Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A Holiday with Robin Cook's Works

I'm sure you've either heard, seen or READ works of Robin Cook. If not, well just to inform you that he's been making medical-thrillers since 1977. He is an effective suspense novelist playing with the genre of medical science. Any controversies, issues, and twisted plots move around premises of either genetics, managed care, fertilization, organ donation, medical malpractice and drug research. If being a brilliant and knowledgeable writer isn't intimidating enough, he is also a licensed doctor by profession.

There are tons of suspense books lying around and before I felt that every suspense book of an author is the same with his other works. I believe an authors' works are limited to only one formula and only the characters, settings and targets change. Plus the fact that I'm not instantly a fan of mainstream titles, I've managed to know Robin Cook's name, but always passed by his works.

I was in High School then and I was waiting for my sister's classes to end. Out of boredom and lack of reading materials, I would ask our driver to drop me at Harisson Plaza, a desperate mall near our school, to bum around. I'd usually go to National Bookstore, buy an 80 pesos book of RL STINE (or whatever my allowance would permit) and read at McDonald's till it was time to pick up my sister. Then one lucky day there were piles of books on sale. At that time I was already familiar with the author Robin Cook. I would always see his works together with the works of Dean Koontz, Stephen King or Tom Clancy. I know my book collection might be eclectic, but I wasn't really much of a fan of suspense novelists. I felt they write too many books that each novel is just a rehash of the other. That goes the same with Romance-Erotic novels. Glad to report that I proved myself wrong on two counts.

As I picked up Robin Cook's book, I noticed it didn't look really brand new at all, probably because people were always touching or contemplating about it. Since the price was slashed and the summary had more twist than usual, I bought it. I read it and I liked it. After genuinely liking the book, the twist and the whole plot, I still wasn't transformed as a die hard fan. I appreciate his books though. I might read one of his works again, but I wasn't in a frenzy. I just thought I was plain lucky. I bet all of his books are about patients undergoing specific medical conspiracy with plain medical drama on the side anyways. I was wrong. If not for anything, his books are educational as much as they are thrilling.

I later on read some of his books like Harmful Intent, Outbreak, Acceptable Risk, Vital Signs and Blindsight. Yesterday I just finished on Fatal Cure. I agree that he has a formula, but that formula is not something anyone could be tired of. Also, some people might be intimidated since it's a thriller and much more a medical one. Characters often involved are those in the medical field and we are much worried about how a normal person could relate to the conspiracies, solutions and medical issues. That's where his brilliance comes in. Robin Cook is a naturally good writer. He tells the story so fluidly and so easily that I completely forgot I almost flunked Chemistry. Every chapter or every timing results to a page turning event that I would entertain a schizo moment to either slow down and cherish or be an insomiac. He doesn't use complicated jargons and euphemisms. His books won't leave you in a pool of complexities, but it also doesn't condescend its readers. The book is intelligent as well as enjoyable.

One other pertinent thing I like about his works is that as easy and interesting they all are, the reader would really feel educated and challenged to delve more on issues concerning medicine and health. One would feel while reading the book that the author is very knowledgeable and knows what he's talking about. Health issues and being in the hospital once in a while are somethings we can all relate to. We may not know how to be a spy or to be a kickass lawyer, but we have all been patients at some point in our lives. The plots of his books would definitely open everyone's minds on how medical care, scientific procedures and hospital bureaucracy work. These things we tend to ignore because we feel we are not empowered to understand. What his works does is to expose our dowsing minds a bit and in a way tells a story on how medical issues and procedures work in a language that universal readers will appreciate.

I just finished Fatal Cure yesterday, thanks to Mitch's mom for giving me her books, it kept me from eating those few cupcakes left at the fridge and easily fought the urge to go down to fix something to eat at night. As usual, the book was entertaining as well as educational. I am now with deep sympathy on philosphical issues doctors face and how the hospital bureaucracy works. What his stories do are to encourage us to investigate and not be totally intimidated by things we don't know. One of the most important aspects of our lives, which is HEALTH is something we should all give a chance to ponder and understand, even if it's through fiction.

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