them lovable in spite of their very real faults. I’ve read every book written by this author, and each one has been better than the last.


Buy It Now: Inside the O’Briens: A Novel